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Article ThumbMilkweed For Monarchs

Most of you have read many statistics about the plummeting number of monarch butterflies in the United States, Canada and Mexico, their migration site. According to a January, 2014 USA Today report, “The number of monarch butterflies wintering in Mexico plunged this year to its lowest level since studies began in 1993.”

Each of us can do something to help reverse monarch numbers and assure that there will be monarchs in our future. And that is … plant milkweed … the only plant on which monarchs will lay their eggs. The lack of milkweed, the monarchs’ host plant, is an important factor in their drastically declining numbers, along with urban sprawl, extreme weather, new farming practices and illegal logging in the butterflies’ winter habitat in Mexico.


Article ThumbFlying High

If Mother Earth had a full-time assistant, it would be Kay MacNeil. For more than 25 years, the Frankfort resident has advocated and gardened for those with no voice — Eastern bluebirds, butterflies, hummingbirds and many other struggling creatures that most people take for granted.

Many of the homes in her subdivision, which surrounds the Prestwick Country Club’s golf course, sport manicured lawns and neatly trimmed shrubs. That look is a far cry from her garden, tucked away on a cul-de-sac where native wildflowers, trees and shrubs mingle with flowering vines and passalong plants from her late parents, grandmother and friends.


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How to be a Mother to a Butterfly, Yes, You!

If you are reading this article, you are probably already aware that monarch butterfly numbers in Illinois are way down.


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While Waiting for Winter

While my back was turned (okay, I was out of town), we got a little frost. I didn’t realize it until I walked around my ...


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Departments
From the Editor - NovDec 2016

The most memorable Christmas of my Chicago life was the year the temperature plummeted to 25 below zero and the pipes froze …


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Bluebirds, Daffodils and Orchids, Oh My!

The weather outside is still a tad frightful, but the sunshine and the longer daylight this past week seem to have triggered ...


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Columns
It’s Your (Gardening) Thing

I don’t know the names of all of the plants in my garden. There, I said it. I’m not bragging, mind you, nor am I apologizing.


questions

I have twelve beautiful blooming violet plants on my office desk, placed 12 inches from a light source that’s kept burning day and night. I water them from the bottom and let the water remain in the saucer.

No matter what I spray, I continue to have gnats and other insects in my soil. I also occasionally start to get yellow spots on the tips of the leaves and then the spots start going down the leaves. What’s going on here?

Now that bedding impatiens (I. walleriana) are not recommended because of impatiens downy mildew, what are three good annuals for shade?

I thought that purple coneflowers were insect proof, but now I see some aphids at the bud and tiny flies. What is wrong?

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