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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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Bursting Forth

Ted Nyquist’s rhododendrons light up his woodland wonderland.

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Wake Up and Smell the Science!

I’m not always the sharpest trowel in the garden bucket, but even I have noticed a recent trend in horticulture.

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The 29 Steps

One of the things I've come to notice about the horticultural racket (and I'm using the term with extreme fondness, unless I'm n

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Friends Don’t Let Friends Plant Mint

If “ignorance of the law” is no excuse, does that apply also to the laws of nature? Of physiology? Of reproduction?

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Poinsettia and Its Kin

They don’t look alike. Not even close. But kinfolk come in all shapes and sizes. True of people and true of plants.


I keep seeing photos of interesting plants I’d like to grow, but they’re labeled zone 6 and I’m in zone 5. What can I do to successfully overwinter these marginal plants? I’d like to try them, but I don’t want to waste my money.

I have lost four 12-15 foot tall white pine trees over the last year. All had the same symptoms, browning needles at the bottom that continued up to the top. Can you tell me what pest is killing the white pines? I am also losing an Austrian pine now. It is experiencing the same symptoms.

I would like to start seeds under lights. When is the best time to start flower seeds? The seed packet always says to sow a number of weeks before the last frost. When is the last frost?

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