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Tag Archives: garden

Garden Q&A: How to keep lace bugs from turning your plants yellow

My azaleas and Japanese andromeda get yellow spots. Last year some leaves turned yellow, almost white. There were so many spots! Now it’s starting again. How can I stop this disease? Your andromeda and azaleas have lace bugs, an insect that inserts its feeding tube into the leaf and sucks …

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Want the next hot houseplant? Better get to the garden center fast.

Spring is my houseplant-buying season. Buying houseplants is my way of striking back after being made the brunt of a particularly mean, ugly joke by Chicago weather. Quick confession: Spring is also my houseplant-buying season because I routinely kill houseplants in the winter (and at other times, but mostly in …

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Garden Q&A: Bradford pears should now be considered an invasive trash tree

Please explain the “curse” of the Bradford pears. Isn’t that the original species of the white blooming trees everyone thinks are wonderful every spring? We should stop planting them anymore. From wonder tree to weed in 20 years must be some kind of record. Developed as a sterile hybrid, the …

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Garden Q&A: Try these native groundcovers that will keep the deer away

What native groundcovers can you recommend for shade? I’ve removed all the English ivy and need something before erosion starts. I like evergreen ones, and I also have deer problems. Many of the following are deer resistant, if not completely deer proof. Allegheny pachysandra, for example, is a four season …

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Garden Q&A: The first star magnolia to bloom in spring

More and more I’ve noticed a small tree with fairly big white flowers that I’m guessing could be a replacement for Bradford pears. Do you know what it is? We think you’re seeing a star magnolia, the first magnolia to bloom in spring. Star magnolia blossoms are unusual, with narrow …

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Garden Q&A: Mulch volcanoes are not what nature intended

I’ve been getting teased about making mulch volcanoes. They look good to me. What’s the big deal? Mulch volcanoes, with the mulch being the volcano and the tree being a vertical column of lava, are not what nature intended. Nature mulches with leaves or needles, when she mulches at all. …

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Garden Q&A: Can lesser celandine be mulched away?

Can I mulch away lesser celandine? It’s throughout my neighbor’s lawn and now making its way into my beds. Their gardening service suggested this. Thick mulch may discourage celandine from emerging, but we find no research that shows this method is effective. Lesser celandine is a non-native invasive plant. It …

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Garden Q&A: Don’t let this perennial grass get a foothold in your lawn

What’s going on here? It’s like my lawn has chicken pox. Small patches turn light brown in winter, like zoysia grass does, and really look spotty against the normal green grass. But it’s not dead, because it turns green in the spring and blends in. More and more of my …

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A lush Ruxton garden that’s always growing

The welcoming evergreens and flowers in the front, the backyard pool enveloped in gardens, the views of the lush landscape — that’s not how the grounds looked when Bruce and Polly Behrens bought their Ruxton home in 2001. Before they renovated the three-acre landscape, the backyard was largely a tiered …

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Garden Q&A: What you should know about the yellow-stalked puffball

I found this growing out of leaf litter on the Appalachian Trail. At first glance I thought it was a spring wildflower, but obviously it’s not! I’ve spent a lot of time looking for it online but no luck. What is this? That’s a beautiful fungus you found, with red …

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