Leaves piled up near a compost bin and a faded white fence

Stepping outside on a cool fall day, I can recall the childhood joy of fall leaves and singing, “leaves are falling, leaves are falling...” as we watched the autumn scene unfold before us. The colorful fall leaves once hanging from the trees are now a patchwork of various shades and shapes scattered across the lawn and landscape. As their muted palate dulls to brown, these dried, decomposing leaves become a great free source of nutrients for your yard or garden.  

sphynx moth

With everything going virtual this year, Illinois’ Master Gardener conference followed suit, hosting only one speaker. So she must have been good.

yellow dandelions in green grass

How can happy and cheery yellow hues and lively and rich purple hues cause people to gleefully countdown towards a weed apocalypse?

Dandelions and Violets should be a welcome addition, especially for the eco-friendly gardener, sending up their early spring blooms sporadically throughout your lawn and flower beds. The same bees that will be pollinating your favorite summer fruits and vegetables need nectar and pollen sources now. Bees like violets’ dark purple color, which keeps them warm while drinking nectar and collecting pollen on cool days.

creeping charlie and dandelion among turf grass

Originally published by Kelly Allsup on May 19, 2019.

Mammoth dandelions, carpets of Creeping Charlie and a smattering of lambsquarters, purslane and foxtail are flourishing while we stay in our homes during the rainy spring. Weeds can be a conundrum for most gardeners and may even cause some to throw in the trowel. However, there are some gardening practices that can help you win the war against the weeds.

Weed during critical periods