Yard & Garden


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 […]

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 […]


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 […]

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 […]


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. […]


Don’t mourn – fertilize!

Some folks see the death of any plant as a ­funereal experience, lamenting the loss of a plant and the potential end of the world. Some of us say “Ah, such is life.” and then “Wow! I have room to put something else in.” That being said, tree death for the most part is something […]

White picket fence on lawn

Stop the insanity

Years ago I must have touched a hot stove, as I’ve never touched one since. Many are probably in the same boat, ignoring their parent’s comment “not to do it” but ­learning that we should have listened. Along those lines, Albert Einstein has been credited (though with little actual proof) with the definition of “insanity” […]


Rain, rain, go away come again in late summer

It’s August, and who knows what the weather will be. June was a soggy mess, though many of the plants loved all the rain, particularly the corn, hostas and trees. Of course, it also brought out the mosquitoes and other little ­biting creatures. That’s why it’s always important to make sure gutters drain, plant saucers […]


Suggestions for what to plant in July

From a gardening standpoint, July is sort of the in-between month where we seem to enjoy the bounties of the month, and not worry about planting anything. July is fresh sweet corn rolled in butter, plump red cherry tomatoes that pop in your mouth, and juicy peaches that ooze liquid down your chin. You can’t […]


Watering dos and don’ts

Summer means heat, humidity and maybe the lack of rain. One never knows for sure, though. We could get cool weather and lots of moisture. Fortunately, Illinois hasn’t ­experienced years of severe drought, but if we go through some dry ­conditions, there are some things to remember and things you definitely should not do. The […]