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When Garden Clubs Go Bad

I had the weirdest dream last night... “Okay, kids, let’s simmer down! Hey, everybody, we only have the room until 9 o’clock.


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Life without Gardening

There’s a famous New Yorker cartoon that pictures an old tire, a can, a bottle and a pencil on a flat, featureless landscape …


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Weed Watch

When I do garden talks, there are a number of questions that pop up repeatedly. For instance, “Is that your real hair?” is ...


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Failure to Communicate

“Do you have geraniums?” “Pelargonium or cranesbill?” “Sorry?” “Er, Pelargonium or cranesbill.” “No, I’m not interested ...


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A Conversation on Color

At some point in a gardener’s life, he or she will likely come across the writings and photographs of the renowned gardener ...


questions

What is the best time to plant a tree in northern Illinois?

What does it take to make a climbing hydrangea flower? Ours was planted 3 years ago and is growing energetically. It’s in a protected nook near the patio and gets very little direct sunlight, but doesn’t act sun starved. We gave it a shot of slow release fertilizer on planting, and once since. Somewhat inadvertently it gets plenty of water, since the hose spigot is nearby and leaks, but drainage does not seem to be the problem. It now fully occupies an 8-foot trellis but shows no interest in flowering. Is it youth, lack of sun, too much or too little fertilizer, bugs, lack of pruning or what? When do these plants bloom and what conditions do they like?

My split-leaf Japanese maple tree is 15 to 20 years old, about 7 feet high and about 10 feet wide. It is overtaking the corner of the yard. Can I trim it, and at what time of the year?

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