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Article ThumbMoss: Rescuing Its Reputation

I’m pretty sure that in the pre-Google era most everyone who spoke of or asked about moss was trying to get rid of it. Even now googling “moss in the garden” produces five “how to kill” results before the first “how to grow.” But I recently attended a lecture at the Chicago Botanic Garden given by Dale Sievert, whose passion for and expertise about mosses made me question how anyone could contemplate mayhem against such a beautiful, ancient and eco-friendly organism. Since mosses have slowly, over the past few years, begun to colonize the damper, shadier parts of my tiny urban forest (i.e. my front yard), I was happy to be urged to encourage the process rather than fight it.


Article ThumbSuburban Subdivision Triumph

Who says that gardening on a former cornfield is doomed to fail? Certainly not Laverne and Pete Bohlin, whose garden is a happy mix of prairie, vegetables and flowers.


Article ThumbWeird & Wonderful Spring Bulbs

It’s like the emperor with no clothes. The crown imperial stands 3 to 4 feet tall, its Sun King-bright flowers lording it over the spring garden with the hauteur of Louis XIV, utterly unaware that its dignity is fatally undercut by the absurdity of its green bad-hair-day topknot.

Not every spring bulb has the classic sculptured grace of a lily-flowered tulip. Yet many bulbs beyond the ordinary have charms that can grow on a gardener, adding variety and interest where tulips, daffodils and crocuses may seem old hat.


Article ThumbTrialed by Jury

The experts looked at the evidence and gave these new plants a thumbs up. You will too. Here are our favorite new plants for 2015.


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Departments
From the Editor - NovDec 2017

In the world of fashion, styles change rapidly. All of a sudden this summer, women started walking down the street with their …


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Blog
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 ...


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Blog
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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Features
Poinsettia and Its Kin

They don’t look alike. Not even close. But kinfolk come in all shapes and sizes. True of people and true of plants.


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Columns
Mike’s ‘Bottom of the Barrel’ Xmas Xtravaganza

If you could only see your face right now (take a selfie and after you wallow in the horror of your expression, send me a copy).


questions

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.

I’d like to start composting. Do you have any advice on what kind of bin to purchase/build so that it is successful in the Chicago climate?

I’d like to plant a white bark birch in front of my home in my sunny front yard. What can you tell me about Betula utilis var. Jacquemontii?

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