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Article ThumbWinter Reds

In a Chicagoland winter, we may or may not have snow. With snow, any garden can look good. Without it, we must pull out a few garden decorating tricks to provide relief from a palette of sepia and stone. Adding a splash of red here and there is a fine way of generating excitement, and when the garden gods do bless us with snow, those winter reds glow and create real garden art.


Article ThumbLet It Rain

Rain gardens are hot news, but are they pretty? Here are some examples that take the concept beyond mere buzz words.

Chicagoland Gardening Editor Carolyn Ulrich swore the magazine wouldn’t run an article about rain gardens until she’d seen a beautiful one. She stood her ground staunchly – some might say stubbornly – for years. Two years ago, on a trip to Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, Wisc., she discovered not just one, but three, lovely rain gardens. So here, at last, is the rain garden article.


Article ThumbDream of This

Yes, I know it’s a mouthful, but I love it even so. When I’m feeling tongue-tied, I can always refer to it by its common name: beautybush.

I received this shrub, Kolkwitzia Dream Catcher maybe 10 years ago as a trial plant from Spring Meadow Nursery in Grand Haven, Michigan. Actually, there were two plants, seedlings really, just a foot or so tall on a single stem. A lovely surprise since I had read about kolkwitizia but never seen it in the flesh, let alone grown it. I decided to make room for the pair under the bay window at the corner of the house, a spot where my sunny front border transitions to the semi-shady side yard.


Article ThumbIrresistible Roses

The powers that be have hit upon a wayto get me to stop talking about roses. “Write us a story,” they said, “and get it out of your system.”

It so happens that I do have quite a few roses — more than 20, I believe, although whenever I set out to do a mental count, I keep getting confused. Did I include the ‘Harison’s Yellow’ or not? And what about the Cherry Pie in the container? Oh, I think I forgot Hot Cocoa. And so I start over, and then start over again. Finally, I decide to just let it go. As I said, more than 20.

Some of these roses I bought because I dearly coveted them ...


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Columns
Behind the Curve (and losing ground)

I think I’m missing a gene. Okay, maybe two or three. This is the time of year when gardeners are told to dream, to curl up ...


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Columns
OCGD on the QT

A gardening story recently caught my attention. At which point, some of you might ask, “Hey, you’re a garden writer.


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Features
Perk Up with Pots

In our family, my sister Chris hosts Christmas and I host Easter. Among her many talents, Chris pulls out the stops when it …


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Features
Smell This

How many times have you thrust your nose into a bouquet or a flower and come up empty? Or worse yet, been knocked back by …


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Columns
Mike’s “Bargain Basement”  Holiday Hort Sing Along

People ask me why, year after inexplicable year, I continue to crank out these bizarre little lyrics for the holidays.


questions

Would it help to apply a starter fertilizer on a poor green lawn in December? Will it give it a head start for spring? It hasn’t been reseeded.

I brought my mandevilla plant into the house to overwinter. How best can I keep it? Will it flower? Can I root pieces of it?

Last summer my neighbor told me the black spots on my peony were a blight, although my peonies bloomed nicely. What can I do about this?

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