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Summer-Blooming Bulbs

Last spring my sister called to say that she had found a wonderful new anemone to add to her collection in a mixed flower …


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Columns
It’s Your (Gardening) Thing

I don’t know the names of all of the plants in my garden. There, I said it. I’m not bragging, mind you, nor am I apologizing.


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Butterfly Heaven

This Chicago garden attracts an astonishing variety of butterflies thanks to the biodiversity it offers in a neighborhood.


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Bursting Forth

Ted Nyquist’s rhododendrons light up his woodland wonderland.


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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 ...


questions

I thought that purple coneflowers were insect proof, but now I see some aphids at the bud and tiny flies. What is wrong?

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?

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?

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