Category: Seasonal Information

The Mystery of the Black Sacs

Q.I’m concerned about the black sacs shown in this picture that are on a tree in our yard. I’m not sure what type of tree this is, but it is approximately 8 years old. The leaves turn purple in the fall instead of any other color. Is this an infestation that can be cured, or does the tree need to be removed? – D. L., Muenster, Indiana A. This appears to be a fungal disease called [Read More…]


February Garden Calendar

HOME (Indoor plants and activities) Check water levels in cut flowers daily. Check stored produce and flower bulbs for rot, shriveling, or excess moisture. Discard any damaged items. Most houseplants require less water in the winter because growth is slow or stopped. Check the soil for dryness before watering. Move houseplants to brighter windows, but don’t place plants in drafty places or against cold windowpanes. Early blooms of spring-flowering bulbs can make good gifts for [Read More…]


The Big Chill

When winter temperatures dip below zero and winds howl across the prairie, gardeners may worry that their trees and shrubs are taking a beating. No need for doom and gloom yet – most hardy landscape and orchard plants are reasonably able to cope with most of our winters, including our recent polar vortex. Many factors influence plant injury, including plant species and cultivars, degree of plant dormancy, and overall plant health. Other factors include how [Read More…]


Getting Christmas Cactus to Rebloom

Q. I would like to know, how do you get Christmas cactus to bloom? – O.S., Floyds Knobs, Indiana A. A little extra care will help bring your Christmas cactus back to full bloom next year. Although a Christmas cactus can adapt to low light, it will produce more abundant blooms if you know how to manipulate the light they receive. For now, keep your plants in a sunny, indoor location away from drafts, heat [Read More…]


January Garden Calendar

HOME (Indoor plants and activities) Keep holiday poinsettias and other plants near a bright window. Water as top of soil becomes dry. Increase humidity around houseplants by grouping plants together, placing them on a pebble-water tray or running a humidifier. Check stored produce and tender flower bulbs and roots for rot, shriveling or excess moisture. Remove and discard damaged material. Repot houseplants as they outgrow current pots. YARD (Lawns, woody ornamentals and fruits) Check young [Read More…]


Allium ‘Millenium’ Named 2018 Perennial of the Year!

The Perennial Plant Association (PPA) selected its 2018 Perennial Plant of the Year: Allium ‘Millenium’ (yes, that’s Millenium with just one n). This announcement continues to show the focus on pollinator habitat these days — Allium ‘Millenium’ is appropriately referred to as a butterfly and bee magnet! ‘Millenium’ is a hybrid Allium selected for late flowering. It has masses of rose-purple blooms; a uniform habit; and neat, shiny, green foliage that remains attractive long after [Read More…]

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Mystery plants identified

Q. I have some leaves from a tree I would like to identify. It is roughly 8 to 12 inches in diameter and fairly tall. The leaves are alternating with lengths of 1.5 to 2 inches long. The leaf stalks are all really short compared to the leaf length. Can you identify? – M.R., Brookville, Indiana A. This appears to be Ulmus parvifolia – common name Chinese elm or lacebark elm. This species is quite [Read More…]

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Blooming out of sequence is cool!

What is that crabapple doing reblooming in October and November? Actually, it might be more correct to think of it as jumping the gun on next spring rather than reblooming. Although it happens to some extent many years, there seem to be more reports thas usual of landscape plants blooming out of sequence this fall. Rhododendrons, crabapples, and saucer magnolias are the most commonly reported species blooming this fall. Spring-blooming woody plants initiate flower buds [Read More…]

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December Garden Calendar

HOME (Indoor plants and activities) Check houseplant leaves for brown, dry edges, which indicates too little relative humidity in the house. Increase humidity by running a humidifier, grouping plants or using pebble trays. Extend the lives of holiday plants such as poinsettias and Christmas cactus by placing them in a cool, brightly lit area that is free from warm or cold drafts. Houseplants may not receive adequate light because days are short and gloomy. Move [Read More…]


Sprouted Squash Seeds and Stinky Ginkgo Fruit

Q. We cut open a spaghetti squash and it had green sprouts growing inside. Have you seen this before? Is it safe to eat the squash? – B.O., Rensselaer, IN A. Although uncommon, premature sprouting of seeds inside a fruit sometimes occurs in squash, tomatoes, peppers, corn, strawberries, and other species. This early seed germination inside the fruit is called vivipary. Normally, the balance of plant growth regulators inside a fruit inhibit germination until seeds [Read More…]


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