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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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Departments
From the Editor - SeptOct 2015

One fine morning this summer I looked out the second-floor window of my study and discovered a 1-foot tall tomato plant ...


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Columns
The Dirt on … Oh Never Mind

By the time you get to this page (that is to say, if you’ve read all or most of this magazine), your brain is so crammed with …


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Columns
The Numbers Game

I was reading a gardening book the other day (yes, I occasionally do research – don’t start on me this early in the column …


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Columns
Prune This!

My computer is trying to tell me something. About gardening, no less. That can’t be good. It’s not like pruners are some ...


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Features
Irresistible Roses

When it comes to roses, some of us just can’t say no. Here’s the true confession of one local gardener.


questions

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.

I brought a frangipani (Plumeria) back from Hawaii last April when it was just a leafless branch. It sprouted leaves and grew over summer. Now it is losing its leaves. How can I keep it growing over winter? Will it bloom?

I’m moving to a townhouse with limited direct sunlight. I would like to put a Japanese maple in a north-facing garden but don’t know if it will do well. What are the best kinds? Also, when is the best time to plant a small tree?

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