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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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Gardening for Your Taste Buds

In a few weeks, we can start planting tomatoes and peppers as well as sowing seeds of squash, eggplant, beans and other ...

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Another Good Garden Book for Winter

Does your garden wear the “layered look?” “Garden layers are made up of a variety of plants, some with complementary or ...

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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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Birds and Beans

All the snow we’ve had recently brought many more birds to the feeders outside our kitchen window. A lone starling was ...

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From the Editor

For me, one moment above all others elicits that life-is-good feeling: the germination of the first tomato seed on my radiator.


Our Russian sage (Perovskia) is full and bountiful but will not stay upright. Is there anything we can do? Is there a way to split some off when it has outgrown its space? Should it be trimmed back in fall or spring?

With all the emphasis on growing fresh vegetables, I think I should use a cold frame but I am not sure what to do or how to go about it. Any ideas?

I recently moved to Chicago from Houston and I miss fresh picked figs. Is there any way to grow figs in Chicago short of installing a greenhouse? Will sunny windows do? I’m desperate.

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