Yard & Garden


How to save your ash trees

Since 2006, the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has spread throughout the state, usually following interstate highways or rail lines, though there have been a few exceptions. Left on its own devices, the EAB flies about 1-5 miles a year, usually more on the lower end of the scale. With that, it would have taken an average of 300 years for ...Read More


A matter of taste

October and apples go hand in hand. Sure, you may find some apples such as Lodi ripening in July and August, depending on the year. And some won’t taste good until they’ve been stored in the refrigerator or cellar over the winter.The vast majority of apples, though, come into their prime during October, matching the crispness of the weather with ...Read More


Musing about a mossy issue

Moss is somewhat like curly hair. Those with lots of curls envy those with straight hair, and those with straight hair want the curls.Some gardeners strive and strive to get moss to grow in their yards, between bricks and patio pavers. They want their pots to show the aged moss effects. Some even will develop moss gardens in all sorts ...Read More


The trouble with tomatoes

By L. A. JacksonIdyllic is the tomato harvest of perfectly round fruits shining in a glow of flawless red. But in the real world of vegetable gardening, such a crop is not always the case because many tomatoes will be scarred, marred and otherwise look down right ugly.Why?Disease! It must be a ­disease! So out comes the sprayer, and you ...Read More

Habanero Pepper

Hot peppers: edible and ornamental!

By L. A. JacksonWant to add visual and literal sizzle to your garden this year? Include hot peppers. These popular plants have become staples in many vegetable gardens because, even with heat levels that, in some, seem to approach thermonuclear, it can’t be denied that hot peppers will certainly spice up dull meals at dinner time.But with such a diversity ...Read More

llowing some plants to playfully flop will soften the edges of a path.

The enlightened path

By L. A. JacksonPaths are, of course, necessities when it comes to walking from Point A to Point B in a garden, but as utilitarian as they are, with proper planning, they can actually add to the beauty of the landscape. Below are some pointers that will help lead you down an enlightened path to a prettier garden.MaterialWhat should your ...Read More

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Bringing in the butterflies

By L. A. Jackson   Spring is an ideal time for ­gardeners who love ornamental plants to plan for not only a bountiful show of blooms but also butterflies. That’s right—butterflies. These bright flits of kinetic color are enough to make even the most distracted backyard grower take notice. Stray butterflies will fly into the ­garden just about any time ...Read More


Ready for spring gardening chores?

As this is being ­written, the ­temperatures are in the single digits. The forecast calls for more snow. Blah. When you read this, hopefully it will be sunny and warm. The only thing predictable about the weather is its unpredictability, and our ability to shortly forget how good or bad it was. Come July, if and when the mercury in ...Read More


It’s bloody cold

As I write this in late January, it is -11 degrees without ­factoring in the wind chill in Rockford, which is where I’m teaching, and ­fortunately not where I’m living. Not that there is anything against Rockford and ­northern Illinois. It’s just as the British would say, “It’s bloody cold” and most of Illinois has experienced the bone-chilling cold this ...Read More


The best way to water orchids

Orchids are one of those fas­cinating plants that impress just about everyone. Production costs and bio-technology have enabled the $100 plant to be yours at the bargain price of less than $20. Granted, you ­probably aren’t ­getting the Cattleya or Papheopedilum orchid. What you probably are ­buying, though, are the Phalaenopsis or Dendrobium, two of the easiest to grow plants. ...Read More