In the Shadow of Birds

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I did not see the migrating birds as they flew past, nor did I hear their calls. What I did see was fifty, maybe a hundred, small darting shadows cross over the lawn and my arms. Suddenly I felt heavy in the shadow of birds and my heart longed for home. Where I live is [Read More...]

Tuesday’s Prayer for Sisters and Nuns

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Gentle Mother, Queen of Heaven, hear our prayers for our Sisters and Nuns. That in communion with you and all the saints, the least of their acts done in charity will rebound to the profit of all. Encourage and guide them in all that they do, and protect their souls locked in human frailness. We ask all [Read More...]

Mouse in the House

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It’s turning cold outside, and with it comes that scratching sound that distracts me from my prayers. They’re running up the chimney wall and across the ceiling. With any luck the rodents will run under the bathroom sink and into the cheese-filled trap. I’m conflicted. I really hate having to kill mice. They are funny [Read More...]

Graces from Gleditsia

Honey Locust

It was one of those perfect fall days when the clear cerulean sky contrasted the vivid reds and yellows of the maples, poplars, and the honey locust in my yard. Settling into this house in 1988 one of the first things I did on the property, after removing all the trash and debris, was add [Read More...]

Fall Blooming Pansies, Practical Gardening

Purple Pansy, wikimedia

In the Midwest, we’re all pretty familiar with fall mums, Russian sage, and flowering kale as the main staples of the late-season garden. These plants are tolerant of cold nights and less sunlight. But why not add pansies to your selection? Until recently the general public was unaware that the pansy is not heat tolerant, [Read More...]

Forcing Bulbs for Preseason Color, Practical Gardening

Image from, and for additional information, visit Our Best Bites, http://www.ourbestbites.com/2012/03/how-to-force-bulbs-indoors/

When I plant containers of bulbs in the fall, I am thinking about the color they will bring indoors during late winter days or as outdoor focal points early next spring. To force a bulb means that you are manipulating its environment so that it will bloom out of season. Before spring flowering bulbs can [Read More...]

Big Difference in Naturalizing and Perennializing Bulbs, Practical Gardening

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Well, autumn is upon us and it’s nearly time for planting spring bulbs. Let’s start this column with definitions that will help you get a handle on nomenclature: True bulbs contain their leaves and flowering parts inside. These include tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths. Corms carry their leaf parts on the outside to support interior bud [Read More...]

Storing Tender Bulbs, Practical Gardening

Photography from http://www.flickr.com/photos/nilliske/3510306101/

Each year I would plant a few tender bulbs for their summer blooms or dramatic leaves. They are a wonderful addition to the home garden. The term tender bulb refers to bulbs, corms, tubers, and rhizomes that will be winter killed by our Zone 5 winters. These tender bulbs need to be removed from the [Read More...]

The Drama of Hydrangeas, Practical Gardening Series

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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...]

Fall Mums in Spring, Practical Gardening Series

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Mentioning hardy mums in the spring may seem like an oxymoron. Let me explain. For years as a garden consultant I’ve heard homeowners say what bad luck they’ve had growing perennial chrysanthemums. They plant the big cushy mums every fall and rarely find that they survived the winter. Tired of failing they stop planting them [Read More...]


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