Yard & Garden

Color your home with cut flowers

As gardeners, many of us like to relax in the backyard, ­taking time to enjoy the fruits of our labor and the ­beautiful flowers. We often though do not think about how easily we could bring those ­flowers indoors to enjoy in a vase. Many showy flowers, grasses and ­foliages can be interplanted into your […]

Garden gone awry?

Aggressive, ­invasive, and my ­personal ­favorite, a garden thug are all terms commonly used by gardeners to describe those garden peren­nials that tend to overtake their intended areas. It all starts with good ­intention. Usually it’s a garden friend who wants to share a ­division of a plant they have an abundance of, or a […]

Four final seeds of wisdom

Gardening is one of those ­hobbies that is never the same, at least not in Illinois. Every season brings something different from the ­previous year, which is why it’s fun and ­somewhat annoying for those who like predictability. Yet, gardening shouldn’t be ­predictable. If it becomes too routine, it can lead to monotony. Frustrations abound, […]

Know what to look for when selecting plants

A trip to the garden center is ­similar to a trip to the candy store. There are so many wonderful treats to tempt the senses, from fanciful colors to fantastic forms to appealing fragrances, and occasionally some you want to rub against your face. While the onset of spring can be defined when the first […]

Pace yourself

Hooray! Hooray! Hooray! It’s spring and the garden beckons like a school prin­cipal curling and ­uncurling the index finger. Winter is over and it’s time to rediscover the thrill of ­seeing buds pop out on lilacs ­perfuming the air for the 10 days when they are really worth something in the landscape, or tulips unfurling slowly […]

Hand wearing gloves pruning a tree branch

Itching to do spring pruning?

March is the waking-up month when the yard and gardens start to come alive after dreary winter days. And with their wake-up, we start getting that spring fever itch. We want to jump in and enjoy the warmer days and bright sunshine. Nature has ways of thwarting our activity. Warm weather can change in a […]

Why is my plant turning yellow?

Here it is the dead of winter and there’s not much green outside except maybe for the conifers and hellebores. Depending on the ­temperatures some of the bulbs might be poking through. If we want the feeling of growth, we have to turn to our houseplants. Still, they don’t always stay green. Every now and […]

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 […]