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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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From the Editor

For me, one moment above all others elicits that life-is-good feeling: the germination of the first tomato seed on my radiator.


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Smell This

How many times have you thrust your nose into a bouquet or a flower and come up empty? Or worse yet, been knocked back by …


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Columns
The CRASH Test

Every day I receive letters (well, not every day, but every few days...actually, I occasionally receive letters ... okay, I ...


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Bon Voyage

Give your garden visitors a splendid send-off this autumn.


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From the Editor - MayJune 2016

I always feel grumpy when people refer to gardening as a hobby, and now I know why. This winter, garden columnist Allen Lacy …


questions

This past spring I planted a lacebark pine (Pinus bungeana) in full sun. As winter began, the angle of the sun’s rays has caused the tree to receive, at most, 4 hours of sun. What are sun requirements of evergreens in winter?

I have read that purple coneflowers (Echinacea) are a good source of food for birds in the winter. Will they be okay if not trimmed back until spring? If so, how early should they be trimmed?

Why do I have brown areas near the tips of my dwarf Japanese junipers? This has been occurring the last few years. They are supposed to be drought resistant”

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