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Good Growing

Keeping you growing with good ideas
Rose/Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) emerging in my backyard

How Will the Early Arrival of Monarch Butterflies Impact Populations for 2017?

Last week, (April 20, 2017) a client brought in a sample to the Knox County Extension office. The sample was an unknown plant needing identification. Upon initial inspection, the plant was undoubtedly milkweed, likely common milkweed ( Asclepias syriaca ). However, this couldn't be. My milkweed growing in the backyard in Macomb had not yet emerged, and the sample before me stood six inch...

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Trees Do More Then Just Look Good

Posted by Kari Houle - Articles

Next Friday, April 28 th is Arbor Day. The day to celebrate trees and to plant trees. Of course in my mind I don't need a specific day to plant trees, but Arbor Day is a great way to bring awareness to the importance of trees in the environment and communities. In past articles, I've written about proper tree planting and the where to's and the how to's. This time I'm going to...

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Honey Bee1
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Dandelion: What makes this weed so great?

"Dad, come look at all the bees!" exclaimed my two young boys last weekend. We were in Quincy visiting my mother-in-law. The kids were playing outside, and they had made a tremendous discovery. Dandelions covered in bees. Dandelions ( Taraxacum officianle ) are often regarded as the bane of our lawns and gardens. Dandelion's seed dispersal and resilience to all manner of controls...

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Building a Butterfly Oasis

Posted by Kari Houle - Articles

I feel like I blinked and April came flying around the corner. The good thing is that the days are getting longer and gardening season has begun! I have so many things that I want to do in my garden right now but it's been so rainy that I'm still waiting for things to dry out a bit, so it does give me more time for garden plotting and planning. In a past article I had talked about necta...

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Are Native Plants Better Than Non-native Plants?

A question often asked when giving presentations on landscaping and sustainability "Are native plants better than non-natives?" In my garden, I avoid holding myself to an exclusive natives-only approach, and other gardeners do not have to either. My process for choosing plant material and ruling out species is always to ask if the plant is considered aggressive or invasive . Oft...

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April Gardening To-Do's

Posted by Kari Houle - Articles

With the warmer than normal weather I know that we've all been itching to get out into the garden. So now that April is almost upon us, what garden tasks should we be doing to get our hands in the garden? April is a great time to dig up and divide perennials. You'll want to make sure to plant them again right away. With perennials such as iris, wait until they are done blooming and hold...

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Robins eating crabapples during a late winter snow.

The American Robin: Living up to its superhero image

After an exceptionally mild winter, I noted my first robin sighting about three weeks ago. During that initial observation, scores of robins had arrived in my yard. Spring is a time of year when the migratory American robin can be found scouring the earth in search of protein. Sipping on my coffee, wave after wave of robins hopped through the yard, stopping to cock their head, as if listening f...

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