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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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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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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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Gardening for Your Taste Buds

In a few weeks, we can start planting tomatoes and peppers as well as sowing seeds of squash, eggplant, beans and other ...


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10 Years After

I’m not sure whether I should be celebrating or apologizing. Let me explain. The 700 or so words on this page mark my tenth ...


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Tough Questions for the Pros

Here we are again, folks, recovering from yet another catastrophic (pick one or more): Election. New Year’s Eve celebration …


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What does it take to make a climbing hydrangea flower? Ours was planted 3 years ago and is growing energetically. It’s in a protected nook near the patio and gets very little direct sunlight, but doesn’t act sun starved. We gave it a shot of slow release fertilizer on planting, and once since. Somewhat inadvertently it gets plenty of water, since the hose spigot is nearby and leaks, but drainage does not seem to be the problem. It now fully occupies an 8-foot trellis but shows no interest in flowering. Is it youth, lack of sun, too much or too little fertilizer, bugs, lack of pruning or what? When do these plants bloom and what conditions do they like?

My lilac had a grayish blight on the leaves this summer. What caused this and how can I prevent it?

We have a skylight in the bathroom over our Jacuzzi tub with an area around the tub that is quite large. What plants can we grow there, and what care do they need? Can we grow orchids?

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