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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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Walk this Way

Need a little inspiration or just a break from weeding? Garden walks abound this time of year, and there’s plenty to see.


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Cantigny’s Project New Leaf has been all the buzz in the gardening community. I recently had the opportunity to tour the grounds


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Garden Un-Centered

Garden Un-Centered We all have our “happy” places–where we feel at home when we’re not at home. Some people are never ...


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Dream of This

Hard to pronounce, easy to grow, Kolkwitzia Dream Catcher™ was worth waiting for.


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Mike’s Holiday Hort Sing-Along

If it weren’t for the holiday season, we probably would have legislated the month of December out of existence long ago.


questions

I’d like to start composting. Do you have any advice on what kind of bin to purchase/build so that it is successful in the Chicago climate?

I am interested in growing fruit trees in my suburban DuPage County yard. Can sweet cherries be grown here? Can you suggest varieties of apples, pears, peaches, apricots and plums that are hardy and disease resistant?

I have read that purple coneflowers (Echinacea) are a good source of food for birds in the winter. Will they be okay if not trimmed back until spring? If so, how early should they be trimmed?

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