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Your USDA Hardiness Zone

Featured Articles!

Invasive Invaders

Many species of non-native invasive plants, insects and animals plague the Midwest. Why should gardeners care? Here is what you need to know. Chestnut blight in the early 1900s. Dutch elm disease in the mid-1900s. Emerald ash borer in the early 2000s. Asian longhorned beetle has been discovered in five states with the most recent find in Ohio. The list of invasive species goes on and grows ...

>> read “Invasive Invaders”    
Flowers that bridge the gap between summer and fall

August is a tough month in many gardens. The blooms of June and July are fading and the asters and mums, traditionally associated with autumn, are not yet flowering. Depending on the year, August can be hot and dry and even the hardiest blooms can appear to be faded, like an old house dress hung out week after week to dry in the sun.

>> read “Flowers that bridge the gap between summer and fall”    
Narrow-Leaf Ironweed
Vernonia lettermannii

With its profusion of small purple flowers and tolerance of heat and drought, narrow-leaf ironweed (Vernonia lettermannii) is a standout in the late-season perennial border in USDA Zones 4 to 9. Native to dry, rocky flood plains in Arkansas and Oklahoma, narrow-leaf ironweed thrives in almost all soil types, except soggy, heavy soils. In fact, supplemental fertilizers and excessive watering are discouraged in the garden setting ...

>> read “Narrow-Leaf Ironweed”       #Hot Plants
No Fuss…No Till

A growing number of experts say annual tilling is unnecessary—maybe even harmful. Here’s why. Garden wisdom has long held that preparing a vegetable garden means yearly tilling: digging to mix up the top 6 or 8 inches of soil and incorporate new organic matter such as compost to increase its fertility.

>> read “No Fuss…No Till”    
Starting From Scratch with Backyard Chickens

Chickens eat insect pests (including Japanese beetles), aerate the soil, ‘recycle’ kitchen scraps and their droppings are a natural fertilizer. Chickens and gardens really can grow together ...

>> read “Starting From Scratch with Backyard Chickens”    
Grow a Patriot’s Garden

Growing a red, white and blue garden is as American as apple pie. There are so many all-American holidays; we have plenty of reasons to celebrate in the good old summertime. Flag Day is on June 14, but the best of all reasons for celebrating is the Fourth of July ...

>> read “Grow a Patriot’s Garden”    
Alliums for All

Alliums or ‘ornamental onions’ come in all sizes and colors—from giant globe-shaped purple spheres to delicate yellow sprays. The best part is that deer, squirrels, voles and rabbits find them foul-tasting. Here are some awe-inspiring alliums to add to your garden this year.

>> read “Alliums for All”    
A Go-To Plant

Is there something in your wardrobe, a go-to outfit that you throw on when you need to look good and don’t have time to put a lot of thought into it? I’d be lost without those reliable clothes in my closet. In my garden, that role is filled by Sesleria autumnalis. This grass is commonly called autumn moor grass. I call it “friend” ...

>> read “A Go-To Plant”    
Forcing Bulbs
For Those Who Just Can’t Wait

I am counting the days until spring. I watch the weather forecast like I am watching the lottery numbers being read, hoping the meteorologist is going to give me some good news. Once the holidays are over, gardeners start dreaming about the beauty that lies beneath the surface of the soil, knowing there are bulbs under there just waiting for the right minute to bust out.

>> read “Forcing Bulbs”    
Spring-Blooming Plants, Shrubs and Trees for Early Pollinators

This is the time when we feel most alive and our senses seem to be in overdrive. It’s the promise of renewal and awakening. Spring has finally arrived ...

>> read “Spring-Blooming Plants, Shrubs and Trees for Early Pollinators”    
The Edible Garden: What To Do When

Use this timeline to stay on track in the vegetable garden. But be prepared to make adjustments depending on the weather. Remember the growing season is shorter away from Lake Michigan.

>> read “The Edible Garden: What To Do When”    
‘Black Velvet’ Petunia
Petunia x hybrid ‘Black Velvet’

‘Black Velvet’ is the latest petunia to hit garden centers and is sure to be a big hit among gardening enthusiasts this spring. This unique black petunia has great potential in the landscape as it looks spectacular mixed with white, yellow and pink colors. Use other colors of petunias or accent ‘Black Velvet’ with delicate flowers like gaura, ‘Snow Princess’ lobularia or euphorbia.

>> read “‘Black Velvet’ Petunia”       #Hot Plants
 
 
 

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