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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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Features
10 Simple Ideas to Improve Your Garden Photography

The first time I taught an adult photography class, I asked the participants to list what they hoped to gain …


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Columns
Conference Call

PRESS RELEASE: The Mike Nowak School of Really Awesome Learning and Stuff (MiNoSoRALaS) announced that in anticipation of the …


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Blog
How to be a Mother to a Butterfly, Yes, You!

If you are reading this article, you are probably already aware that monarch butterfly numbers in Illinois are way down.


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Blog
Saturday Surprise

It helps to go out and look at your garden every day. After a Saturday morning spent hacking out purple violets with the ...


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Blog
The Flavor of Autumn

Snow showers hit the area this week, but the Swiss chard that’s growing under my frost cloths and in a small unheated ...


questions

I have two 20-year-old pine trees whose needles are turning brown on the west side of the plants. On the east side I have a compost pile.

I live in the St. Charles region and my soil is mostly clay. What is causing the browning? Should I get rid of the compost? How do I correct the damage?

What are some trends in gardening you see becoming more prevalent in the next few years?

We moved into a house with a lovely azalea that didn’t bloom. We thought it might have been over-pruned. Last fall we did not prune it and now it still hasn’t bloomed. I was hoping to transplant it this year, but it looks rather sickly. Shall we prune it again and give it another year? Can I still transplant it?

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