The oak tree family is made up of hundreds of species. As a landscaping tree they make great shade trees, have great fall color and form the framework of your yard. This hardwood species has been a staple tree in our society for centuries. The majestic White Oak (latin name: Quercus alba) is the state tree of Illinois and was named America's National Tree in 2004. Oak trees can live well over 200 years and provide hundreds of benefits including lumber, food and shelter for wildlife. Oaks are hosts to birds, bees and over 500 species of butterflies and moths.
Most oaks have a growing range that extends north to zone 5, which makes them ideal for planting in our Midwestern yards. They are large trees so when planting them, make sure they w...Read more
Posted on 8/27/2015 at 10:47:00 AM
Now is the perfect time to plant some of the best of the best perennials!
Letting you in on a key to success here, as these plants require a good couple months to acclimate and establish themselves to survive our winters successfully.
Caryopteris is a beautiful mounding sub-shrub, nicely scented, with silvery green foliage and true blue flowers that add needed color into the late summer. ‘Dark Knight’, has deep blue flowers, ‘Snow Fairy’ has a beautiful white edging on the foliage and ‘Worcester Gold’ shows off the masses of blue flowers in contrast to its bright gold foliage.
Posted on 8/20/2015 at 11:13:00 AM
Summer 2015 has produced some of the most prolific blooms, especially on our hydrangeas! The full round blooms of the Annabelle Hydrangea are the size of softballs. The pinkish color and striking blooms shooting from the great foliage of the Quick Fire Hydrangea, have people stopping as they passed it in our gardens. Speaking of great foliage, Oakleaf Hydrangeas, are lush this year and will be just fantastic this fall, ablaze with a burgundy red color. The brilliant green glossy foliage on the Climbing Hydrangea is only surpassed by the fragrant flower clusters it produced.
Posted on 8/13/2015 at 10:09:00 AM
Last week several of us travelled to the East Coast for the annual Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium. We were so inspired while touring some of the most beautiful private and public gardens, growers and garden centers. Other staff toured the beautiful gardens at Ball Seed during their annual Field Day. Opportunities to attend workshops, learn from horticultural leaders, see new plant varieties, and network with other professionals inspire us! We saw so many wonderful things we just had to share.
How amazing is the patio cover of Linden trees! A Linden was planted in each corner of this patio and then they were trimmed and groomed to be a perfect canopy over the outdoor dining room at Millbourne Estate.
Posted on 8/6/2015 at 7:44:00 AM
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 woods.
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