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Hort in the Home Landscape 2015

Propagating Succulents and Cacti

Cacti and Succulents are by far my favorite group of plants. The colors, flowers, and interesting growth habits are like nothing else in my opinion. But one of my favorite things about this group of plants is the ease in which you can make more plants. Through the use of cuttings or division, you...
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Fall Nuisance Insects

Now is the time of year we start to notice various insect critters trying to find shelter inside our homes. The good news is that most of these insects are perfectly harmless and are simply a nuisance. In fact, many of these insects are actually quite beneficial because they eat other soft bodied...
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Think Green Plants This Valentine's Day

Earlier this week I discussed the amazing mood improving effects of flowers, but are you thinking of giving a gift that lasts a bit longer? Blooming plants are a great option then! Here are a few blooming plants that can help bring anyone out of the winter blues: 1. ...
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Self Watering Containers

Self watering containers are a great solution for us gardeners who don't like to water our containers very often. There are a multitude of these types of containers available on the market, but unfortunately some can come at a steep price. I have some self watering containers as window boxes which...
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Get Ready for the Season of Education!

Now is the time of year when you're probably getting pretty stir crazy stuck inside because of the snow and cold weather. If you're like me, you're dreaming of being out in your garden working away. That time will come soon, but now is the time to starting planning for next year's garden by gaining...
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Plant of the Week: European Cranberrybush Viburnum

Last week I noticed some striking white flowered shrubs while walking the Highland Community College campus. Upon closer look, I realized the shrubs were European Cranberrybush Viburnums (Viburnum opulus). I'm a big fan of Viburnums and this one is especially nice! European Cranberrybush...
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Poinsettias: The Quintessential Festive Houseplant

Poinsettias are the quintessential festive houseplant! And with Christmas now just 10 days away, this is December's Houseplant of the Month. Grab a poinsettia from your favorite garden center and enjoy! The traditional scarlet red variety may be the first to come to mind, but did you know that they...
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Brighten Someone’s Mood With Flowers This Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day may just well be one of my favorite times of year. Probably because I'm a floral designer and horticulturist and anytime flowers or plants are the focus of a holiday, I'm ecstatic! It's the busiest time of year for florists across the country. They are busy designing thousands and...
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Plant of the Week: Catalpa

While on a walk around my neighborhood this past week, I noticed some lovely large Catalpa trees in bloom. Likely the trees growing in my neighborhood were the Northern Catalpa (Catalpa speciosa), but the other Catalpa species in Illinois is the Southern...
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Winter Snow and Ice Damage to Trees

Here in the northwestern corner of Illinois, we got about 15 inches of snow this past weekend. This amount of snow definitely causes some road and travel problems, but what does that much snow mean for trees and shrubs? It means there is a lot of weight on the branches! Especially this particular...
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Plant of the Week: Purple-Leaf Sand Cherry

This week's plant is the Purple-leaf Sand Cherry (Prunus x cistena). This lovely shrub is blooming now in my front yard. This upright deciduous shrub typically grows 6-10’ tall and 5-8’ wide, but can also be trained as a small tree. Its most noted feature is the reddish...
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Maple Tree Seedlings Everywhere

If you are lucky enough to have a neighbor with a large maple tree, you are probably in the same boat as myself right now. Maple seeds that are germinating everywhere!  My particular neighbor has a large silver maple tree that rains helicopters (samaras) all over my yard. Don't worry, I pay him...
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Plant of the Week: Cherry Trees

Last weekend I had the privelege of visiting a friend in Washington D.C and it just so happens to have been the same time that the cherry trees were blooming! It was a beautiful site. This week's plant of the week has to be Cherry Trees (Prunus sp.) of course then!...
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Odd Oak Galls

It seems to be the season for odd oak galls. I've had several questions come into the office and while prepping for a fall tree walk this past week, I discovered many oak galls. Galls can be defined as irregular plant growths which are stimulated by the reaction between plant hormones and powerful...
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Plant of the Week: Love in a Mist

This week's Plant of the Week is Love in a Mist (Nigella damascena), a great blue flowered addition to the landscape. As gardeners know, blue is not a common color in flowers, so this flowering annual is a great choice. Love in a mist can be easily grown in...
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Plant of the Week: Dahlias

This summer I devoted an entire raised bed to growing dahlias and it's been lovely! Dahlias (Dahlia sp.) are an excellent cut flower which is why I love to grow them. Flower colors are various and foliage colors can be shades of green, but some varieties have darker foliages which provide...
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Plant of the Week: Strawflower

This week's plant of the week is one of my favorite flowers, the Strawflower (Xerochrysum bracteata). As a florist, I've come to appreciate flowers that hold up really well as a cut flower, as well as a dried flower, and strawflower is great in both categories. It...
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Time to Bring Plants in for Winter, Minus the Insects

It looks like we'll be getting a frost here in Northern Illinois on Friday, so it's time that those last houseplants make their way indoors. But this question comes up every fall: How can I bring my houseplants in from outside without bringing in spiders or other insects with it?   Well, there...
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