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Article ThumbFive Hundred Years and Counting

The age of exploration isn’t over. The hunt continues for new and better plants continues.

Ever wonder where the plants at garden centers come from? Even the typical nursery features a depth of products resembling a virtual League of Nations. In addition to the plants native to North America, many originated in Asia, Europe and even Africa. How they got here is a very long story that dates back to the days of pharaohs, kings and queens who directed explorers to bring plants back from distant continents. They sought new varieties that ranged from purely ornamental to edible to medicinal.


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.


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Columns
Step Away from the Garden

Gardeners are patient people, generally. Think about it. In a world in which the cable news cycle changes every 13 minutes ...


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Tool Time

If you grow vegetables, one of the most valuable tools around is a soil thermometer. That’s because many vegetable seeds ...


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Columns
Mike’s 2nd Annual Holiday Hort Sing-Along

It's been that kind of year. I've been breaking all sorts of personal rules. I don't know what came over me when I put ...


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From the Editor - Mar/Apr2015

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning,” wrote the author of Psalms 30. Something to keep in mind as we


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Polly Want a Cracker with That Suet?

When food is scarce, our little feathered friends make a beeline for the feeders. Most of the birds wear drab colors — a ...


questions

I want to raise the level of my lawn as much as 2 feet in places. I now have a large quantity of somewhat composted wood chips and I am wondering if I can use them as fill to raise the ground level and provide a good soil in which to sow a lawn.

I purchased some pre-chilled hyacinths and tulips for forcing but there were no directions with them. Does this mean I don’t have to chill them in the refrigerator, and will they just bloom in the house any time during the winter? The last batch of bulbs became moldy in the refrigerator.

I brought a frangipani (Plumeria) back from Hawaii last April when it was just a leafless branch. It sprouted leaves and grew over summer. Now it is losing its leaves. How can I keep it growing over winter? Will it bloom?

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