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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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From the Editor - Jan/Feb 2014

This is our “Ideas Issue,” designed to be a keeper, although of course we hope you keep all of our issues. So to get this ...


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From the Editor - Sep/Oct 2014

The surprise is that there have been so few surprises. But maybe that’s just what happens when you plant a 5-acre “stylized ...


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Features
Summer-Blooming Bulbs

Last spring my sister called to say that she had found a wonderful new anemone to add to her collection in a mixed flower …


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Features
Flying High

Kay “The Bluebird Lady” MacNeil advocates (and gardens) for wildlife.


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From the Inside Out

Good design and careful planning filled this modest backyard space with a garden that meets the needs of adults and children.


questions

When is the best time to cut back hydrangeas? How far do I cut them back?

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?

I recently moved to Chicago from Houston and I miss fresh picked figs. Is there any way to grow figs in Chicago short of installing a greenhouse? Will sunny windows do? I’m desperate.

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