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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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The CRASH Test

Every day I receive letters (well, not every day, but every few days...actually, I occasionally receive letters ... okay, I ...


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From the Editor - May/Jun 2014

At the end of February I spent a couple of weeks in a suburb south of San Francisco, doing grandma duty while my daughter ...


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Go to the Flower Show!

The Chicago Flower & Garden Show opened this past Saturday at Navy Pier and I’m here to report that it’s worth the price of ...


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Criminy, It’s Crinums

This giant and usually tender summer-flowering bulb can be found thriving in a Dane County garden.


questions

Our Russian sage (Perovskia) is full and bountiful but will not stay upright. Is there anything we can do? Is there a way to split some off when it has outgrown its space? Should it be trimmed back in fall or spring?

After my father’s tomatoes ripen on the vine, he finds when he cuts into them that there is a hard white core that extends through the fruit.

I purchased some pre-chilled hyacinths and tulips for forcing but there were no directions with them. Does this mean I don’t have to chill them in the refrigerator, and will they just bloom in the house any time during the winter? The last batch of bulbs became moldy in the refrigerator.

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