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recycled jugs and plastic bottles filled with soil and covered in snow

How to try winter sowing

Winter is a time to stow away your gardening tools, put your gardens to bed, pack away your gloves and dream of warmer weather, counting down the days until you can start planting again…or is it?  What if I told you that now is the perfect time to not just plan your gardens (especially if you’re...
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watering can sprinkling water on red flowers

Summer garden tips for watering plants

Summer is in full swing, even if we still have to break out the light jackets in the evenings.  It’s so nice to see my flower beds really starting to hit their stride.  The first coreopsis is peeking out with the promise of a spectacular show in a week or two.  The coneflower heads are showing the...
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Patience is critical for many garden vegetables

When gardeners talk about tender or warm-loving vegetables, the conversation is not about how caring and affectionate the vegetables are, but how they need warmer air and soil temperatures to get off to a good start. Track temperatures for tender vegetables Tender vegetables are those that cannot...
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Northern Illinois drought continues into fall

Are we still in droughty conditions here in northern Illinois? As of October 5 – the day before we started to get all the rain – we sure were. Are we good now? We are better off, but not “out of the woods.” The rains we got were most welcome, yet the drought monitoring sites still show DuPage,...
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standing water in grassy lawn area

Repairing water damaged lawns

Any homeowner who has suffered from flood waters in the yard will find getting the lawn back can take some time. Several factors impact the amount of damage and the recovery, including what kind of grass, what season, and how long the area stayed flooded. Temperature and tolerance Water...
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Surveying winter damage as spring emerges

We can always count on spring, but we cannot count on how our plants will come through the winter weather. Emails and phone calls coming into our offices are revealing some trends on how our landscape plants faired. A couple that have looked very good this spring are flowering ornamental...
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Houseplants should be heading back inside

Late summer triggers a column on our houseplants that are going to be brought back into our homes for the winter. For many, we take them outside to let Mother Nature nurture them back to a better state of health, or to kind of take a vacation from having to care for them as carefully as we had been...
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Vegetable garden tips for after a rain

When it finally rains after a dry spell, it is such a relief and gives gardeners a few days off before the watering patrol kicks in again. Our plants get the dust and dirt washed off, foliage perks up, and if the flowers were on the dry side, foliage colors return to normal. More than just our...
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Beware of spring freeze coming

Our Illinois weather may “play dirty" starting Friday night, especially in the northern part of the state. Predictions are for below freezing temperatures, which can damage or potentially kill vegetable seedlings, some fruit tree blossom, and tender or warm-loving transplants. Here are some tips to...
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Too Early to do Much in the Yard?

We all want to get out in the yard, do something good for the yard, yet there is all this late winter weather hanging on. The cold weather at night, frosty lawns, cold rains during the day or the frost on the ground can keep us from doing the things we want. We can do other things besides trying...
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Chilling Hours Help Break Spring Dormancy

Our plants will break dormancy at different times each spring. This depends on, as you can guess, the kind of weather we have. Besides the warming weather, “chilling hours” influence how soon we see bud swell and blooms....
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What Now? - The Last of this Season's Needs

This time of year, getting the gardening “to do” list finished is challenging anyway, and now with our variable weather pattern, it’s nearly impossible. If there is a way to make gardeners feel better, there is a lot of discussion going on that says leaving the garden debris in place has some...
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