Yard & Garden

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 me her tricks of the ...Read More

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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 ground. Of course, that’s ­usually ...Read More

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. Department of Agriculture. But pollinator ...Read More

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 can be found in my ...Read More

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 spring to early summer when ...Read More

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Be first on the block

March usually is as blustery as a presidential debate, and for the most part, just as productive. There’s a lot of wind blowing, but little accomplished. At times, though, it makes you feel good, and you sense there is something just under the surface ready to be exposed with the warm-to-hot air. March is the month of “gosh, I’ve got ...Read More

New Illinois statutes address invasive species

I was going to start off saying ‘there are plants no one in their right mind would plant, such as dandelions, but then realized many people are planting them as a food crop and a nectar plant for bees. It all came about because there are technically two groups of plants, per Illinois statutes, you are not supposed to plant. ...Read More

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True gardeners are never completely happy, or finished

Wow! Another year has passed, and there’s still too many plants I haven’t tried growing. There are too many plants that should be removed to make room for the untried, but it’s difficult getting rid of something that does perform, if only half-heartedly, but ultimately isn’t doing that much harm. (Insert your own political statement here based on that last ­sentence!) ...Read More

The great Christmas tree debate

Horticulturally-speaking, anything but real evergreens for the holidays would be akin to heresy. They should be drawn, quartered, disemboweled and burned at the stake, in any order. And then fed to the lions. That includes everything from Christmas trees to swags to wreaths and garlands - even those decorations tucked into the table centerpiece for holiday dinners. Thirty to forty ...Read More

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Gentlemen, prep your engines for winte­r

Mr. Rogers, my junior high shop ­instructor, would probably be upset over my lack of knowledge of small engines. Sure, I ­remember terms such as piston, oil and carburetor, and know that gasoline makes it all run with a spark plug. In my car, I can put in windshield washer and change a tire if necessary. But that’s the extent of ...Read More