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Tales from a Plant Addict

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

Cantaloupe or muskmelon?

One of the great joys of summer has to be fresh cantaloupe, either from the local farmer's market or your own home garden. But is it cantaloupe or muskmelon? There is technically a difference, but often the names are used interchangeably. The term cantaloupe refers to two varieties of muskmelon. What we typically call a cantaloupe is Cucumis melo reticulatus, also called the No...

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Butterfly Bush

A plant that I love, but that tries my patience is Butterfly Bush, Buddleia davidii . While it is a pretty common shrub in central Illinois, that is not the case everywhere. When I started graduate school ten years ago, I remember seeing Butterfly Bush and asking people what it was and getting stra...

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Salad Tables

Judging by my own yard and reports from family, friends and neighbors, rabbits are wreaking havoc across central Illinois' gardens. These conniving little creatures have made gardening, especially vegetable gardening, a challenge this year. The influx of rabbits into my garden has made growing salad green...

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Plumbago

It seems like whenever I travel outside of our Zone 5 climate, I get a case of what I like to call "zone envy". There's always a plant or two at my destination that would look perfect in my garden back home, and further research usually reveals the disappointing news that the plants I'm admiring will only survive winters much warmer than central...

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Emerald Ash Borer Update

Many of you probably remember last summer when the news came that the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) had been found in Kane County, in Northern Illinois. News broadcasts on every network showed a tiny green insect and said that it was responsible for the death of 20 million ash trees. Some people panicked–...

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