Filling those Bare Spots, Practical Gardening

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The gardening season is well underway. It’s the time of year when bare spots show up in the garden. Not only bare spots where the bulbs and poppies use to be, but you may have an area of winter-killed perennials or maybe the transplanted seedlings you started never took. There are several ways of filling [Read More...]

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Water Wise, Practical Gardening

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The heat of summer, especially in July and August, increases the challenges of maintaining a garden. You will need to pay attention to your plants’ need for watering. If you have mulched your garden, pull it away from the plant and check the soil for dampness before you water.  Push your finger into the ground [Read More...]

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10 Fun and Easy Practical Gardening Tips

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Over the years I’ve collected a number of these tips from friends, magazines, online, or at conferences. Here are a few: Turn a wooden long-handled tool into a measuring stick. Using a permanent marker or a wood burner, write inch and foot marks on the handle. When you need to space plants a certain distance you’ll [Read More...]

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Celery Stubs, Practical Gardening Fun

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Celery is part of nearly every day in my kitchen. It gets chopped in most cooking, filled with Gorgonzola dolce or peanut butter, dipped in cheesy horseradish spread, or just snacked on with a little salt. I’ve grown celery from plants bought from a local greenhouse and never been satisfied with the results. The other [Read More...]

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Watering the Birds, Practical Gardening (with a video!)

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Water is a necessity for all life. Birds need water for drinking and preening; it helps keep a bird’s body cool from the inside and out. Water baths remove dust, loose feathers, parasites and other debris from their plumage. Adding a water feature to your garden is an important element, and one of the quickest [Read More...]

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Mulch Madness, Practical Gardening

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Applying mulch is the best time-saving measure a gardener can take. This is true for every type of garden—flower beds, vegetable gardens, hardwoods. When you mulch a garden it is healthier, has less weeds, and the mulch helps hold moisture so the garden is more drought resistant and you spend less time watering. Organic Gardening [Read More...]

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The Drama of Hydrangeas, Practical Gardening Series

It’s hard to beat the beauty of the big late-summer blooms of hydrangeas. With multiple cultivars on the market, with impressive fall leaf color and diverse bloom sets, the options for your garden are many. Hydrangeas are a sturdy shrub and most require little care but light pruning. And since hydrangeas are terminal bloomers, flowering [Read More...]

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Irises in the Garden, Practical Gardening Series

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Irises have been a favorite perennial since childhood. They began my gardening and were there when I retired from working the grounds at St. Francis Retreat Center. Over the years I have come to love the wide assortment of Iris germanica. From the earliest blooming dwarfs  to the big boys late in the season. Bearded [Read More...]

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Powdery Mildew on my Veggies?! Practical Gardening Series

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Powdery mildew is a general name for a few different species of fungi that infect several ornamental plants, such as zinnias,Monarda, lilacs, and roses. It also affects vegetables and fruits, including beans, grapes, cucumbers, beets, melons, and squash to name a few. It can affect the flavor and reduce yields of some fruits and vegetables. [Read More...]

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Zoned Out Trees, Practical Gardening Series

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As frost moves out of the ground in the northern Midwest, and mud season moves in, we eagerly wait to begin gardening. And while we wait, we plan. Looking out through windows and doors we often see open areas in our landscape. We might think that a new ornamental tree or evergreen would add visual [Read More...]

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