Summer Gardening Stories


Oedema Is a Corky Quirk


Plants that experience extremes in soil moisture may develop spots on their leaves, called “oedema” (also spelled “edema”). The spots may first appear as a blister or raised spot, particularly on the undersides of leaves, but may occur on the top side as well as on the stems. Eventually, the blister develops a rust-colored, cork-like scab. Oedema is most commonly seen in the greenhouse on ivy-leaf geraniums but also on pansies, jade, and other thick-leaved […]


Perennials for Shady Gardens


Plants differ in their adaptability to different growing conditions. Sunshine is one of the most significant factors. We often think of light as being either sunny or shady, but, in fact, there are many “shades” of light in between. Your garden may experience light shade, such as that filtered through an overhanging tree; dense shade, such as that found in woodlands; or intermittent shade from an object, such as a building that blocks the sun […]


Use Caution With Spreading Plants


People often select plants first for their beauty and second for their functionality in the garden. Frequently, we don’t know or don’t consider a plant’s behavior when we’re selecting them. Almost by definition, a species that is an effective ground cover will have a spreading habit. But does that make the species aggressive or invasive? There can be much confusion about the meaning of the terms aggressive and invasive. Some plants, given their optimal habitat, […]


Dividing iris


Whether you’re looking to expand your planting of iris or just need to rejuvenate an older planting, late summer through early fall is a good time to lift and divide iris. Dividing every three to five years will help rejuvenate the planting, and encourage more blossoms for the subsequent years. Most iris plants spread by means of underground stems called rhizomes. Rhizomes become too crowded over time, resulting in reduced flowering. By lifting and dividing […]


Gardeners reminded to protect pollinators


Pollinators are all the “buzz” these days with a federal proclamation designating June 19-25 as National Pollinator Week. Now in its tenth year, the focus of this designation by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and the Interior is to promote the health of pollinators, so critical to food and ecosystems. It may surprise you to learn that the honeybee is native to Europe and was introduced to the U.S. But there are also numerous other […]


Three new vegetables chosen for All-America Selections 2017


Three exciting new vegetables were chosen as All-America Selections (AAS) winners for 2017, based on superior performance in test gardens throughout the country. Okra: “Candle Fire” was chosen for its unique pods — round rather than ribbed — and for its color, a brighter red than the reddish-burgundy okras currently available. The judges gave it high marks for productivity, taste, texture and tenderness, as well as for the ornamental value of red pods on red stems. […]


Humble hosta


If you’re looking for a plant that is winter-hardy throughout the Midwest, excels under shady conditions and has fabulous foliage as well as attractive flowers, then hosta is the plant for you. Also known as plantain lily, hosta performs best in partial to full shade, although some have been able to survive full sun conditions if given a cool environment with plenty of moisture. The leaves will tend to burn or turn sickly yellow if […]


Bid farewell to asparagus and rhubarb season


Reluctantly, it is time to see the end of this year’s asparagus and rhubarb harvest. Because of their perennial growth habit, asparagus and rhubarb must be given a chance to rebuild food reserves so that a bumper crop can be produced again next year. A good rule of thumb is to stop harvesting about the middle of June. In the case of asparagus, this allows the spears to produce tall, fern-like growth. Often, asparagus plants […]


When Tree Roots Surface


Much to the dismay of homeowners, landscape trees sometimes grow roots on top of the surface of the lawn or possibly even buckle sidewalks and driveways. These surface roots can be quite a nuisance to lawn mowers and human feet. There are several reasons why the roots come to the surface. Some tree species are more prone to surface roots than others, most notably silver maple, poplar and willow. But almost any large, older tree […]


The Purple Landscape


Trees and shrubs with colorful foliage can add a steady supply of interest in the landscape throughout the growing season. Purple foliage is quite popular among plant breeders and garden enthusiasts.  Here’s a look at some possibilities to consider. Small to Medium Trees Japanese Maple – There are many cultivars available in the trade. Some have purple foliage all summer while others may be purple only in spring and/or autumn. Redbud “Forest Pansy” – This […]


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