Garden "thug" (aggressive spreaders) control has been a big spring focus in the Jungle—meaning I have been spending a lot of time ripping out extra plants. Once you get a thug, you never want another one. From experience, it is important to follow a few steps to avoid thugism in your garden. Remember to thoroughly inspect potted plants before transplanting; they may be harboring a thug plant! These can be weeds or ornamental escapes like winter creeper (Euonymus fortune), periwinkle (Vinca minor) or goldenrods (Solidago spp.).

If you are at all like me, order your fall-planted bulbs now before you get too worn out. I curse myself every fall for taking my own advice after a zillion bulbs start showing up (not really, but it always seems like it). And as we all know, no matter how "done with" planting you may be, you will have no choice but to plant them. Then the following spring when the results of your grudging labor burst forth, you'll feel rather proud of yourself for falling for such trickery.

I'm wondering if there has ever been a study on the impact gardens like the Missouri Botanical Garden (MOBOT) have on plant sales? This thought recently occurred following UPS delivering my 'Spotty Dotty' mayapple from Forestfarm at Pacifica (http://www.forestfarm.com/). I have been admiring this beauty for a number of years from visits to MOBOT where it is planted throughout the English Woodland Garden.

I've been on a sustainable gardening bent recently, so I thought I would share some of my resources related to the topic collected over the years. And like any list, this is only to whet your appetite; neither inclusive nor exclusive.

Growing giant vegetables usually takes some extra effort, but sometimes Mother Nature provides just the right conditions for some crops to exceed normal growth expectations. Take turnips for example. Normally, turnip are harvested as they reach the size of a tennis ball or slightly larger up until soil freezing. This ensures reaching peak flavor and maintaining a smooth internal texture. Like many root crops, turnips can get woody as they age—usually due to environmental factors such as uneven soil moisture and higher than optimal temperatures.

There may be a few holdouts, but for the most part the bearded iris season is over. But don't' get in too much of a hurry to dig and divide just yet. Iris needs four to six weeks following flowering for new rhizomes to fully develop before digging and dividing. In the event you are looking to buy iris for your garden, the Southern Illinois Iris Society, the oldest iris society in Illinois, will have its rhizome sale on July 25th from 8am-12pm at the Marion County Extension Office in Salem.