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Green Thumb – Sensational Succulents

In 2009, I had the opportunity to tour the Ball Seed Demonstration Gardens in West Chicago. There I learned that one of the cutting edge plant trends was to be growing succulents. Really? If I had been in the desert southwest, this would not have surprised me; but for northern ...read more

Green Thumb – Colorful Chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemum is Japanese,She's a fine lady, if you please.She comes to see us once a year,about the time Thanksgiving's here.— Elizabeth Gordon By late summer, the petunias get spindly, the coneflowers get floppy, and the phlox come down with mildew. That’s when chrysanthemums come to our rescue, revving up our enthusiasm ...read more

Native Plantings

Aftercare and Long-Term Management Every year not long after the corn and soybeans are planted, I start getting calls regarding the newly seeded native plantings that were completed in the spring or fall of the previous year, says Dean Johnson. The first comment is, “It sure looks weedy, and I don’t ...read more

Green Thumb – Alliums

They're Not Just Onions Anymore Alliums are a large, diverse family of plants. The allium genus contains 700 different species.We first find them in early American kitchen gardens where onions and chives were important plants to grow for culinary purposes. Today, many new forms of the original alliums have been hybridized ...read more

Green Thumb – What’s That Weed?

A weed is a plant in the wrong place. As a small child I got a kick out of picking dandelions just to blow away the fluff. Now I pluck them from the lawn in slow motion. Dandelions have a bad rap because they spread so easily, but it’s important to ...read more

Green Thumb – Garden Trends & New Plants in 2021

It is time to bid a less than fond farewell to 2020. This past year has been a challenge in many ways. Fortunately, we can now look forward to a brand new year and a brand new gardening season full of trends to discover and plants to inspire us. Garden Trends The ...read more

Green Thumb – Ask the Master Gardeners About Herbs

When people ask you how you take such good care of your herb garden... Tell them you have lots of thyme! Herbs are in a special category of their own because they are timeless. The ancient Greeks considered parsley sacred. In Medieval times, knights wore small stems of thyme on their ...read more

Native Prairies Being Established Locally

Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres provide long-term benefits to the environment. When the last glacier left our area approximately 14,000 years ago it left behind moraines and glacial ridges. Eventually as the temperatures began to rise the tundra-like environment was replaced by cool moist deciduous forests and eventually by oak-hickory woodlands, ...read more

Green Thumb – Pruning Tips for Healthier Shrubs

Most of us take an interest in pruning when we become first-time home owners. In my case I thought it was my duty to maintain the shrubs like the previous owner. After all, cones, boxes and meat-ball spheres were the landscaping shapes we saw down the street. On Saturdays you ...read more

Green Thumb – Growing Milkweed for Monarch Butterflies

Whenever I see milkweed growing along the side of a road, I wonder if I’ll see Monarch butterflies. They lay their eggs on milkweed because it’s the only source of food for their caterpillars. Monarch Caterpillar Two years ago a patch of Common Milkweed showed up in my yard, and Monarch butterflies ...read more