Winter Warmth Woes for Plants

Winter Warmth Woes for Plants

February 24, 2017

While 65 degree winter temperatures in Chicago, day in, day out, are cause for jogger jubilation this weather is not doing most of our plants any favors. Our perennials, bulbs, shrubs and trees are being set up for a potential world of hurt. A notable exception is the lovely, naturally early-blooming witchhazel pictured above.

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Mid-Winter Houseplant Blahs

Mid-Winter Houseplant Blahs

February 10, 2017

We're finally on the "backside" of winter. For those of us not winging off to a tropical island between now and spring that's an important psychological milestone, just as it is for our houseplants. Even the word "houseplant" sounds winter-weary and less than exciting - kind of like "leftovers". 

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Spring Garden Itch

Spring Garden Itch

January 26, 2017

Mid-winter is about the time most gardeners start getting "spring itch". For nonsufferers, it should be noted this is not a dermatological condition requiring an office visit, nor is it likely to be contagious. It's simply a longing to be back in the garden knowing full well that any activity...

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2017 Landscape Resolutions

2017 Landscape Resolutions

January 13, 2017

In a recent survey the number one resolution for the year wasn't dieting, but to be a better person. Truly admirable. Why not consider some resolutions to make your landscape better in 2017, too? The Hortiholic will happily share a few suggestions.

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Winter Garden Exhibitionists

Winter Garden Exhibitionists

December 29, 2016

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(Paperwhite) Bulbs and Booze

(Paperwhite) Bulbs and Booze

December 08, 2016

Forcing paperwhite narcissus is a holiday tradition for many families. They're easy, inexpensive, quick to grow and flower once potted, and bear a distinctive fragrance. They don't even have to be potted in soil to perform. The fact of the matter is most people "pot" them in shallow bowls with gravel, decorative stones or even marbles rather than soil. So, what could go wrong?

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Holidays Without Decorating Disasters

Holidays Without Decorating Disasters

November 20, 2016

Holidays are supposed to be enjoyable. But everyone, every family, has their personal tale of decorating gone terribly wrong. These (mis)adventures often make for side-splitting merriment when retold years later around the holiday table, disaster participants excluded. Haha. Perhaps a holiday catastrophe can be averted by considering some of these tips during advance prep.

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"Winter Wear" for Your Mophead Hydrangea

"Winter Wear" for Your Mophead Hydrangea

November 04, 2016 1 Comment

I just hosted my annual "Getting the Garden Ready for Winter" class at Chalet. While the range of questions is always diverse the lack of success in getting the new Hydrangea macrophylla varieties to bloom seems universal. It's a valid frustration given the assurance from growers that Hydrangea 'Blahblahblah' is the second horticultural coming, and will bloom reliably on both year-old (the previous season's) and current season's growth.

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Fall Garden Punchlist

Fall Garden Punchlist

October 21, 2016

If you're a DIY gardener in the upper Midwest you can do some garden prep in early November before the real winterizing begins. It's hard to overlook the obvious, like chucking the blackened skeletons of frost-stunned annuals, emptying containers for the next color display and cutting back perennials that don't dazzle in snow. May I remind you of some more easily overlooked chores?

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Bambi-Proof Bulbs

Bambi-Proof Bulbs

October 07, 2016

It's fall and a gardener's fancy turns to thoughts of a stunning spring garden radiating color from bulbs. Increasingly many of us have to garden with one eye on that prize and the other on lookout for the next raid from White-tailed deer. If Odocoileus virginianus regularly plunders your garden consider the following spring-flowering bulbs whose flavors are decidedly unpalatable to Bambi.

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A Perennial Divided.... Fall or Spring

A Perennial Divided.... Fall or Spring

September 17, 2016

Much has been written about dividing perennials. There are many reasons for unceremoniously removing a perennial from the comfort of Earth, separating into smaller plants and replanting. Why do this at all?

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