Yard & Garden

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]