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Chicagoland Gardening has been educating, inspiring and entertaining gardeners throughout Zone 5 in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan for 20 years!

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Mike’s Never-Ending Holiday Hort Sing-Along

There’s Nothing Like Loam for the Gardener (Sung to “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays”) Oh, there’s nothing like ...

Scent and Non-Scents

"Stand back! I’m about to have a Proustian moment. Wait...wait. Whew! It went away. For a second I thought I was going to ...

The Dog Dayz

Gardeners perplex me. Actually, I’m perplexed by many things, including gravity and spumoni ice cream and why most Americans ...

Defensive Design

Defensive Design A funny thing happened to me on the way to writing one of my columns last year. I decided to draw ...

Critter Control

I had just finished an environmental talk to a local gardening group. It was the usual advice. Don’t do an oil change on ...


I want to raise the level of my lawn as much as 2 feet in places. I now have a large quantity of somewhat composted wood chips and I am wondering if I can use them as fill to raise the ground level and provide a good soil in which to sow a lawn.

What ratio and amounts of fertilizer would you use for a perennial bed and a vegetable garden? For growing annuals in a greenhouse, should the fertilizer be fast or slow-release, organic or inorganic?

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?