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Tales from a Plant Addict

Fun (& a few serious) facts, tips and tricks for every gardener, new and old.

Eastern White Pine-- Pinus Strobus

Eastern White Pine Pinus strobus Our office receives a lot of panicked calls each fall about Eastern White Pine trees with yellowing needles. Many homeowners assume their tree is dying. On the contrary, it is perfectly normal for white pines to lose needles on the inner portions of the branches while retaining healthy green needles on branch tips at th...

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Ornamental Sweet Potato

Ornamental Sweet Potato I think I've seen ornamental sweet potatoes growing in every town I've visited this summer. Just a few short years ago, this was not the case. Why have they become such a popular plant? One reason is their adaptability. Whether used as ground cover, in a hanging basket, or trained on a trellis, sweet potato will thrive. They are also very heat tolerant, s...

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Tapioca Slime, Brefeldia maxima

Tapioca Slime Brefeldia maxima Sometimes gardens are not for the squeamish. Recently I was puttering around outside and noticed what looked like vomit in several places all over the mulch in my garden. After the initial "Ewww!" reaction, I got curious. I figured it was some sort of slime mold, but wanted to know more. I identified it as Tapioc...

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Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea We often forget that plants considered "houseplants" actually are outdoor plants somewhere in the world. I was reminded of this on a recent trip to San Francisco when I spied walls covered in gorgeous swaths of bright color that didn't resemble anything I'd seen growing on buildings in Illinois. I had to take a closer look! They were Bougainvillea...

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Hibiscus ‘Blue Satin’

Hibiscus 'Blue Satin' Hibiscus syriacus 'Blue Satin' True blue flowers are tough to find. The pigments that make a flower blue must have acid conditions within the cell for it to appear blue. For most plants, this would be much too low a pH for it to survive. So we see very few blue flowers in nature. When a plant's tag says it's blue, most would call it some...

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