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Good Growing 2017

Favorite Illinois Natives

I was super excited the other day when I looked over while sitting on my back porch and noticed that my Cup Plant (Silphium perfoliatum) was in bloom. The common name comes from how the leaves are attached to the square stem in such a fashion that they form a "cup". It's a native plant to...
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Are Native Plants Better Than Non-native Plants?

A question often asked when giving presentations on landscaping and sustainability "Are native plants better than non-natives?" In my garden, I avoid holding myself to an exclusive natives-only approach, and other gardeners do not have to either. My process for choosing plant material and ruling...
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Grow Herbs and Lettuce Indoors this Winter

Just because days are shorter and colder and the outdoor gardening days are over, doesn't mean that it all must come to an end. Indoors we can have our green houseplants, but what if I told you – you can have herbs and lettuce and eat them too! You can grow a number of herbs and lettuce indoors...
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What to do When Trees are Damaged in a Wind Storm

Following a series of windy days and storms with high winds in Central Illinois, we have received reports on large sections of trees lost, gashes left in the trunks of trees, and large splits in tree trunks. What do you do when a severe windstorm damages your landscape trees? Obviously, during an...
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Trees Do More Then Just Look Good

Next Friday, April 28th is Arbor Day. The day to celebrate trees and to plant trees. Of course in my mind I don't need a specific day to plant trees, but Arbor Day is a great way to bring awareness to the importance of trees in the environment and communities. In past articles, I've written about...
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Japanese Beetles....Again

UPDATE June 25, 2018 - New Imdacloprid labels indicate that this product can not be used on Linden or any Tilia species due to toxicity to pollinators. I think this week I have talked more about Japanese Beetles either on the phone, email, social media, or in person than anything...
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A look at some Illinois native trees

The other day I was teaching a group about native Illinois trees and of course I was all excited because I was teaching about trees which is my number one passion. I know in the past I've talked about native plants and have of course mentioned my number one favorite tree that just happens to be an...
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Why Do We Grow Garden Tomatoes?

The tomato. A native to Central America and bred over centuries to become a staple summer crop. Gardener's across the United States compete openly and sometimes covertly to be the first with ripe tomatoes. Ribbons and trophies are handed out in nearly every community for the best-tasting tomato....
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Upcoming Garden Events

It's hard to believe that the first month of 2017 is nearly over. It means that the days are getting longer and that before we know it the 2017 gardening season will be here. Last time I wrote about gardening being fluid and always changing. Part of being able to adjust to the changing garden, to...
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How Should I Water My Plants?

Two weeks ago, my topic for this column was that we need to be watering our plants due to the dry fall weather. Two things have happened since that article. First – It rained. We finally received a nice steady fall rain event. However, the precipitation totals varied throughout West-Central...
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Be a Plant Detective

During the gardening season I always get calls or emails asking what's wrong with a plant and what can be sprayed to help make it better. If you're like me, we love our plants and we want to make sure that they continue to grow healthy and happy in our landscape. It's always sad seeing a plant that...
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Butterfly Weed - Perennial Plant of the Year

The other day I was teaching about Ornamental Grasses to a new group of Master Gardener's and some of the grasses I spoke about had been previously selected as the Perennial Plant of the Year. This of course got me to thinking that somehow I had failed to look into the 2017 Perennial Plant of the...
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Sometimes We Need to Say Good Bye to a Tree

Last year my next door neighbors approached me about the pear tree that was located in my yard but overhung into their yard. Now this was not an ornamental pear tree, but a fruiting pear tree, one that would shed partially ripened pears in droves and trying to keep up with them was nearly...
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Plants and Pets

I was working on a PowerPoint the other day for an upcoming program on houseplants. As I sat there thinking about what information I wanted to include and being a dog person (I have an English Bulldog who thankfully leaves my plants alone) got me to thinking about plant toxicity and animals. I have...
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Busting More Garden Myths

Back in 2015 I put together a program called Busting Garden Myths as part of the statewide Four Seasons Gardening webinar series. I really enjoyed filtering through all the interesting garden myths that were out there and it still intrigues me and I still continue to do so. There are a lot of them...
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What if Winter Never Arrives in the Midwest?

I've heard it on the news, in conversation, and social media, "This warm late fall weather sure is great! I hope the entire winter is like this!" Is this weather great? Of course! Last weekend I took my kids out to Dickens on the Square, a pleasant downtown event in Macomb. In years past, we are...
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Soils Tests, Site Considerations, and Changing Gardens

One of the suggestions we usually tell gardeners is to have a soil test done especially on new garden sites. It's better to see where your pH and soil fertility levels stand prior to applying anything and leads to determining better soil management practices. Before applying fertilizers what are...
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Nuisance Invaders on the Move

Last week my boyfriend and I were outside repainting the porch on the south side of my house. I was looking at the pillars and saw a number of Asian Multicolored Lady Beetles gathering towards the top. Look a little bit further down and I see a Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) on the same pillar....
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June and July Gardening To-Do's

We are already through the half-way mark of June and July is right around the corner, granted the temperatures we are currently experiencing is more reminiscent of July then June. I was trying to figure out what to write on this week, so on my drive back from a program, I figured what better time...
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Stepping into the world of Succulents

So recently I've become a bit re-obsessed with succulents, especially soft succulents you can grow indoors. It started back when I did a presentation on Hardcore Houseplants and came across a kalanchoe called Panda Plant in my research. Then I was up visiting my mom for Thanksgiving and she has a...
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