Skip to main content


Why are there holes in my roses? Roseslugs. Roseslug larva feeding on the leaf of a rose.

Why are there holes in my roses? Roseslugs

Roses are grown in many gardens for their large, showy, often fragrant flowers. If you grow roses, you may have noticed something eating the leaves of your plants, causing them to become unsightly. While Japanese beetles often get much of the blame during the summer months, they aren’t the only...
Finish this story
No Mow May. It’s almost May; is it time to stop mowing? Lawn mower in a yard with blooming dandelions

It’s almost May; is it time to stop mowing?

Did you notice people’s lawns getting a little long last May? No Mow May has become a popular way to help pollinators. No Mow May began in the United Kingdom in 2019 as a way to help struggling pollinator populations. The idea is that if people don’t mow their lawns during May, it will allow ‘...
Finish this story
A plant of many colors: Virginia bluebells. Purple and blue bluebell flowers.

A plant of many colors: Virginia bluebell

With the arrival of warmer weather in the spring, we start to see signs of new life in our landscapes. Birds begin singing, our landscapes start turning green again, and spring ephemeral plants start to emerge. Among the spring ephemerals in Illinois, one of the most captivating and commonly...
Finish this story
Homegrown bouquets: three species for your garden bunches of colorful flowers on display at a market

Homegrown bouquets: three species for your garden

We live in a fast-paced world. From food to information to travel, what took our grandparents hours, days, or weeks to obtain, we can have in seconds and minutes. Fresh produce and plant material are no different. Carrots, berries, melons, and bananas are available year-round in the local grocery...
Finish this story
How to prune flowering shrubs for more blooms. Forsythia shrub covered in bright yellow flowers.

How to prune flowering shrubs for more blooms

Have you ever seen a lilac bush that only blooms at the very top, or maybe not at all? Perhaps you’ve seen or have a forsythia bush that doesn’t bloom nearly as prolifically as it once did. This often happens due to a lack of or improper pruning. When done correctly, pruning can help flowering...
Finish this story
Garden trends for the new year flower filled garden with wooden seating area stone pathway and brick element with plants draping over

Garden trends for the new year

The internet is a wild place full of an endless amount of information, ideas, opinions, advice, arguments, and more. Tangled in this web, it will come as no surprise that my favorite spaces are those that relate to plants. I’ve been known to have many, many pages open in my browser window that...
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
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
Unique blooms: rattlesnake master and buttonbush photo of white round rattlesnake master blooms against green foliate in background

Unique blooms: Rattlesnake master and buttonbush

Nature is an incredible artist and evolution has produced an overabundance of diversity. Plants in every form from spreading to climbing, vase-shaped, columnar, leaves in various shapes, colors, and arrangements. The two species featured in this article are about as opposite as plants get. One...
Finish this story
How to grow and care for hollyhocks. Dark purple hollyhock flower

How to grow and care for hollyhocks

Hollyhocks (Alcea rosea) have been growing in gardens for centuries and remind many of us of our parents’ or grandparents’ gardens. Despite being ‘old-fashioned,’ hollyhocks have had a bit of a resurgence in recent years. Their tall, stately flowers are an impressive sight in the garden....
Finish this story
Trillium: Good things come in threes group of white trillium blooming on woodland floor

Trillium: Good things come in threes

In my last blog post, I shared my affection for bloodroot and boldly claimed that “among the myriad of spring blooms, few thrill me as much as Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis).” That sentiment was sincere, however, I must confess that there are others that are equally as exciting. This...
Finish this story
bunch of daffodils

Springtime gardening trivia

It seems like everyone is doing trivia these days. To celebrate the coming spring, I am trying my hand at writing some gardening trivia questions. Good luck! Trivia Questions When admiring spring bulbs, a horticulturist exclaims “Look at that Narcissus”, what are they referring to?...
Finish this story
When should I clean up my garden? Picture of a garden with brown native bunch grasses and brown fallen tree leaves.

When should I start cleaning up my garden?

As the days get longer and the temperatures start to warm, we often get the itch to start gardening. On the first warm day of the year, I often find myself thinking I need to be doing something in the garden because it’s so nice out. However, we shouldn’t be in too big of a hurry to start cleaning...
Finish this story
When should I start my seeds? packet of seeds on a table with small brown seeds coming out of the package next to orange plant labels.

When should I start my seeds?

Seed starting is a great way to scratch the gardening itch we often get during late winter. In addition to getting a head start on the growing season, there are a number of additional benefits to starting your own seeds....
Finish this story
Are my seeds still good? Testing seed germination. White paper towel with small green seedlings emerging from black seeds

Are my seeds still good? Testing seed germination

Have you ever found a packet of seeds lying around and wondered if you could grow them? Every year when I get ready to start seeds, I inevitably find a half-full packet or a packet I forgot to plant altogether. Unfortunately, as seeds get older, their germination rate decreases. Fortunately, there...
Finish this story
Add some fireworks to your garden this Fourth of July. Pink flowers of nodding onion.

Add some fireworks to your garden this Fourth of July

The Fourth of July holiday often includes parades, barbeques, and fireworks. Fireworks often fill the night sky with their colorful, albeit fleeting displays. The fireworks don’t have to be restricted to the Fourth, though. Whether it be their color, flower shape, or name, a number of plants can...
Finish this story
Caring for spring-blooming bulbs after flowering. Red and yellow tulips with green foliage.

Caring for spring-blooming bulbs after flowering

Our days are getting longer and warmer, and many gardens are awash in color from spring-blooming bulbs like daffodils and tulips. Unfortunately, the blooms will eventually fade, leaving many of us wondering what we can do to help make sure that they are ready to go again next year. Leave the...
Finish this story
ruby throat hummingbird feeding from flower

5 ways to attract Hummingbirds to your yard

Every year, hummingbirds travel from their winter homes in Central America and Mexico to North America. Hummingbirds are currently making their trip north with an expected arrival to west-central Illinois around April 10 to 20. Knowing when these birds will arrive can help us prepare for their much...
Finish this story
pruners cutting dried hydrangeas

How to properly prune hydrangeas

When pruning species that bloom on new wood such as panicle and smooth hydrangeas, you can remove as much as one-third to one-half of the total mass of the shrub. Hydrangeas are a popular blooming woody shrub that add attractive foliage and large, striking blossoms to landscapes. An important part...
Finish this story
How to take care of amaryllis and get them to rebloom! Amaryllis flower with red on outer part of petals and white center

How to take care of amaryllis and get them to rebloom

Along with evergreens and poinsettias, another sign that the holidays are approaching is the appearance of amaryllis in stores. Whether you’re buying them as gifts or for yourself, these relatively carefree plants are a great way to add a splash of color indoors. Amaryllis (Hippeastrum...
Finish this story
flowerhead in the sunset

What makes plants bloom at different times of the year?

As the chill of fall finally settles in, many Illinoisans find themselves outside cleaning up leaves, the garden, and landscape beds. It makes one ponder the seasonality of plants. One Good Growing reader had such a question and posed it to us, “How do plants know when to flower?” How do plants...
Finish this story
How to plant flower bulbs for a colorful spring display. Different types of spring-blooming bulbs

How to plant flower bulbs for a colorful spring display

The days are getting shorter, and the temperatures are finally getting cooler, meaning fall has arrived. While many of our gardening activities are starting to wind down, it’s time to start thinking about planting our spring-blooming bulbs. Bulbs such as crocus, tulips, daffodils, as well as a host...
Finish this story

Celebrate the colors of fall with autumn flowers

It has begun. The corn has turned. Transforming much of the Illinois landscape into a sea of tan. The soybeans are following with their yellow hues. Combines churn away, as the heavy scent of plant debris permeates the truck cab. Bright seas of goldenrod sway in the wind, as if a welcome mat laid...
Finish this story
How to divide and plant bearded iris. person digging a bearded iris clump

How to divide and plant bearded iris

Irises are easy to grow, long-lived, and relatively carefree perennials, making them some of the most popular flowers in gardens. They can also be found in a variety of colors, ranging from pink, purple, yellow, peach, green, white, tan, bronze, to almost black, and bi-color. The American...
Finish this story
Spring brings spring beauties to the landscape - a clump of blooming spring beauty plants in turf

Spring brings spring beauties to the landscape

Have you ever noticed small white flowers dotting the landscape this time of year? Chances are they’re spring beauties (Claytonia virginica). While they may not be the first wildflowers to bloom, spring beauties are one of our earlier blooming wildflowers and a sure sign that spring has...
Finish this story
garden with fruit and veggies

5 Tips for a successful second year gardener

The year of 2020 brought a new experience for many as over 20 million novice gardeners picked up a trowel for the first time according to Bonnie Plants CEO Mike Sutterer. New adventures come with excitement; however, as those rose-colored glasses become clearer with further attempts and another...
Finish this story
2021 All-American Selections winners

New plants for a new year - try growing something new in 2021

Out with the old and in with the new. A new year means the garden catalogs are starting to arrive and that it’s time to start planning this year’s garden. Whether you’re just getting started or you’re a veteran gardener, consider growing something new this year in your garden. If you’ve listened...
Finish this story
pots with dormant plants covered in snow clustered together on a porch

Overwintering potted plants

Have you ever gone a little overboard buying plants and run out of room or energy to plant them all in the fall and figured it could wait until spring, only to find out most, or all have died? Or maybe you’ve had a container planter with perennials and excitedly waited for them to resume growth in...
Finish this story
Pink, purple, and yellow blooms of fall blooming bulbs. Autumn crocus, Crocus speciosus, Autumn crocus, Colchicum autumnale, Hardy cyclamen, Cyclamen hederifolium, and Saffron crocus, Crocus sativus

They’re not just in spring: Fall blooming bulbs

When it comes to bulbs, this time of year (fall), much of our attention is focused on getting ready to plant spring-blooming bulbs, and rightfully so. From crocus and daffodils to tulips and alliums, these plants provide a burst of color early in the year before many of our landscape plants begin...
Finish this story
Scarlet runner beans growing on a fence

Creating an Edible Landscape

When we think of the typical home landscape, our garden areas are usually separated by the type of plant being grown. We have a separate bed for flowers and ornamental plants, one for vegetables and one for herbs. Often the vegetable and herb gardens are tucked away in the backyard and out of view...
Finish this story
branches from cherry tree blooming indoors

Bringing Spring Indoors - Forcing Branches

The weather this year has been a bit of a roller coaster. One day it feels like spring, and the next, we are reminded that we’re still in the middle of winter. Despite some of the warmer temperatures we’ve had this year, we still have a way to go before the warm weather sticks around for the long...
Finish this story
Spooky and Scary plants with doll's eyes plant berries

Spooky and Scary Plants

Halloween is a time of trick-or-treating, witches, ghouls, and ghosts. When it comes to plants, we typically think of pumpkins. Carnivorous plants may also come to mind, what could be scarier than a plant turning the tables and eating insects? There are plenty of other ‘spooky and scary’ plants out...
Finish this story
It's Peony Time! Pink peony flower

It's Peony Time!

Herbaceous peonies are a common sight in many gardens and some of the most beautiful flowers you will find. They belong to the genus Paeonia which is native to Asia, Europe, and Western North America. They have been cultivated in Asia for more than 2,000 years. These cultivated peonies...
Finish this story