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Article ThumbA Gift from the Gods

Iris flowers are named after a Greek goddess who delivered messages to mortals while traveling on a rainbow. Just one reason they have so many colors.


Article ThumbPerk Up with Pots
By Cathy Jean Maloney
Photography By Ron Capek

In our family, my sister Chris hosts Christmas and I host Easter. Among her many talents, Chris pulls out the stops when it comes to holiday decorating. Even in the dead of winter, her house brims with festive greenery, twinkling lights and potted poinsettias.

Then comes early spring and Easter. How can I compete? The ground is muddy at best or still snow-sodden at worst. No buds have popped yet, and any early bloomers have, more often than not, petrified pitifully in a late freeze. Being a gardener, I consider it a point of pride to find a way to jumpstart the season in time for the spring holidays.

Containers are a great solution since they can be moved to protect against volatile spring weather. But what plants might work well in early spring – I’m talking late March or early April – and where do we get our hands on them?


Article ThumbWeird & Wonderful Spring Bulbs

It’s like the emperor with no clothes. The crown imperial stands 3 to 4 feet tall, its Sun King-bright flowers lording it over the spring garden with the hauteur of Louis XIV, utterly unaware that its dignity is fatally undercut by the absurdity of its green bad-hair-day topknot.

Not every spring bulb has the classic sculptured grace of a lily-flowered tulip. Yet many bulbs beyond the ordinary have charms that can grow on a gardener, adding variety and interest where tulips, daffodils and crocuses may seem old hat.


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I had just finished an environmental talk to a local gardening group. It was the usual advice. Don’t do an oil change on ...


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There Is No “I” in Ideas

This, as I have been told by the esteemed staff of Chicagoland Gardening magazine, is the Ideas Issue.


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There’s Nothing Like Loam for the Gardener (Sung to “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays”) Oh, there’s nothing like ...


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There’s a reason why tillandsias are called air plants. Just don’t call them airheads.


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Weather Warrior

As I write, the guy on the Weather Channel is warning us to stay indoors. “Don’t go out unless you absolutely have to,” the ...


questions

What are some trends in gardening you see becoming more prevalent in the next few years?

Is there an overall rule about when to pinch back my leggy plants?

I brought a frangipani (Plumeria) back from Hawaii last April when it was just a leafless branch. It sprouted leaves and grew over summer. Now it is losing its leaves. How can I keep it growing over winter? Will it bloom?

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