- Welcome to My Jungle - October 2017
- Welcome to My Jungle - September 2017
- New downy mildew outbreak could affect Illinois pumpkin and other cucurbit crops
- Welcome to My Jungle - August 2017
- Conditions conducive in parts of Illinois to Phytophthora infection of cucurbits
- Winemaking Fundamentals Symposium
- Downy Mildew of Basil Detected in Illinois
- Elizabeth Wahle's Welcome to My Jungle
- Fruits and Vegetables
- Garden Basics
- Garden Trends
- Gardening with Kids
- Holiday and Season Topics
- Horticultural Resources
- Indoor Plants (Houseplants & more)
- Invasive Plants and Plants of Concern
- Just for Fun
- Landscapes (Trees, Shrubs and Flowers)
- Pests (Insects, Disease & Weeds)
- Programs - Commercial Agriculture
- Sustainable Gardening
- Wildlife and Nature
- October 2017 (1)
- September 2017 (1)
- August 2017 (2)
- July 2017 (6)
- June 2017 (1)
- May 2017 (1)
- April 2017 (1)
- March 2017 (1)
- February 2017 (2)
- January 2017 (5)
- December 2016 (2)
- November 2016 (2)
- October 2016 (1)
- September 2016 (1)
- August 2016 (1)
- July 2016 (1)
- June 2016 (1)
- May 2016 (1)
- April 2016 (1)
- March 2016 (1)
- February 2016 (1)
- January 2016 (1)
- December 2015 (1)
- November 2015 (1)
- October 2015 (1)
- July 2015 (1)
- June 2015 (1)
- May 2015 (1)
- April 2015 (1)
- March 2015 (1)
- August 2014 (1)
- December 2013 (1)
- November 2013 (1)
- August 2013 (1)
- April 2013 (1)
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- October 2012 (1)
- August 2012 (1)
- December 2011 (1)
- November 2011 (1)
53 Total Posts
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Sunday, October 1, 2017
It's that time of year when all gardeners need to start thinking about tender perennials and what their fate is to be. Do you overwinter them or do you let Mother Nature shorten their life? How much time do you have? Well not much. In the St Louis Metro East, about 90% of the time, the first frost has occurred by October 27 th . The earliest we have had is September 20 th and...
Friday, September 1, 2017
A personal thank you to the staff and volunteers of Clifftop. I could not have asked for a more beautiful site to view the solar eclipse with my family and friends on Monday, August 21 st . A 360° sunset is a site I will never forget. Thank you for all the time and effort you put into making this such a special day for so many. As quoted on Clifftop's Facebook page "It was a long, hot...
Tuesday, August 1, 2017
Did you know grape berries reach physiological maturity well before they taste good? Grape berry maturity occurs when seeds are able to germinate, which is immediately after véraison, or initiation of fruit ripening (start of color change). Try tasting a grape berry at this stage. I can guarantee the experience will pucker you up. Grapes are actually harvested at what is termed their technologi...
Saturday, July 1, 2017
It is one thing to see food in the produce isle, it is altogether different to see that same edible portion growing on the plant. I have worked with specialty crops much of my adult life, but I have never lost my fascination of plants that produce food. Who can't stare in awe at a tree full of peaches or smile in excitement when pulling up peanut plants to reap the hidden rewards. I rec...
Thursday, June 1, 2017
June begins the season of green, when the trees and shrubs are fully leaved and spring blooms have faded. My Jungle is primarily an iris garden, but it would be boring right now if made up of only green swords of foliage. Not to worry though, numerous late spring and early-summer blooming plants pick up the color standard so the Jungle does not suffer summer blahs. One of my favorites is trumpe...
Monday, May 1, 2017
Birds are arriving from their winter home to add their beauty and song to my landscape. I hope that I have created a suitable environment for them to complete a successful breeding season. A ruby throated hummingbird alerted me to his presence very recently, so I dropped everything to put out feeders. He seemed rather pleased. I have also sighted two pairs of rose-breasted grosbeak, indigo bunt...
Saturday, April 1, 2017
Sticker shock, but definitely worth it! Some plants like lady slippers, a.k.a. hardy terrestrial orchids, can be relatively pricy in the world of herbaceous perennials (think ITOH and herbaceous yellow peony prices), and when combined with some very exacting growing conditions, most gardeners aren't willing to risk the added investment. This is definitely a species to research thoroughly before ca...
Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Dwarfing rootstocks have always fascinated me, and the sweet cherry trees in my jungle really demonstrate their useful versatility. I have three sweet cherry trees and they are all similar in age, but they are all on different rootstocks, making them extremely different in size. My largest sweet cherry tree grew from a cherry pit a friend of mine had chucked into his garden, resulting in a stan...
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Winter is still with us but a number of winter interest plants are already brightening an otherwise sleeping garden. Winter blooming plants like witch hazel ( Hamamelis ), hellebore ( Helleborus ), mahonia ( Mahonia ), Japanese pieris ( Pieris ), and paperbush ( Edgeworthia ) are especially good at harking the coming of spring. If you are unfamiliar wi...
Sunday, January 1, 2017
Winter has barely started, but it is already time to begin the planning process for starting vegetable transplants. Very hardy vegetables like broccoli and cabbage can be planted outdoors without protection 4-6 weeks before the last average frost-free date, which means transplants need to be seeded well in advance of this date. The Illinois State Water Survey...
Thursday, December 15, 2016
Most gardeners can relate to the giddy anticipation generated this time of the year when nursery catalogs start filling the mailbox. Aside from all the wonderful nursery stock that inspires oohs and aahs, I spend an equal amount of time studying seed catalogs. I plant seeds for a number of reasons. The most obvious reason is some plants, like pole beans, grow very reliably from seeds and it is...
Tuesday, November 1, 2016
Using the term "evergreen" to refer to all conifers can be somewhat misleading. Not all evergreens are conifers, just as not all conifers are evergreen. Bald Cypress ( Taxodium distichum ) is a good example of a deciduous conifer, but you would never refer to as a deciduous evergreen! The term "evergreen" can also be somewhat misleading when applied to pines ( Pinus ). Pin...
Saturday, October 1, 2016
I harvested squash this weekend and it definitely turned out to be a serendipitous event. I had noticed around mid-summer that several volunteer cucurbit vines were growing around my composting area, of which I decided to leave in place just to see what type of fruit would develop. About a month ago, it was pretty clear the vines were producing several 2-4-pound round squash with skins similar...
Thursday, September 1, 2016
I'm always so torn when I realize hornworms are feasting on my tomato plants. If I leave them in place, they will totally defoliate the plant. If I kill them or move them well away from the tomatoes, they will most likely die and never have the chance to transform into it's equally large adult form, a hawk moth. This year, my tomato plants were inundated with tobacco hornworms so I decided I wa...
Monday, August 1, 2016
I recently returned from "The Gardens of England" tour coordinated for Illinois Master Gardeners, which included the Royal Horticulture Society (RHS) Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, the largest flower show in the world. Imagine a flower show that encompasses 25 acres and offers an opportunity for guests to see every possible herbaceous perennial (not really, it just seemed like it) throughout...
Friday, July 1, 2016
It is not surprising that the very fine, soft, bright green feathery leaves of Eupatorium capillifolium 'Elegant Feather' (dog fennel) stumps even some plant nerds as to its identification. Well, at least this plant nerd was stumped. At first glance, it appeared somewhat reminiscent of Amsonia (Blue Star) but taller (5'), and the foliage significantly more soft and fine. If th...
Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Tomatoes are finally in their happy place in terms of sunshine and warmth, and in response are really putting on a growth spurt. Champion II and Genuwine (Brandywine x Costoluto Genovese) are both indeterminate types being grown this year, both trained on a string and maintained to a single stem. To accomplish this, all suckers are regularly removed, which means checking every few days to catch...
Sunday, May 1, 2016
Straw bale gardening has been an interesting project. After reading several books on the topic, I decided I was ready to try my hand at growing "something" in straw bales. My design was simple; four straw bales side by side, set on a weed mat of layered newspapers in the back driveway. Placement is critical; once bales are saturated with water, they become very difficult to move. Orientation is...
Friday, April 1, 2016
Bird feeders, though wonderful for feeding and bringing feathered friends in close, require regular maintenance to maintain the health of visiting birds and visual appeal of the garden. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, feeders should be hand cleaned about once every two weeks with soap and boiling water or a dilute bleach solution (no more than 1 part bleach to 9 parts water), and t...
Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Dogs and turf don't always mix, especially in small confined areas. For homeowners, pets (mostly dogs) are the most frequent cause of uneven patches of succulent dark green growth and/or brown areas. And although the exact mechanism of how urine injures turf is not completely understood, its damage is very similar to that resulting from a salt-based fertilizer spill. This has led to a generally...
Monday, February 1, 2016
Had it been the middle of summer, the weather we all just experienced the last weekend of January would have been downright cold and worthy of a sweater. But temperatures in the mid to upper 60's in the middle of winter just begs for short sleeves and working in the yard…at least for this spring fevered gardener. I chose to spend some of my time outdoors gathering all the fallen branches and tw...
Friday, January 1, 2016
While taking down outdoor holiday decorations recently, I noticed daffodils popping up throughout the Jungle. My first thought was "that's not good" before moving on to selfish aggravation that my daffodil display would most likely be less than spectacular this spring due to probable freeze injury to early exposed leaves…what with so much winter still to come. Clearly the daffodils had met thei...
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
Growing giant vegetables usually takes some extra effort, but sometimes Mother Nature provides just the right conditions for some crops to exceed normal growth expectations. Take turnips for example. Normally, turnip are harvested as they reach the size of a tennis ball or slightly larger up until soil freezing. This ensures reaching peak flavor and maintaining a smooth internal texture. Like m...
Sunday, November 1, 2015
Most of us picture brilliant leaf colors when thinking of the fall season, and My Jungle definitely contains no shortage of eye-catching showoffs to recommend. Ginkgo 'Green Pagoda' may be a dwarf specimen but it still sports the beautiful and vivid yellow fall color equal to any of its much larger cousins, and it's suitable for much smaller spaces. Whereas the species Ginkgo biloba can grow 13...
Thursday, October 1, 2015
I'm wondering if there has ever been a study on the impact gardens like the Missouri Botanical Garden (MOBOT) have on plant sales? This thought recently occurred following UPS delivering my 'Spotty Dotty' mayapple from Forestfarm at Pacifica ( http://www.forestfarm.com/ ). I have been admiring this beauty for a number of years from visits to MOBOT where it...