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Article ThumbSmell 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 an unexpected fragrance that was surprising in such a beautiful blossom? Peony scents, for example, have been classified into five categories: rose, honey, lemon, yeasty but also bitter and medicinal.

Scent has often been sacrificed for larger, longer-lasting, more colorful blooms that dazzle on first glance and hold up on the long journey to the florist. Producing fragrance draws on the plant’s resources and takes energy, which is why fragrant plants don’t last as long in bloom as the non-fragrant varieties. The breeder may thus decide that the plant’s energy can be better spent on producing larger flowers. When it comes to roses and faced with the choice between hardiness and fragrance, commercial breeders have often chosen in favor of hardiness.

Article ThumbTrialed by Jury

The experts looked at the evidence and gave these new plants a thumbs up. You will too. Here are our favorite new plants for 2015.


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From the Editor - Jan/Feb 2015

Illinois is an agricultural state. We all know that, right? But did you also know that Illinois imports 90 percent of its food

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A Bit about Bees

Growing bee-friendly plants is one way to help increase the bee population. Another way is to actually raise bees.

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Bon Voyage

Give your garden visitors a splendid send-off this autumn.

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Designing Mini-gardens Using Potted Plants

Container gardening is so enjoyable because of its possibilities for creative expression.

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From the Editor - MayJune 2017

The day began with signs of gloom and doom. A new report from the National Wildlife Foundation said that monarch butterfly ...


I’d like to know the secret to growing a decent-sized pumpkin for jack-o-lanterns for the grandkids and for decorating. My experience in recent years is that they get about as big as a basketball and then begin to rot. What am I doing wrong?

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.

After a summer outside, my clivia has returned indoors. Last year it had only one puny flower. What treatment should I give it over winter to bring it into bloom?

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