Skip to main content

Good Growing 2023

Tips for selecting and transporting holiday plants. Bright red and green poinsettia plants

Tips for selecting and transporting holiday plants

The holiday season is here, which means evergreens, poinsettias, amaryllis, and other holiday plants have arrived in stores. Plants are often at the center of our holiday decorations and traditions and are frequently given as gifts. Whether buying them as gifts or for yourself, following a few tips...
Finish this story
Gardening gratitude yellow sugar maple leaf with heart cut out in middle bare tree branches in background

Gardening Gratitude

Happy Thanksgiving During this season of appreciation, it is only right that we take time this week to share a few of our gardening-related gratitudes. Each author of Good Growing took a few minutes to contribute expressions of thanksgiving and those are found below, but first a collective...
Finish this story
Pop the cork tree view up into canopy of cork tree cork and bark has been harvested off trunk

Pop the Cork Tree

As the holiday season approaches, many of us will indulge in an alcoholic beverage or two as a part of the celebration. My preferences vary depending on the season but during the winter, I strongly favor a bottle of red wine. If you are like me and enjoy the vino, let’s explore one of the plants...
Finish this story
Sad pumpkin looking at smashed pumpkin

What can you do with pumpkins after Halloween?

On November 4 several Illinois Extension offices will be offering pumpkin smashes with local partners in communities across the state. A pumpkin smash gives a community an option to turn their spooky Jack-o’-lanterns into compost. In western Illinois, the nearest pumpkin smash will be in Macomb at...
Finish this story
A tree grows everywhere: Tree-of-heaven image of woodlands full of young trees end of summer

A tree grows everywhere: Tree-of-heaven

Two separate serendipitous events occurred recently that brought a plant back to the forefront of my attention. First, a few weeks ago a colleague asked me to confirm the species of a tree growing near a public garden. The garden was struggling to grow, and a cursory identification of the tree...
Finish this story
Magnifying lens looking at houseplants

Can houseplants improve indoor air quality?

Autumn has arrived and somehow I have more houseplants than I started with in the spring. As temperatures fall, I find myself hunting around my home for bright windows and saucers to go under the pots. With a home full of plants, you may think this must be good for our air quality especially when...
Finish this story
Tips for keeping pests out of your home. A group of multicolored Asian lady beetles

Tips for keeping pests out of your home

With the arrival of fall, many of us will be heading outdoors for various activities, from visiting the local pumpkin patch or apple orchard, attending football games, or enjoying fall colors. People aren’t the only thing on the move, though. As the weather gets colder and the days get shorter,...
Finish this story
rust fungal spores under a dissecting microscope

Lawn rust: Why are your shoes turning orange?

An orange lawn? You’re walking through your lawn. You notice some discoloration in patches, but it doesn’t seem too alarming. After walking in your front door you begin to slip off your shoes and notice they’ve been turned an orange-red color. You’d swear it looked like your shoes were rusted-over...
Finish this story
Bison and America's prairie ecosystem photo of bison eating on shortgrass prairie blue sky in above horizon

Bison and America's prairie ecosystem

This week marks the official beginning of autumn as far as our calendar is concerned but the natural world began the transition toward fall weeks ago. I recently had the pleasure of sharing a part of this transition with my son when I was able to join him on a prairie seed collection activity with...
Finish this story
a sweetgum tree beginning to change to a red fall color

Early fall color could be a sign of tree stress

As summer transitions to fall, many Illinoisians are looking forward to everything pumpkin-spiced, hoodie weather, and the fall color of our trees. However, even at the tail end of summer heat, there are trees already rewarding us with some fall color. But is it a reward or a call for help? Some...
Finish this story
Brighten up your fall landscape with Tithonia. Tithonia plants blooming next to a house.

Brighten up your fall landscape with Tithonia

As summer transitions to fall, our landscapes also transition. The bright-colored flowers of summer begin to fade, and many plants begin to look ragged. Goldenrod and asters often provide much-needed color to the landscape. Another plant that can add color to our landscapes is Tithonia, also known...
Finish this story
Living on the edge: White-line Sphinx Moth, moth feeding from purple tubular flowers

Living on the edge: White-lined sphinx moth

As the day lengths shorten, our family has been spending the last fading moments of sunlight on our patio, trying desperately to hang on to summer amid the start of the school year.  During these last moments of daylight, I am reminded of the beauty found at the edges of our landscape. As a...
Finish this story
Tulips in the treetops: Liriodendron tulipifera text background image of tuliptree blossoms upright on tree branches with leaves

Tulips in the treetops: Liriodendron tulipifera

On a recent family vacation, I was able to revisit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. As I return to places I was privileged to visit as a child, I prepare for the trip, in part, by trying to dig deep into my memory bank and recall as much as I can about the place so I can compare. I am...
Finish this story