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4/22/2015
There is only one thing causing the size difference between these two clematis. Can you see what it is? Answer: The compost bin. The thriving plant was lucky enough to have my compost bin placed near it, so it has been reaping the benefits of nutrients seeping from the compost pile every day of its life. The other one gets just water out of a hose. Compost can help your... More
4/17/2015
My mom loved the the flourish of blooms that herald spring. Every year, the minute her magnolia bush flowered, I got a call. She would ooh and aah over the sculptural soft pink flowers and sweet scent. But I don’t think she ever cut a branch to take inside and enjoy. Pity. Don’t overlook the blooming branches in your yard. A few simple cuttings bring the color... More
4/15/2015
In the early 1900s, the definition of thrill ride was a 25-foot-tall roller coaster that reached the breakneck speed of 10 mph. Cedar Point had the thrill-seekers covered, but the park also had the priceless benefit of its location along Lake Erie. When Hugh and Helen Sullivan first visited the Sandusky, Ohio, park around 1918, they joined the throngs lounging on the... More
4/8/2015
I love adding pops of spring in my home. This year I wanted to create a happy spring arrangement to welcome both our guests and the new season. I decided to do a hanging basket instead of a traditional wreath to change things up. This project was truly so simple, and it would evenbe fun to do with little ones. Here is what you’ll need: Supplies - Four faux pussy willow... More
4/3/2015
Looking for a fuss-free perennial that’s attractive, dependable, deer-resistant, multiseasonal and extremely long-lived? Meet baptisia—a prairie native whose beautiful spires are reminiscent of the beloved lupine, minus the maintenance. Baptisia (also called false indigo) provides showy 10- to 12-inch spikes of pealike blossoms in late spring and early summer followed by 2- to 3-inch... More
4/1/2015
From wintry scenes to the northern lights and the bright green of the Chicago River on St. Patrick’s Day weekend, our Instagram photographers captured the many moods of March. The five most-liked photos of the month: 1) The Chicago River goes green for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Fun shot by @thefirstroel (https://instagram.com/p/0P7Js0Gza8/). 2) @aud5rey captures the... More
3/25/2015
Summer squash growers, has this happened to you? One week you’re admiring a clump of sturdy green vines sprinkled with blossoms. The next week you’re looking at a heap of yellowing, wilted leaves. Squash seeds are easy to start directly in our Midwestern soils as soon as the danger of frost has passed. The problem is that by early to mid-July it’s all over for the typical... More
3/20/2015
Spring starts today, and spring blooms—frilly daffodils, dainty bleeding-hearts and statement tulips—will soon follow. Though these harbingers of the season look beautiful in the landscape, I like to snip a few from my yard to arrange in tiny vessels like teacups or drinking glasses. Try these flower display ideas inside or outside your home. They're great for Easter dinner, a... More
3/2/2015
In February, our Instagram photographers delighted in the contrasts of winter: red barns against snow, bare trees silhouetted against bright blue skies, brilliant sunsets and sunrises. The five most-liked photos of the month: #1: A rural winter wonderland near Knoxville, Iowa, by @iowablessed (https://instagram.com/p/y18RbZGzR0/). #2:  "Fiery sunset" in northwest Indiana... More
2/25/2015
Dear Spring, Although I've had a good time with winter, I'm ready to say good-bye (he's been a bit blustery and cold). I'm looking forward to greeting you ... it's been way too long. When you arrive, could you please bring: 1. Flowers 2. Electric green   3. Rain 4. Songbirds 5. Flowers 6. Farm-fresh produce 7. Tree... More