I've been waiting anxiously for my hellebores to start blooming and it finally happened last week! The Lenten Rose or Hellebore, Helleborus orientalis, is one of my absolute favorite cut flowers. The muted colors are just absolutely gorgeous! I dream of spring when this flower is in season and I'm so glad I finally got some planted in my garden last spring.

This week's Plant of the Week is Basket of Gold (Aurinia saxitilis). While on a staff meeting trip to Galena this past week, the Basket of Gold was blooming beautifully!

I love Basket of Gold because of it's vibrant yellow flowers! It's one of those true signs that spring is officially here and summer is upon us.

This week the Ligularia is blooming beautifully in my garden! Rocket Ligularia (Ligularia stenocephala),also known as leopard plant, can be grown for its nice foliage, as well as beautiful yellow flowers which just started blooming. The particular cultivar that I grow is 'The Rocket' but several are available on the market.

You've cut those evergreens to decorate your home with, but how do you get them to last? 

Storage Prior to Use

How is it the end of June already! This month has been so busy I haven't had much time to get out in the garden. The weeds are sure loving the opportunity to thrive though in my absence!

This week's Plant of the Week is Borage (Borago officinalis).I planted Borage in one of my container gardens this year at the office for an upcoming edible flower program and I'm loving it!

Visiting a botanic garden last week, I was reminded of the beauty of the Pineapple Lily(Eucomiscomosa)! I meant to get some planted in my garden this spring and completely forgot. Next year!

The pineapple lily is a bulb native to South Africa that is hardy to zone 7. Meaning for us northerners, that we need to dig the bulbs at the end of the season.

This week's Plant of the Week has been blooming beautifully in my garden for a few weeks now. The Woodland Phlox (Phlox divaricata) is a spreading, native wildflower with lovely lilac-blue flowers with 5 petals.

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If you're like me, it's a struggle to remember exactly what species or cultivars you planted in the garden. Especially by the time you have hundreds of plants in! There are some plant names I'll just never forget for some reason (hello, Solenostemon scutellarioides), but there are others that escape me right away.

I walked out to my garden this week to find that the lovely 6 week period where Japanese beetles are present had arrived. Oh joy! My pussy willow in particular, is just glowing with skeltonized brown leaves covering the top 1/3 of the plant.

 

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Flowering bulbs of all kinds can be forced indoors to create a beautiful and long lasting flower display for your home and it's something I love to do every year for the holidays!   The term forcing refers to a technique that imitates the environmental conditions that bulbs encounter outdoors, thereby tricking them into flowering earlier. Essentially, it allows you to bring the outdoor beauty of bulbs indoors!

Happy New Year! Did you know that each year the Garden Media Group compiles a list of the Garden Trends for the upcoming year? I look at the trends every year to get inspiration for programming and blog posts. It's really interesting to see what they think will be big in the garden world for the year!

In my opinion, nothing screams the holidays more than the fragrance of fresh cut evergreen and for many of us, we're lucky enough to have evergreens in our own yards to harvest from. Check out a few tips below for success when harvesting your evergreens:

 

Which type of evergreen should I harvest?

Of the many great evergreen species we grow in Illinois, these are a few of my favorites that are long lasting as a cut evergreen:

Narrowleaf Evergreens

Spring is upon us, so it's time to get started with some plants of the week again! This morning I looked out my kitchen window to see that the buds on my pussy willow had started to break! Upon closer inspection, they looked even more beautiful with the morning rain drops gathering on them.

Do you know what today is? National Poinsettia Day!

By an Act of Congress, December 12 is set aside as National Poinsettia Day. The date marks the death of Joel Roberts Poinsett, who is credited with introducing the native Mexican plant to the United States. Poinsett was an American botanist, physician and Minister to Mexico who in 1828 sent cuttings of the plant he'd discovered in Southern Mexico to his home in Charleston, South Carolina.

It's finally that time of year! The time to start getting seeds started indoors for transplanting into the garden this spring! I relish the anticipation of waiting for those precious seeds to germinate and the excitement when I'm finally able to plant those transplants outdoors. I'm planning to go through my seeds this weekend and make my schedule for seeding.

I've come up with a few care guidelines below that can help you be successful in your seed starting this year:

Watering