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Article ThumbA Bit about Bees

For Denise Johnston, it started at the county fair. As a child, she’d make a “beeline” to the hive observation frame in the agriculture building, where she would become mesmerized by the bees’ activity. Then, about ten years ago, she met Bob Engle, the man behind the hives, at an antique tractor show.

He asked if she was interested in a class he was teaching. Johnston signed on to a series of five 3-hour classes detailing how to start your own hives. After attending all 15 hours, she ordered her first batch of bees. Now Johnston is secretary/treasurer/newsletter editor of the Northwest Indiana Beekeepers Association, sells her own honey and teaches classes. (nwibeekeepers.com)


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?


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Smell This

How many times have you thrust your nose into a bouquet or a flower and come up empty? Or worse yet, been knocked back by …


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Plant Identification Flow Chart

A comical plant identification flow chart from our columnist, Mike Nowak.


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Somewhere Below the Soil Line

“Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...gnxx! Huh?” “Move over. You’re taking up all the root space.” “No need to stick a rhizome in my ...


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Coneflower Conundrum

Purple coneflowers (Echinacea) have been a staple in my garden for 25 years. I’ve grown them from seed, purchased them in ...


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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

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?

Can you tell me if the African daisy Osteospermum ‘Springstar Aurora’ can be winterized here? It is a healthy plant?

Would it help to apply a starter fertilizer on a poor green lawn in December? Will it give it a head start for spring? It hasn’t been reseeded.

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