Blog

Posted by & filed under Heirloom plants, Heirloom plants & biodiversity, Open-pollinated plants, Uncategorized

By Sandra Nelson         My grandmother was famous in our neighborhood for her rambunctiously beautiful flower gardens. To my knowledge, she never purchased a commercially produced seed or plant. Instead, each fall she carefully collected and saved seeds from her favorite flowers, dug summer bulbs and took some cuttings to grow on …

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Posted by & filed under Bees, Butterfly Gardens, Deer Resistant Plants, Full sun, Rain Garden Plants, Uncategorized

By Sandra Nelson   This week’s pick is by Philip Grubb, Horticulturist   Virginia Sweetspire     Graceful in the spring, fragrant in the summer, striking in the fall and structural in the winter, this native deciduous shrub is truly an all-season plant. Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica) is easily grown in moist, well-drained soil, making …

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Posted by & filed under Bees, Beneficial insects, Causes of Insect Decline, Insects, Predatory Insects, Spring clean-up, Uncategorized

 By Sandra Nelson   We had a quick taste of spring this past weekend.    It was warm and sunny and people in our neighborhood were out in full force taking advantage of the beautiful days to begin their spring yard clean-up. Leaves were raked and bagged, perennials chopped back to the ground, trees were …

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Posted by & filed under Bees, Boomerang Lilac, Borders, Butterfly Gardens, Container Gardening, Deer Resistant Plants, Fragrance Garden, Full sun, Uncategorized

    This week’s pick is by Art Hayzlett, Irrigation Service Manager   Bloomerang Lilac       If you’re longing for the sweet scent of lilacs all summer long, then the reblooming Bloomerang Lilac could be the answer. At only 4 feet tall, this easy to grow variety is suitable for foundation plantings, hedges, …

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Posted by & filed under American bittersweet, Arboretums, Health & Wellness, Stress management, Uncategorized

By Sandra Nelson   This article was originally published December 2018.   I have been feeling incredibly stressed lately.  Unfortunately, when I am stressed, I just shut down which, of course, increases my stress level and renders me virtually useless. My “To Do” list gets longer and my “Done” list stays blank.The only way I …

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Posted by & filed under Clay Soil, Fragrance Garden, Full sun, Rain Garden Plants, Rain Gardens, Sweetbay Magnolia, Uncategorized

By Sandra Nelson     This week’s pick is by Karl Hying, Landscape Designer   Sweetbay Magnolia   “The Sweetbay Magnolia, with its wonderful fragrance, blooms late May into June, long after other magnolias are done.”     Elegant is the word of choice to describe this fragrant beauty. A striking alternative for a unique …

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Posted by & filed under Adaptive Gardening, Health & Wellness, Nature and Stress Reduction, Uncategorized, Wellness Gardens

By Sandra Nelson   While wandering around the Chicago Botanic Garden last summer, I stumbled upon (no pun intended) an area dedicated to Accessible Gardening  — gardening for people with special needs or physical limitations.  Feeling my aches and pains more and more every day, the prospect of discovering ways to make strenuous gardening tasks …

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Posted by & filed under Birds, Full sun, Ornamental millet, Uncategorized

By Sandra Nelson This week’s pick is by Sandra Nelson,  Blog Writer   Ornamental Millet   “The vibrant color and  strong structure are hard to beat, but watching dozens of goldfinches vying to devour the seed heads in the fall is enchanting.”           What began as one of the world’s oldest …

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Posted by & filed under Arboretums, Botanical Gardens, Conservatories, Horticultural education, Uncategorized

By Sandra Nelson   I am over it!  Six inches Wednesday and another inch or two tonight. Grey skies and more snow expected tomorrow. The trees are drooping under the weight of the snow and my early spring bulbs that were beginning to peek through the ground are once again covered over. I need a …

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Posted by & filed under Cactus, Uncategorized

By Sandra Nelson   As unlikely as it seems, you can grow cacti outdoors in the Midwest  — as long as you recognize the fact that cacti have some particular requirements that must be met.      Cacti need excellent drainage. Heavy soils, like our typical midwestern clay soils, hold water which causes root rot …

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