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Tales from a Plant Addict

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


When you say fall flowers, most people immediately think of chrysanthemums. An equally beautiful choice for the fall garden, but one which is often overlooked is the aster. The name aster comes from the ancient Greek word astron , meaning "star", referring to the shape of the plant's flowers. Originally, botanists classified almost 600 species of plants in Europe, Asia, and Nort...

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Gourds are believed to be one of the world's oldest cultivated plants. Fragments of gourds were even found in an Egyptian tomb dating back to 2200-2400 B.C.! Many cultures found that gourds could be dried and used as useful items such as storage containers, dippers, spoons, and bowls. Some even used gourds to fashion musical instruments. Although it was far more common to dry mature g...

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Honestly, I think if I would have read more about dahlias before I planted one last summer, I might have decided against choosing this plant for my garden. Fortunately, ignorance was bliss and I bought the plant with the giant orange blooms for my Illini garden without a second thought. I also bought some dahlias with smaller dark pink blooms that were spectacular in their own right....

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Apples & Johnny Appleseed

September always seems to include apples–whether it's in a back-to-school ad, autumn decorations, or the first apples to hit the local farmer's market. They're everywhere this time of year. Apples may seem commonplace and anything but exotic when choosing a fruit to eat. In fact, they are native to Kazakhstan, giving them Middle-Eastern or Asian heritage. Scientists have...

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Fall Crocus

Mention planting bulbs this time of year and most people have visions of springtime daffodils and tulips. But there are some bulbs that if planted in late summer, will bloom this fall. I don't know about you, but my garden could certainly use some bright new blooms after a long hot summer that has left my garden looking absolutely exhausted. If you garden in any capacity, you're proba...

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