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Tales from a Plant Addict

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

Monarch Butterfly-- Danaus plexippus

The monarch butterfly is probably one of the most recognizable of all the North American butterflies. Undoubtedly most of us have seen monarchs gliding by on many a warm summer day and haven't given them a second thought. But these once common butterflies are becoming increasingly rare. In the mid-1990's, scientists estimated that there were approximately 1 billion monarchs in North Ame...

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Milkweed-- Asclepias spp.

I will admit, some of my best garden plants started out by pure luck and maybe a dash of laziness. Caring for my young son means I don't have the time to weed the garden as often as I probably should. Last summer, a large plant appeared in my garden next to our patio. Initially, I wasn't sure what it was. As it quickly grew, I realized it was common milkweed, Asclepias syriaca . My hus...

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False Indigo, Baptisia australis,

Native plants have shown increasing popularity in recent years. Since native plants are well adapted to the local climate, they tend to be great low maintenance choices for the garden. I first discovered Baptisia australis when we bought our house ten years ago. I was looking for blue-flowered plants to use for the Illini garden we wanted to plant. A friend suggested Baptisia ....

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Common Tomato Problems

It is a bit early in the season to be discussing tomato problems, but some of the common problems can be minimized or even eliminated if caught early. It helps to know what you might see in your garden this summer. Tomato problems can be divided into the broad categories of fungal, bacterial, viral, or cultural causes. Fungal Diseases: Very common during periods of wet...

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Container Gardening Tips and Tricks

In theory at least, most people have planted their annual flowers for the summer by the time June rolls around. I'm someone that tends to have a "just one more" mentality when it comes to container gardening and plants in general. So it's not unusual to find me adding another pot to my patio at any point during the growing season. Choosing plants for a container can be intimidating. You...

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Strawberries-- Fragaria spp.

Few would argue that a sure sign of summer approaching is the first strawberries of the season. You may think "First strawberries? But aren't they in the store all the time?" That's where as modern people we forget that every fruit and vegetable at one time was only available fresh for a limited time each year. The strawberry we consume today is actually a hybrid of two wild types, one...

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Blue Star (Amsonia sp)

Looking out at my garden, the perennials are just starting to put on their show, despite my lack of attention the last couple of years as mom to a now 2 year old boy. As I manage to find a few stolen moments in the garden this year, I'm taking note of which perennials have done well despite little, if any, care. Blue star ( Amsonia ) is one that has done quite will in my absence....

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