Yard & Garden

Fall leaves with rake

Three tips for fall that will help things along next spring

If nature sticks to schedule, sometime this month we’ll get hit with a killing freeze. It ­usually happens more toward the middle of the month for the upper half of state, and toward November for the bottom half. And the freeze usually spells the end of the gardening season as we know it. But there […]


Why the mighty oak eventually fell

This past July, my yard changed in the matter of seconds. In the midst of a Sunday night storm, with strong winds and lightning, my next door neighbor’s oak tree came down. Two flashes of blinding light, coupled with two loud thunder claps in the ­following nanosecond, and that’s all she wrote. Now, you’d think […]

fresh tomatoes

Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable?

This specific column serves ­multiple purposes – it will be ­informative, it allows me the opportunity to talk about a subject that a childhood friend asked about and I thought I had done, and it should be ­educational to educators who keep messing up the issue. And for that, it should be therapeutic on this end. It […]


How to give your plants a measured drink

July is my least favorite month. It’s usually hot, really hot. The outside ­temperature has the electric meter spinning faster due to the air ­conditioner running overtime. And then there’s the humidity ­approaching ­tropical conditions with dew points just as high. Okay, purely from a profes­sional viewpoint, the ­summer conditions are really good for some […]

ant red harvest

Bugged by bugs – make chemicals your last resort

Insects are the way of life for ­gardeners. And they have an ­amazing way of gnawing on your garden ­produce the day before you think it’s ripe. Such is Illinois life. Of course, certain vegetables are insect magnets. If you raise eggplant, you’re bound to get flea beetles, which create little round holes in the […]

ein junger Mann arbeitet im Garten

Tricks to dividing and conquering spring chores

May is the month of flowers and planting. Farmers are, hopefully, in the fields and gardeners are busy setting out petunias and tomatoes. There is a great re-birth and re-invigoration of the body and mind. Well, until that evening or the next morning when the muscles respond. Years ago, a good garden club friend told […]


April showers bring May flowers…

April can be the most ­magical month as well as the cruelest. Hopes can be raised with several days of warm weather, ­causing flower buds to pop up and finally liven the dreary winter landscape, giving a palpable rush to those with green thumbs ­longing, dare I say “twitching,” to get their hands in the […]

A bee collects pollen from this blooming marigold.

Pollinator gardens: a trend that puts some buzz in your landscape

By George Wiegel Like them or not, bees and their flying-bug brethren are key to the survival of three-quarters of the world’s plants. Their pollination efforts also are behind one of every three bites of food a typical American eats, accounting for some $15 billion a year in U.S. crop services, according to the U.S. […]

House? What house? These evergreens were planted too closely to the front foundation of this house and are now dwarfing it.

The seven worst gardening blunders

By George Wiegel Good gardeners aren’t born with “green thumbs” that give them mystical powers to make any plant thrive. Gardening is like any endeavor. The more you know, the more success you’re likely to have. Every setback can serve as a learning experience and evidence for the saying that “Everything I learned about gardening […]

Spring bulbs add the season's first color to this garden.

How to give your yard four-season interest

By George Wiegel Sometimes it’s not easy making a yard look good even in one season, much less all four. Yet high on many a landscaping wish list lately is the goal of creating a yard that changes with the seasons and looks good in all of them. The job is a little easier in […]