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Tales from a Plant Addict

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

New Plants for a New Year

Just like it seems that local stores decorate for Christmas earlier and earlier every year, my mailbox fills with garden seed and plant catalogs earlier each year. I used to expect my first catalogs to show up around January 1 st , but this year my first catalogs arrived before Thanksgiving. The number of new plant offerings is quite overwhelming. One catalog I received this week is ad...

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American Chestnut

We've all heard the familiar holiday tune that begins "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire....", but here in central Illinois chestnuts are not a familiar site among native stands of trees. The American Chestnut, Castanea dentata , was at one point one of the most important forest trees in the eastern U.S. and southeastern Canada. It was also one of the largest, growing up to 15...

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Yule logs

What in the world makes a log a 'Yule log'? I can remember campfires where we joked about great big logs being 'the Yule log' and you hear about it during the holidays, but what is it? I've also seen log-shaped cakes called Yule logs, confusing the topic even more. The Yule log has its origins in pagan rituals in...

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Christmas Cactus

Christmas cactus is a lesser known holiday plant compared to the poinsettia, but no less spectacular in my opinion. Their flowers are truly unique, and unlike poinsettia, it is relatively easy to coax a Christmas cactus into re-blooming each year. Christmas and Thanksgiving cacti, commonly called 'holiday cacti' are named all in reference to the time of year they typically bloom. These...

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Gifts for Gardeners

Gardening continues to be a popular hobby across the U.S., and chances are if you aren't a gardener, you probably know one. You may even know a few people that don't consider themselves a "gardener" but do have a yard or indoor plants to care for. As the holidays rapidly approach, gifts related t...

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