Gardeners Corner

Get timely tips from Extension horticulture experts to keep your garden happy.

Gardeners Corner is a quarterly newsletter from the Illinois Extension team of horticulture experts. Each issue highlights seasonal recommendations and how-tos that will make your houseplants, landscape, or garden shine in any season.

Summer 2024

  • Gardening for a hummingbird's travels
  • Provide resources to pollinators in any space with container gardens
  • To survive the summer heat, choose plants built for the sizzle
  • Tips for getting landscape plants through summer
  • Bring birds close to home by gardening for feathered friends
  • Protect trees and their roots during construction projects
  • Consider adding periodical cicadas to summer list of favorite ice cream toppings

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Explore past Gardeners Corner issues

Spring 2024

  • The cicadas are coming! Periodical cicadas in Illinois in 2024
  • Explore the 2024 All-America Selection flower and vegetable variety winners
  • Spring into composting by reviving a compost pile after winter
  • Discover added benefits to planting windbreaks
  • Six replacement trees for invasive Callery pear
  • Add a dash of herbs to spice up floral bouquets
  • Recognizing heat-related warning signs for gardeners and landscapers

Winter 2023-24

  • Bloom in the winter with the gift of an amaryllis bulb kit
  • Protect your pets, keep paws off overwintering indoor house plants
  • Cutting back branches leaves trees with healthier outlook
  • Did you forget to water your plants? Try low-maintenance succulents
  • Use weed clues to dig up environmental issues like fertility, soil compaction, and moisture issues

Fall 2023

  • Build drought-tolerant gardens this fall for next summer's blooms
  • Butterflies can eat to live, live to eat in a balanced garden
  • Tips for extending the garden's growing season
  • Consider pollinators during fall garden cleanup
  • Keep growing with herbs indoors this fall, winter

Summer 2023

  • Go Green with eco-friendly lawn care
  • Reduce storm damage by looking for tree defects before bad weather strikes
  • Care for perennial gardens with 3 proven pruning methods
  • Elevate your expectations with raised-bed gardening
  • Want more from your garden? Plant a fall crop of cucumbers
  • How to grow tropical ginger for at home-spice
  • Make flowers and memories last forever with drying for design
  • Build privacy with plants for secret gardens 

Spring 2023

  • Grow the best new flower and vegetable varieties with 2023 All-America Selection Winners
  • Make the most of mulch by choosing from living, synthetic, inorganic, or organic
  • Grow confidence when choosing seed packets for your garden
  • Sustainable community gardens benefit local growers, ecosystems, and communities
  • Plant trees for every season
  • Plant top annuals of 2023 to create craveable container gardens
  • Bugged by houseplant pests? Give carnivorous plants a try
  • What’s in a name? The roots of fruit and vegetable names are long and intertwined
  • Identify, avoid, and manage troublesome wild parsnip

Winter 2022-23

  • Protect trees from winter’s wrath with a few preventive steps
  • Indoor gardening can brighten winter doldrums
  • Burning local firewood this winter can save forests
  • Give someone a green holiday season with the gift of plants
  • Planning a new perennial garden? Plant for the whole garden ecosystem
  • Fruit trees need an annual trim to bear best fruit
  • Flowers are a forgotten love language
  • Tree bark adds visual bite to winter landscapes
  • Sow seeds of change, learn how to save garden seeds

Fall 2022 

  • Grassy weeds becoming more common in lawns
  • Keep plants hydrated going into fall
  • Extend the season with fall flowers
  • Plant fall salad greens
  • Prepare trees for severe weather
  • Store summer-blooming bulbs overwinter
  • Try growing a loofah sponge
  • Create a sensory garden

Summer 2022 

  • Microclovers making a comeback as lawns grow in biodiversity
  • To outsmart weeds in the garden, take multiple approaches
  • Support pollinators with cheerful viola flowers
  • Feed your community by safely donating homegrown fruits, vegetables
  • Tips for harvesting garden vegetables
  • Create backyard paradise with tropical plant garden
  • Overwhelmed by garden produce? Pickle it!, 
  • Leaves of three? Keep poison ivy out of the home landscape
  • Taking time to select plants for difficult growing conditions helps long-term success
  • Native prairie grasses create distinct, breezy aesthetic in home landscape. 

Spring 2022 

  • Plant with confidence with 2022 All-America Selection Winners
  • What is pelleted seed
  • Start an indoor kitchen garden
  • Flavor your meals with low-maintenance homegrown herbs
  • Scale up your garden’s health with fish emulsion fertilizer
  • Early blooming spring ephemerals flowers welcome warmer weather
  • Give caterpillars a chance with soft landings under trees
  • Grow curly willows
  • Magnolia blooms
  • Beetles are nature’s spring flower odd couple
  • Prevent floods with rain friendly landscaping

Winter 2021 

  • Keep worms warm for winter vermicomposting
  • Watering trees, shrubs in the fall and winter is a balancing act
  • DIY bottle terrariums make great holiday gift
  • Low-maintenance, winter blooming holiday cacti are gift that keep on giving
  • Poinsettias add a rainbow of color options to holiday décor
  • Give Christmas trees a second life after the holidays
  • Use DIY kokedama moss balls to grow houseplants
  • Plant cover crops at home for healthier soils
  • Garden catalog season gives gardeners chance to explore, shop for next year's seeds
  • Trim trees, shrubs in the dormant season for stronger, healthier plants

Fall 2021 

  • Plant asters for unique display of fall color
  • Small bees attracted to small flowers
  • Tips for planting balled-burlapped trees for long-term health, success
  • Some trees weather wet soils, floods better than others
  • Fall is for feathered friends, fireplaces
  • Healthy gardens start with sensible soil testing
  • Proper maintenance extends lifespan, save money on garden tools
  • Don't rake fall leaves, recycle them

Summer 2021 

  • School gardens
  • Watering summer lawns
  • Plant a salsa garden
  • Large yard not required to support pollinators
  • Prevent tomato blossom end rot
  • Get to know Illinois milkweed
  • Irrigate gardens to beat summer heat
  • Our love-hate relationship with dandelions
  • Hire tree care professional with confidence
  • Create a bird-friendly yard

Spring 2021 

  • Make way for 2021 award-winning All-America Selections plants
  • Gardening benefits body, mind, wallet
  • Tips for starting your spring garden off strong
  • The time is right to plant cool season vegetables
  • Callery pear have no home in landscape designs
  • Refresh your raised bed soil
  • Heirloom flowers provide fragrance, beauty, pollinator support
  • Small-space containers big with new gardeners
  • Small-batch culinary herbs add flavor to the gardening menu
  • Planning and designing a native garden
  • Create a moonlight garden

Winter 2020 

  • How to care for a living Christmas tree
  • Grow a living Christmas tree with Norfolk Island Pine
  • Picking the perfect Christmas tree starts at home
  • Perennial plant of the year Calamint, a perfect pick for pollinators
  • Blooming plant ideas for Valentine’s Day
  • How to create a fruit garden
  • Preventing fruit tree diseases starts in the dormant season
  • Winter pruning boosts blackberry and raspberry harvests
  • Small but mighty microgreens are easy to grow indoors
  • Keep houseplants happy with simple solutions
  • Keep poinsettias plentiful long after the holidays

Fall 2020 

  • Prolong the shelf life of garden-fresh produce with good harvest habits
  • Benefit your health and environment by growing your own vegetables
  • Harvest abundant squash for food, decoration
  • Hold on to summer with home hydroponics
  • Harvest milkweed pods; plant Monarch butterfly garden
  • Bring houseplants indoors before the first frost
  • Select and plant spring-flowering bulbs now
  • Plant native perennials in the fall for healthy spring growth
  • Planting trees boosts curb appeal and benefits the urban environment
  • Fall flowering witch hazel charms home gardens
  • Exfoliating bark trees add great appeal
  • Fall is a great time for planting trees
  • Select the right tree for fall planting in Illinois
  • Put fall leaves to work as compost
  • Fall garden cleanup lays groundwork for a successful spring
  • How to pick the perfect pumpkin

Summer 2020 

  • Growing a rainbow vegetable garden
  • 5 ideas to add shade to your backyard
  • ‘Annabelle’ hydrangea: A showy shrub with historic roots in Illinois
  • Drought tolerant plants for the landscape
  • Growing irises: How to plant, grow and care for iris
  • When to prune hydrangeas

Spring 2020 

  • Perennial Favorite Named Plant of the Year
  • Why You Should Think About Sequence of Bloom
  • Designing a Sensory Garden
  • Wildlife-Friendly Gardens
  • Soil Temperatures for Spring Planting
  • Protecting Tender Plants from Spring Frost

Winter 2019 

  • Growing Ferns Indoors
  • Ice Storms and Tree Damage
  • Pantry Pests, Maintaining Garden Tools
  • Make a Statement with Succulent Cacti
  • How to Manage Winter Houseplant Insects

Fall 2019

  • Summer Bulbs: Care and Overwintering Tips
  • Crop Rotation in Home Vegetable Gardens
  • Establishing Perennials in the Early Fall
  • Chrysanthemums Add Fall Color to the Garden
  • What Can a No-Till Garden Do for You?
  • Signs of a Dead or Dying Tree

Summer 2019

  • Fruit Tree Planting
  • Install a Rain Barrel This Summer
  • Garden Design with Native Plants in Mind
  • Beauty For a Day
  • Living with Japanese Beetles
  • The Versatile Elderberry

Spring 2019

  • Spring Tree Planting
  • Tips for Growing Ginger
  • Add Beauty to the Garden with Cool Season Annuals
  • Spring Lawn Care
  • Annual Flowering Vines
  • 2019 Perennial Plant of the Year

Winter 2019

  • Try Worm Composting This Winter
  • Caring for Amaryllis
  • Norfolk Island Pine
  • Winter Watering of Trees and Shrubs
  • Who is Spending Winter in Your Garden
  • Houseplant Expectations During Winter

Fall 2018

  • Fall Seeding of Lawns
  • Ornamental Kale At-Home Tissue Culture
  • Top Perennials for a Fall Cutting Garden
  • Five Valuable Tips for Fall Lawn Care
  • Overwintering Tender Plants Indoors
  • Fall Browning of Evergreen Foliage

Summer 2018

  • Taking Care of Spring-Planted Trees, Shrubs, and Evergreens
  • Pineberries: Pineapple-flavored Strawberries
  • The Basics of Straw Bale Gardening
  • Be on the Lookout for Ticks
  • Conserve Water this Summer
  • Gardening with Reptiles

Spring 2018

  • The Sweet Story of Strawberry Success
  • Growing Vegetables in Raised Beds
  • Organic-Based Soil Fertility: A Primer, Kitchen-Scrap Gardening
  • ‘Millenium’ Allium—2018 Perennial Plant of the Year
  • The Super-Cool Leaves of Vegetable Greens

Winter 2018

  • Choosing and Caring for Your Christmas Tree
  • Please Help with BMSB Identification in Illinois
  • Keep Gardening All Winter Long
  • Understanding Photoperiodism
  • One Key to Plant Flowering Propagating Houseplants to Expand Your Collection
  • Caring for Your Houseplants in Winter
  • Meet Me Under the Mistletoe

Fall 2017

  • Keeping Your Vegetable Garden in Shape in the Offseason
  • Making Your Own Tissue Culture Medium
  • Soil Testing: A Key to Good Gardening
  • Garden Preparations for Winter
  • Tulips: Worth More than Gold!
  • Consider Edibles for Fall Container Gardens

Summer 2017

  • What’s the Buzz About Illinois Bees?
  • Identifying and Managing Your Garden Weeds
  • Beware of Dangerous Carrots!
  • Butterfly Weed: Perennial of the Year
  • School Gardens: Cultivating Produce and Passions
  • Spice Up Your Landscape with Ornamental Peppers
  • Tree Foliage Diseases May Look Bad, But They’re Rarely Fatal

Spring 2017

  • Top Five Cool-Season Annuals for Containers
  • Fire Blight of Apples and Pears
  • How Can I Support Pollinators?
  • Accessible Edible Gardens
  • Moss Gardening
  • Corriandrum: 2017 Herb of the Year

Winter 2017

  • Don’t Toss that Poinsettia: Try a Little After-Holiday Care
  • Grow Tillandsias for the Holiday Season
  • Choosing Plants with Winter Interest
  • Living with Your Houseplants and Their Insect Relatives
  • Orchids Are Elegant Houseplants
  • Grow Your Own Birdseed

Fall 2016

  • Key Garden Tasks for Fall
  • Fantastic, Funky Spring-Blooming Bulbs
  • Daffodils, Narcissus, or Jonquil?
  • Ready Garden Tools and Equipment for Winter
  • Why Not to Cut Your Perennials This Fall
  • Handling Your Fresh-Picked Produce
  • Fall Preparation for Vegetable Gardens