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Article ThumbBasement Bounty

Decisions, decisions. What’s a devoted gardener to do with brugmansia as winter approaches?

For opulence and tropical splendor there’s nothing like angel’s trumpet (Brugmansia). Tall, elegant, with draping fragrant bells of bloom, it can dominate a patio, balcony or an entry way like little else.

But here’s the rub. It’s not hardy in Chicagoland. So this raises the sticky issue of overwintering. Should you just toss the plant when winter comes? Some do. Others would like to save it for another year. But how?


Article ThumbBeyond Violet

African violets are pushing the envelope when it comes to colors and flower forms. Ruffles, anyone?

When I was a child, I was totally mesmerized by the intense colors of the African violets that seemed to bloom continuously on my grandmother’s windowsills. I would stare in wonder at those jewel-colored blooms surrounded by collars of fuzzy leaves, fully convinced that only experienced gardeners of my grandmother’s reputation could get plants to bloom so gloriously indoors.


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Columns
Reflections in the Bleak Mid-Something

This period of the gardening year used to be called “the bleak midwinter.” That song would long ago have been changed to ...


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Features
Weird & Wonderful Spring Bulbs

Whether they emerge wearing crowns, sparkling like fireworks or modestly hanging their heads, these bulbs introduce surefire ...


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Spotlights
Sunny Disposition, Shady Needs

It is always a topic of conversation: What plants work well in sun or in shade? Or both?


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Blog
Go to the Flower Show!

The Chicago Flower & Garden Show opened this past Saturday at Navy Pier and I’m here to report that it’s worth the price of ...


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Columns
Mike’s 3rd Annual Holiday Hort Sing-Along

Don’t you just hate it when columnists fall into that trap of using the same old formulas year after year after year? Yeah ...


questions

When is the best time to cut back hydrangeas? How far do I cut them back?

Is it possible to plant and grow Italian cypress in the Chicago area? Are our winters too severe for it? If they are, is there an alternative conifer that will provide a similar look?

We moved into a house with a lovely azalea that didn’t bloom. We thought it might have been over-pruned. Last fall we did not prune it and now it still hasn’t bloomed. I was hoping to transplant it this year, but it looks rather sickly. Shall we prune it again and give it another year? Can I still transplant it?

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