Blog Banner

The Joy of Gardening

Whether prairie plant or pansy, native or ornamental, gain insight into all aspects of gardening & wildlife.

Brown Patches on Draceana

My corn plant has developed brown blotches all over, both old and new growth. The green parts of the leaves look healthy. I do not think I am doing anything differently than I have been doing for a number of years. Is it a disease, or am I doing something wrong? Answer Corn plants, or Draceana fragrans, are wonderful houseplants, as they are relatively...

Read More >


Leaves Smothering My Lawn

For some reason the leaves on several of my trees did not fall this year. After the fall cleanup, the two snows in mid-December knocked them all down, and now they are buried under the snow. I've heard that accumulated and packed down leaves will smother and kill off the grass. Also, it makes the grass more susceptible to diseases. Is there anything that can be done? Or is there anything that I...

Read More >


Top Ten Tips for Poinsettias

Posted by Kim Ellson - Gardening

"It is hard to think of the Holidays and not conjure up images of red Poinsettias and a snowy landscape", said Kim Ellson, a University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator. Poinsettias truly have become a symbol of Christmas and it would be very difficult to think them away. "Although reds are certainly the most iconic" said Ellson, "variations of pinks, whites, burgundies and s...

Read More >

flowers-341024 1920

Growing Azaleas and Rhododendrons

For years I have tried to grow Azaleas and Rhododendrons with limited success. Often in the winter the leaves will turn brown, roll up and next spring after they bloom, they seem to have fewer leaves. So it becomes a slow, steady decline unto death. I've been told that I probably need to add fertilizer and lime in the fall. But I was also told by others not to fertiliz...

Read More >

rsz tulips colorful

Planting Spring Bulbs

Each year when I plant spring bulbs it seems something follows behind me and digs them up, and come spring I have only a few stragglers left. Are there certain bulbs that the critters will leave alone or is there something I can do to keep them away? And what is the best way to plant them to assure that they will all bloom? Answer What you are describing is inde...

Read More >

Ellson Giant Swallowtail Vicki DeLoach

Why NOT to cut your perennials this fall..

Posted by Kim Ellson - Gardening

Most gardeners will associate the cutting and removal of perennials and raking of leaves as typical autumn chores. Naturally we want to ensure we are left with a garden that looks tidy and presentable, and we can rest assured that come springtime we will not have to tackle these chores in addition to controlling spring weeds. However removing all this plant material can be fatal for next year's...

Read More >

autumn-494390 960 720

Fall Garden Chores

I've always heard "Fall is a good time to plant!" And I've heard that around Labor Day is the best time to do work on the lawn and gardens. What should I be doing now for the lawn, and what kind of jobs should I be doing in the gardens? How do I determine which is the most important in case I run out of time (or steam!)? Answer Autumn is the ideal time for carry...

Read More >