1. Published

    Fall foliage colors have not been exactly what we have grown to enjoy in previous years. The drought has played a big part in those missing colors.

  2. Published

    In 2021, both the consumer and retail sides of gardening have seen unique challenges due to the pandemic.  Since spring 2020, garden centers saw a huge and unexpected increase in demand for seeds, plants of all kinds, and all the associated supplies used in home landscape.

  3. Published

    Are we still in droughty conditions here in northern Illinois? As of October 5 – the day before we started to get all the rain – we sure were. Are we good now? We are better off, but not “out of the woods.”

  4. Published

    Watch the short video series on this topic

    When it comes to bulbs, it can seem confusing when to do what in which season. In general, you plant spring-flowering bulbs in the fall, and plant summer-flowering bulbs in the spring. You divide spring bulbs in late summer, and you dig up summer bulbs in the fall. Now that fall is here, let’s look at this a little closer.

  5. Published

    As autumn progresses, gardeners begin wondering what to do with all the plant parts that need to be pruned off, and later, all the leaves that will fall. A great alternative to those landscape waste bags is to recycle right in your own yard and benefit from all that free organic matter.

  6. Published

    Imagine a podium or soapbox and me standing in a town square. Got that image?

    Ok, here goes my “sermon.”

    As of Sept. 16, the U.S. Drought Monitor reports our area as “abnormally dry.” Have you been watering your trees, shrubs, and plants in the yard?  We have had such dry weather that there are not just a few plants that need to be watered, but a whole lot.

  7. Published

    One activity that seems to get “put off” until the last minute is bringing in the houseplants that have vacationed outside for the summer. It is not uncommon to find ourselves out there with a chance of frost and flashlight in hand covering up the houseplants or rushing them inside the garage for the night. 

  8. Published

    Some of our late summer and early fall garden tasks can take more time than others. Making a “to do” list can help us get them done in a timely manner and not forget anything. (For example, hurrying to get the houseplants in just after dark and before that predicted frost is never fun.)

    Here’s a short list to get you started, including tasks when it’s too wet or hot out. However, every yard is different, so be sure to add your own tasks and prioritize for what works best for you.

  9. Published

    Our Master Gardener Help Desks routinely get calls or emails about bees, wasps, hornets, and other striped or stinging things.

  10. Published

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  11. Published

    Many families tend to “give up” the vegetable garden once school starts, yet you do not have to. Vegetables can still be productive for a couple more months, depending on what you have been growing.

  12. Published

    Given that it is summer, it is not hard to believe we need to be out in the yard watering. August is usually a dry month and that sure seems to be how it started for us. As of Aug. 5, the U.S. Drought Monitor website shows the more northern counties along the Wisconsin Stateline are anywhere from “abnormally dry” to “severe drought” levels.

  13. Published

    Vegetable gardens are really beginning to produce our favorite fruits and vegetables. Earlier, cool weather promoted lots of foliage on our leafy greens and that gave us lots to harvest, eat, and share. Snap beans have been pretty good too. Now other crops producing fruits like tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and okra are coming along. Vine crops also are really taking off, most likely finding their way well outside the boundaries of the official garden.

  14. Published

    So many good things have happened in the home landscape this year so far. The earlier cool and drier weather let our perennials and shrubs put on the growth that has not happened in our hot dry springs. Along with that has been the way better than average bloom show. There has been a lot to enjoy when out on the patio or deck and even when working the beds, getting to see the detail of fresh foliage, flower buds and bloom

  15. Published

    Experienced gardeners know where poison ivy is likely to be found in the home landscape, and what it looks like in its various forms and stages of growth. That may not be the case for newer gardeners or those having moved from an area relatively free from poison ivy to a wooded area or neighborhood. Without knowing it is in the yard, it is all too easy to get the oils on your hands and clothing while clearing beds of otherwise harmless weeds.

  16. Published

    This time of year, garden insects are often a topic of questions or discussion. Plants and pests have grown up alongside each other, and now there may be a little too much feeding going on for your liking. It is also about now that the natural insect predators show up to take care of the damaging insects for you.

  17. Published

    Regular rains (or watering) is almost always a good thing for our landscape and gardens. However, every time it rains (or we water) we can get weeds. If you ignore those weeds, let them flower and set seed, the landscape can begin to look like a jungle. For every square foot of soil there are many thousands of weed seeds in the top inch, and they are just waiting to germinate with sunshine and water.

  18. Published

    Any homeowner who has suffered from flood waters in the yard will find getting the lawn back can take some time. Several factors impact the amount of damage and the recovery, including what kind of grass, what season, and how long the area stayed flooded.

  19. Published

    Every summer, neighbors can be found discussing which is better, watering the lawn all summer or letting mother nature take over. You can find pros and cons on both sides of the fence.

  20. Published

    It is that time of year for plant galls (or things that look kind of like a gall anyway) to be more obvious in the home landscape. They got a start long ago when bud swell was going on earlier this spring, but they are more noticeable now.