It's that time again - We've spotted those pesky Japanese beetles. Beginning as grubs, then pupae and now emerging from our lawns as Japanese beetles, this invasive pest is characterized by its coppery metallic wing case, black legs and little white spots. It has been around since at least 1916 and it feeds on more than 300 kinds of plants. You will typically find the beetles on roses, grapes, hibiscus, lindens, cherries and birches. Japanese beetles tend to skeletonize leaves, leaving the mid-ribs. How do you combat this pest?
Posted on 7/30/2015 at 3:06:00 AM
The herbs on our shelves are just beautiful, in full fragrance, flavor and fresh from our greenhouses. With such variety available, we are frequently asked, “What herbs should I start with in my herb garden?” We like to ask "What kinds of herbs do you like to eat?" It's always a good idea to plant what you like best. Parsley, Basil, Dill, Sage, Rosemary, Lavender, Thyme and Oregano are all excellent for beginners. As an added bonus they are on sale this week for 30% off! Kyle, Perennial Manager, says it is the perfect time to plant English Thyme, Sage, ‘Extrakta’, Parsley, and Basil together. Sage ‘Extrakta’ is an improved variety of the common or culinary sage due to richer essential oils. And English...Read more
Posted on 7/23/2015 at 7:34:00 AM
Thanks to all our recent rain, big and beautiful are the only words to describe the blooms on Shasta Daisies this year. Shasta Daisies (latin name: Leucanthemum superbum) are a classic mid-summer flower that will give you many blooms to enjoy throughout June, July and even into August when you deadhead spent blooms.
Posted on 7/16/2015 at 8:28:00 AM
Did you know that one hummingbird will visit an average of 1000 flowers per day for nectar? That’s incredible! These visitors delightfully flit around our gardens arriving each spring as they migrate. Fun fact: The Rufous Hummingbird travels the farthest north of any other starting in Mexico and traveling all the way to Alaska. In Chicagoland we typically see the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird and they also migrate the long distance from Mexico to our neck of the w
Because of their high metabolism, these jewel-like birds need to eat almost constantly. They can eat a half to 8 times their body weight in one day! Using their narrow beaks and grooved tongue they lap up nectar. Occasionally they will dine on insects, so be careful of your pesticide use.
Posted on 7/9/2015 at 12:10:00 PM
What a rainy June we had. Hopefully things will start to dry out soon. Until then, we’ve gathered some answers to the questions we’ve been hearing lately.
Things That Look Worse Than They Are
Mushrooms—Don’t fret, the mushrooms you’ve seen sprouting in your mulch or other damp places are not harmful to your plants. If you can’t bear to look at them, you can dig them out but give them a wide berth to make sure that you don’t disturb them too much. You want to be careful to not spread their spores. Place them in a bag and put them in your trash. You don’t want to put these in your compost pile.
Lichen—perfectly normal on trees and shrubs and won’t hurt them.
Yellowing leaves on trees and shrubs—Since this spring was so cool, many plants like birches, serviceberries, and even viburnum shot up a lot of new growth. Now that it’s getting warmer you might see some of their leaves turn yellow and fall off. It’s okay.
Watch for Black Spot or Powdery Mildew. You can combat these with Espoma Earth-tone 3-N-1. It’s also important to water from the bottom (if they need water) to avoid getting moisture on their leaves.
We’ve also seen a lot of rose leaves being eaten by a little worm. By the time you spot the damage they cause, they’ve already moved on. Thankfully, the damage is just aesthetic. If you see them in action you can spray Espoma Earth-tone 3-N-1 or Espoma Earth-tone Insect Control but if you only see the damage they’ve left behind, spraying will not help.
Make sure you have proper drainage. If you’ve lost any plants due to the wet conditions, now is the time to replace them with some bright, colorful annuals or some perennials with great foliage that will take your containers into the fall.
Hostas are a perfect snack for slugs. We carry Espoma Earth-tone Slug and Snail Control. It’s labelled for organic gardening and safe around pets and wildlife. Another method is to wet some newspaper and loosely roll it up. The slugs will crawl in and you can...Read more
Posted on 7/2/2015 at 10:20:00 AM
Who has some hungry bunnies in their yard? This year has been an exceptional year for those cute little bundles of fur that can do some serious damage in your garden. You can tell if a rabbit has been munching on your plants because they leave sharp clean 45 degree angle cuts near the ground, usually on the tender new growth. We’ve put together a list of some perennials and annuals that are considered rabbit resistant. As a general guideline, most rabbits avoid plants with a fuzzy or coarse texture or plants with a strong taste or smell. One big giant caveat—Rabbit resistant doesn’t mean that bunnies won’t try a nibble or two or three. The young are testing out their tastebuds and they are willing to try anything!
Posted on 6/25/2015 at 11:00:00 AM
More and more people are creating outdoor rooms to enjoy their yards. Adding a piece of garden art or a decorative container can create a focal point, add the finishing touch, or just delight the eye. Over the course of the growing season the garden changes dramatically. From the fading of spring bulbs to the end of daylily season, holes develop in various places in your garden. These holes can be downplayed, disguised or complemented easily with the addition of a piece of ‘garden art’. Garden art can be anything from a handcrafted sculpture or a gazing ball to a trellis or an interesting collectable piece. Even a mirror can add depth and brightness to a dark corner.
Let your creative juices flow. Why not disguise those fading bulbs with a temporarily placed bench? It can later be moved to complement a summer blossoming perennial or hide an empty spot left after flowers have been cut back for the season. Gazing balls, brightly colored toadstools, a pedestal holding a special item could also fill those spaces. The choices are endless. Place a piece with complementary colors near a plant in full bloom to add even more sparkle to its display.
Posted on 6/18/2015 at 9:07:00 AM
We’ve had some glorious days filled with flowers. Now the goal is to keep them looking their best. A little snip here and there goes a long way. I like to step outside in the morning with my cup of coffee and a scissors or pruners. For some perennials it means cutting back the spent flowers to an intersection on the stem near the mass of leaves and waiting for next year’s blooms. For other perennials, cutting back encourages a second bloom. While for others, like Calamintha and Penstemon, leaving them alone is best. The seed pods will look nice and often feed the birds.
We call the process of removing spent flowers, dead-heading. A few of the perennials that will re-bloom after dead-heading are Daisies, Delphinium, Coral Bells, Salvia, Nepeta and some Daylilies.
Posted on 6/11/2015 at 11:00:00 AM
Miniature gardens are more popular than ever. We like to think it’s because it brings the generations together and adds a little magic to your home. Mini gardening is a great way to introduce children to gardening and inspire them to explore the outdoor world. They can be as elaborate or as small as you want them to be. There’s no limit to what you can do!
1. Tuck a mini gnome settlement into a shady corner of your garden.
2. Turn an old tree stump into a fairy hideaway
3. Add a mini accent to a terrarium
4. Have a beach party in a succulent dish garden
5. Create a mini farm in an old wagon
6. Make a woodland mini path
7. Pack a bag—Use a suitcase as a mini container
8. Keep in simple, accent a container with a few mi...Read more
Posted on 6/4/2015 at 12:17:00 PM
Herbs are such versatile plants. They can be used in foods and teas or as part of your landscape. The Growing Place has over 100 varieties to choose from. They can be grown in containers or in the ground. When harvested they can be used dried or used fresh. There are hundreds of ways and reasons to grow herbs—even the insect world uses herbs. Many butterfly species use herbs as host plants for their caterpillars. This spring we’ve already spotted some Eastern Black Swallowtails and Painted Ladies.
Posted on 5/28/2015 at 11:22:00 AM