Yard & Garden

Christmas gift suggestions for your favorite gardener

As the years have turned hairs to gray, it’s been harder and harder to find those unusual gardening gifts for the green thumber. There are fewer and fewer truly innovative ideas short of all the apps available for smart phones and tablets. How many times can you say a great pair of pruners, such as […]

Take care of your tools this fall

Years ago, when fall crept in slowly but winter descended like a sprinter, some tools did not make it indoors. Of course it was the tools fault, since they decided to just stay outdoors for the winter instead of making their way into the garage. That was also the year the tools, that did make […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]