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Article ThumbBringing in the Bees

I pay close attention to the plants in my garden that attract a lot of bees. I don’t know the names of all the bees in my yard, but I do know that bees hatch with the first crocus and no longer has the first species crocus opened than I see a bee hovering over it. That happens as early as late March and April.

It’s not until May that I start to see quantities of bees, and this time they’re buzzing around the catmint. I have three Nepeta ‘Blue Wonder’ and one N. ‘Six Hills Giant’. I would say that Blue Wonder is the bigger draw and it pulls in the bees all summer long. Cutting it back mid-summer encourages more bloom.

Article ThumbHow 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. Worse yet, it is our State Insect! But guess what! We can all help increase monarch numbers by finding butterfly eggs and raising caterpillars and releasing newly hatched butterflies. What??? Yes, YOU!!

To Attract and Find Monarch Eggs and Caterpillars: You’ll need milkweed plants, the only plants monarchs lay their 200 plus eggs on. Go to a garden center. You know you have milkweed when you rip off a plant leaf and it has white sap. Buy any kind of milkweed. Monarch caterpillars love them all equally. Remember common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is the invasive one that travels by runners.


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Let It Rain

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

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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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Mid-Season Classic

Are we all met? Good. Have a seat, everybody. Down in front, please. [Mumble, mumble, rutabaga, watermelon, and other crop ...

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Follow the Bouncing Gall

There are two kinds of bets going on among my readers. The first is whether I will follow the tried, true and now fairly ...

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Plant Identification Flow Chart

A comical plant identification flow chart from our columnist, Mike Nowak.


I am sick of slugs. Perhaps if I knew their life cycle I could get rid of them. Where do they go over winter? Where do they come from? What is the best way to get rid of them?

I keep seeing photos of interesting plants I’d like to grow, but they’re labeled zone 6 and I’m in zone 5. What can I do to successfully overwinter these marginal plants? I’d like to try them, but I don’t want to waste my money.

Late last year most of the leaves on my year-old seven-son tree (Heptacodium) turned brown, starting at the tips. It had some new growth on the tips and buds. I used a tree ring soaker hose every two weeks.

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