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Tales from a Plant Addict

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

Amorphophallus titanum, Titan Arum a.k.a. "Corpse Flower"

People are fascinated by some pretty bizarre things. I confirmed what I already knew earlier this month, when I joined the crowds lured to the University of Illinois Plant Biology Conservatory to witness the blooming of their Amorphophallus titanum –theirs is nicknamed "Titania". Why the fascination? Well, one major reason is its common name is Corpse flower, because it smells lik...

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Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas are one of those plants that both enamor and frustrate gardeners. As much as we love them, when they don't live up to either how they looked when we purchased them, or they don't look like the catalog picture, we wonder what we're doing wrong. I planted my first hydrangea as a new homeowner six years ago, and for the first two years hoped no one noticed that the neighbor with her Ph....

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Daylily-- Hemerocallis

I am definitely a novice when it comes to daylilies. Growing up, they were on my mom's "do not plant" list, so we never had them in our yard, and I never dared to plant any. She disliked them because the ones she knew only bloomed once, she didn't think the tall foliage was particularly attractive, and they tended to overtake areas. I was usually treading on thin ice with my mom in terms of my...

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Zucchini

I was very excited to pick my first zucchini this week. I'm sure that a few weeks into zucchini season, this excitement will wane a bit. I've learned from a young age that more than one or two plants will produce far more zucchini than any family can reasonably consume. One of my early gardening memories was the summer before I entered the third grade. I strongly suspect that my dad was...

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Zinnias

Zinnias have their own "rags to riches" story in the plant world. Their native range starts in the Southwestern U.S. and stretches to South America. Zinnias are a common wildflower in Mexico, but you probably wouldn't recognize it. There are about a dozen different species of Zinnia , but one of the most important ancestors of modern cultivars is Zinnia elegans , native...

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