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Article ThumbFive Hundred Years and Counting

The age of exploration isn’t over. The hunt continues for new and better plants continues.

Ever wonder where the plants at garden centers come from? Even the typical nursery features a depth of products resembling a virtual League of Nations. In addition to the plants native to North America, many originated in Asia, Europe and even Africa. How they got here is a very long story that dates back to the days of pharaohs, kings and queens who directed explorers to bring plants back from distant continents. They sought new varieties that ranged from purely ornamental to edible to medicinal.


Article ThumbHometown Honeys

You may have been told that bees are beneficial and that they pollinate a lot of agricultural crops. Most of the time when people talk about bees, they are talking about foreign honeybees, which were brought to North America by Europeans in the 17th century.

Honeybees are fine, but many bees that we see and call honeybees are actually native bees or flies that look like bees.

There are many other bee species native to Illinois, the Midwest and North America. While they aren’t often discussed, they do a lot of pollinating.


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Features
Butterfly Heaven

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


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It’s Spring, Already

Where does the time go? Seems like nano-seconds since I gave up on my overgrown, drought and heat-ravaged mess of a garden ...


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’Twas the Night Before Solstice

‘Twas the night before solstice, and all through the yard Not a species was stirring, not hosta, nor chard …


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Naming Rights

Brace yourself. I’m going to smack you across the kisser with a cold, wet herring of truth: Gardening ain’t easy.


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Spotlights
Treasures of the Woodlands

Tulips come from Turkey, but woodland wildflowers come from Chicagoland. Why not have someof both in your springtime garden?


questions

What trends do you see in container plantings, such as type of pot, materials, sun or shade, foliage or flowers.

Is there an overall rule about when to pinch back my leggy plants?

I have two 3-year-old rose of Sharon plants, about 20 feet apart. One blooms every year. The other plant forms about 100 buds and looks healthy, but it has not bloomed in the last two years. The buds are solidly closed and look as if they are rotting from the inside out. There does not seem to be any sign of insects on the plant. What is this problem?

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