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Timeline Through Landscape Design - ARCHIVES

A blog to guide home gardeners with seasonal landscape improvements.
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Special Vegetable Edition - Straw Bale Gardening

I typically write about landscape improvements, however, Illinois Extension has been getting a number of calls regarding vegetable gardening in straw bales. So, I decide to write a special edition on the basics of straw bale gardening. If you are gardening on a budget, have poor soil, or lack space you may want to consider straw bale gardening. This innovative method utilizes a bale of...

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Photo 1 - one-third method
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Time to Prune Roses

Spring has sprung and I am back! I was on leave for quite some time but, I am happy to be back and blogging again. Looks like it is time to prune my roses. In my area of northeastern Illinois the forsythia are in bloom so, it must be time to prune the roses. Many gardeners use this as a sign to remind them to prune roses. Late winter early spring is generally a great time to prune roses...

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More post to come this winter: Please stay tuned.

Please stay tuned.  I will be on parental leave until further notice.  Please look for more post this winter. Thank you for your patience, Nancy...

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Beware of Plants in the Landscape that May Cause Skin Reactions

There are a number of plants to be cautious of while working in your landscape. Learn more from the South Town Star article in which I was quoted by clicking here . Click here for a more extensive...

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Butterfly Weed: Perennial of the Year

Late spring to early summer is a good time to incorporate perennials into the garden. As you contemplate plant selection, why not consider butterfly weed, named the 2017 Perennial Plant of the Year™ by the Perennial Plant Association. Butterfly weed ( Asclepias tuberosa ) is a well-behaved, easy-care plant native to Illinois. It is common in most regions of the state, except in some west...

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The Marvels of Spring Ephemerals

Spring will be arriving soon, and with the new season comes brand new foliage followed by a burst of flowers. Gardeners poking around the yard may discover plants emerging here and there. Some of the earliest of these plants are native spring ephemerals. Ephemerals, or short-lived plants, are often misunderstood and I refer to them as the mystery plants of the Eastern U.S. deciduous for...

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West-Cook-WildOnes Conference

Upcoming Native Landscaping Conference

West Cook Wild Ones Presents: The Naturally Beautiful Garden Conference 2017 Saturday, February 11, 2017 from 12:00 PM – 5:30 PM Triton College Performing Arts Center, River Grove, IL. 60171. I highly recommend this conference if you are looking into incorporating native plants in your yard. Two great speakers are on the agenda. Read more below and click...

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Learn About Invasive Species That May Be in Your Yard

Extension is hosting an upcoming workshop that may interest you. First Detector workshops bring awareness to pests and diseases that are invading our region. Space is limited, so be sure to register soon. If the south suburban (Orland Park) session is full, please contact me to learn about other regional workshops. The details are posted below. First Detector Workshop...

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Plants for Winter Interest

In our Illinois climate, gardeners can take advantage of the changing seasons with landscape plants that show their true colors in winter. Just as a gardener plans a perennial flower bed based on bloom times, you should think about the larger characteristics of the landscape by selecting trees, shrubs, grasses, and groundcovers with showy winter features. Many plants will make a fine display, w...

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Fertilizing Trees and Shrubs - It Can Wait!

As your plants may be looking a little sad or dwindling down as temperatures cool, some of you may be wondering if you should fertilize these plants. When it comes to fertilizing trees and shrubs at this time, the answer is NO. Fertilizing woody plants (trees and shrubs) while they are still actively growing in late summer will result in a flush of growth that may not have time to harden off be...

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A red rose in the garden

Summer Rose Care: Deadheading, Fertilizing and Monitoring for Disease

The garden season has been keeping me busy and I apologize for the lack of recent posts. I wanted to maintain contact with my readers, so, I am sharing a few links regarding rose care. Now is a good time to deadhead or remove those spent flowers on your roses. Deadheading basically tricks the plant into producing more flowers so the plant can ultimately produce fruit and seed. If you are unsur...

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Accenting Your Landscape with Colorful Structures

One current garden trend is using colorful structures as backdrops, frames, or focal points. A structure can be as simple as a trellis or painted ladder or may be more complex, like a vertical garden. The easiest, most inexpensive way to incorporate color with a structure is to invest in some outdoor paint for an existing trellis, arbor, or fence. Be sure to prepare painting surfaces pr...

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Preparing a New Garden Bed

Spring has sprung and the time for gardening preparation is here. If you are looking for an inexpensive and easy way to begin a new garden bed start saving your cardboard! When installing a new garden bed, I use leftover cardboard from shipping materials or newspaper (six-layers thick) to suffocate existing lawn and vegetation rather than renting a sod cutter or removing it by hand. It...

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Photo1 Shrub Rejuvenation Pruning Example
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Late Winter through Early Spring is a Good Time to Prune: Build Pruning into Your Landscape Maintenance Plan

Proper pruning is a must when it comes to trees and shrubs. Not only will it improve aesthetics, it will improve the structure and longevity of your woody landscape plants. Now is the time to prune. Here are some steps to follow when pruning deciduous shrubs and trees: Reasons for pruning: Safety...

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Photo1 Prepping Peat-Pellets-for-Seeds
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Herbs Make a Wonderful Landscape Addition

Herbs are a favorite in most gardens, and transplants can be expensive. Why not try starting seeds indoors this winter as you anticipate warmer weather? March is a good time to begin. Some herbs that are fairly easy to start as seeds indoors and will beautify your landscape include rosemary, thyme, sage and chives. Most of these seeds are very fine and take a fair amount of time to germ...

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2016: Year of the Begonia

When the weather outside is frightful, I like to research new plant varieties that I can introduce to my garden in the spring or summer. While I was exploring, I discovered that 2016 marks the Year of the Begonia. Begonias are a favorite of mine and with good reason. The National Garden Bureau announced that 2016 is the Year of the Begonia in the a...

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Fairy Garden Terrariums

Please forgive the lack of recent posts. With the holidays and year-end reports, I am a little behind. With that said, I hope you enjoy learning about one of my favorite hobbies: making fairy garden terrariums! With the cold weather keeping us from landscaping outdoors, why not bring your creativity and efforts indoors? If you are itching for some interaction with plant...

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Holiday Beautification for Winter Container Gardens

By now you may be getting tired of looking at your remaining spent plants or bare container gardens. Why not spruce them up for the winter with some greenery, twigs and other holiday decorations? When designing my home landscape, I considered planting evergreens and shrubs that I could cut for use in my winter container garden designs. Not only do these types of plants provide interesti...

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Photo 1-Existing Cannas in ground filling in space while my Japanese Maple gets established
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Digging and Storing Cannas

Now is the time to dig and store your tropical bulbs and bulb-like structures. Today I will be focusing on cannas (Photo 1), which has a rhizome structure. Although this is termed differently, these tropical plants should be treated as tender bulbs and should be dug up before the first killing frost. The Weather Channel is predicting freezing temperatures this Friday night. Be sure to get outs...

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