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Article ThumbBon Voyage

Fall is upon us but there’s no reason to put your garden to bed just yet. That’s because the show goes on with birds, thousands of which are migrating and stopping daily in local gardens for a bite to eat or a drink of water. And the activity doesn’t stop there. Monarch butterflies will be looking for nectar – a rich source of energy during their long commute to Mexico. Bees remain active and there’s an assortment of insects – praying mantis and other “beneficials” – that are present until the first fall frost about mid-October. There’s plenty to observe and enjoy.


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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It’s Spring, Already

Where does the time go? Seems like nano-seconds since I gave up on my overgrown, drought and heat-ravaged mess of a garden ...


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Rex Begonia: Garden Detective

Something was wrong. I could sense it. How? That’s my job. My name is Begonia. Rex Begonia. I’m a detective. A garden ...


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Blog
Another Good Garden Book for Winter

Does your garden wear the “layered look?” “Garden layers are made up of a variety of plants, some with complementary or ...


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Garden Tool Maintenance

In the garden, everything has its season. Fall is the season for cleaning and preparing tools for ...


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From the Editor - NovDec 2018

I’ve been thinking about the difference between renovating the kitchen and gardening...


questions

I am going to be planting five dwarf fruit trees; two ‘Bartlett’ pears, one ‘Cresthaven’ peach, and two ‘Honeycrisp’ apples. Could you give me some feedback on them?

What is the green worm that eats my roses and columbine every year?

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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