Winter Gardening Stories


Mother Nature Gives Spring Bulbs the Heave-Ho!


It’s not unusual for Indiana weather to have trouble deciding what season it is. Warm spells during the dormant period often lead to bulbs poking their foliage (and sometimes flower buds) through the soil. While we’re more used to seeing this happen during February warm spells, our frigid temperatures arrived a bit early in fall 2019, followed by intermittent unseasonably mild weather. Indiana temperatures widely fluctuated in November and December, with the low temperature at […]


Holiday Cactus FAQs


Holiday cacti are not only popular gift plants, but they are also the subject of frequent debate among gardeners. There appears to be much confusion about these unique tropical cacti regarding care, maintenance and, especially, on how to get them to re-bloom. While most folks just lump them all together as Christmas cactus, there are actually distinct species. The following tips address the most frequently asked questions. The various species of holiday cactus bloom at […]

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Please Don’t Top Your Trees


Topping a tree is an all-too-common practice among homeowners, particularly when their trees become too tall and pose a possible threat to the house or overhead power lines. Some have the trees topped because they believe, or are led to believe, that topping is a good pruning practice. Some situations obviously require the removal of large limbs for the sake of safety. But topping is a drastic step that ultimately endangers the tree’s life. Removing […]


Snow Is Good for Gardens


Though your aching back may not agree, recent heavy snows actually will be good for your garden and landscape. Snow provides moisture as well as protection from cold and wind. Snow is an excellent insulator against low temperatures and excessive winds. The extent of protection depends on the depth of snow. In addition, the soil gives off some heat so that the temperature at the soil surface can be much warmer than the air temperature. […]


Pollinators are abuzz for the 2019 Perennial of the Year


By selecting Stachys officinalis ‘Hummelo’ as its 2019 Perennial Plant of the Year, the Perennial Plant Association once again continued its focus on pollinator-friendly plants. ‘Hummelo’ is a compact, clump-forming perennial, reaching 1.5 to 2 feet tall and wide. Over time, the plants will form a dense mat, spreading slowly from creeping underground stems. Showy magenta flower spikes rise well above the foliage in midsummer and are quite attractive to butterflies and other pollinators. Plants are hardy in […]


Spice Up Your Holidays


Some of the most popular spices used this time of year are harvested from various parts of exotic tropical plants, lending a special flavor to holiday recipes. Ginger is harvested from the rhizomes (underground stems) of a tropical/sub-tropical herbaceous plant, Zingiber officinale. Ginger is native to tropical Asia and is grown commercially in Hawaii and many other countries, including China, India, Thailand and Brazil. The rhizomes are harvested after the first year of the plant’s […]


New Tool Provides Resources for Midwest Landscapes


The Purdue Landscape Report provides science-based, timely information for Midwest landscapes. Members of the Purdue Landscape Report Team create articles and supporting photos. The team is composed of Purdue Extension specialists and diagnosticians in many disciplines, including horticulture, entomology, plant pathology, urban forestry and turf science. The information in the report is intended to benefit commercial growers, garden centers, landscapers, arborists, or others who want to keep up with current landscape issues. In addition to […]


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 […]


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 […]

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Mild weather brings up the bulbs


It’s not unusual for Indiana weather to have trouble deciding what season it is. Recent warm spells have had many gardeners wondering what to do about bulbs, and perhaps a few plants that are poking their foliage through the soil. Just what should gardeners do about daffodils, dianthus and daylilies poking out of the ground? The good news is that no action is required. We’re used to seeing this happen in late winter during a […]


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