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Article ThumbButterfly Heaven

This South Side Chicago garden attracts an astonishing variety of butterflies thanks to the biodiversity it offers in a neighborhood of otherwise sterile green lawns.


Article ThumbHometown Honeys

You may have been told that bees are beneficial and that they pollinate a lot of agricultural crops. Most of the time when people talk about bees, they are talking about foreign honeybees, which were brought to North America by Europeans in the 17th century.

Honeybees are fine, but many bees that we see and call honeybees are actually native bees or flies that look like bees.

There are many other bee species native to Illinois, the Midwest and North America. While they aren’t often discussed, they do a lot of pollinating.


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.


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Features
Flying High

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


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Columns
The Secret Life of Bulbs

The monocotyledonous geophytes are coming! The monocotyledonous geophytes are coming! I knew that would get your attention.


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Columns
Take A Hint. Or Not.

One of the great things about being a columnist is that when you run out of ideas you can steal them from other people.


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Departments
From the Editor - JanFeb 2016

This is the time when the world waxes eloquent (or some semblance thereof) about “new beginnings.” Really? Is there such a thing


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Columns
Mike’s Holiday Hort Sing-Along

I like holiday carols. Really, I do. Honest. Don’t look at me like that. I know it’s hard to tell from the annual hit job I ...


questions

I would like to start seeds under lights. When is the best time to start flower seeds? The seed packet always says to sow a number of weeks before the last frost. When is the last frost?

With all the emphasis on growing fresh vegetables, I think I should use a cold frame but I am not sure what to do or how to go about it. Any ideas?

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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