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Tales from a Plant Addict

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

Carving the Perfect Pumpkin

Traditional Jack O' Lanterns are carved as simple faces, but many creative souls have taken the Jack O' Lantern to new levels of complexity. Searching the internet for 'pumpkin carving patterns' will yield a treasure trove of patterns for carving everything from your favorite cartoon character to your favorite political candidate into the side of a pumpkin. At first glance the more comp...

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Overwintering Tender Bulbs & Tropical Plants

Tropical plants and tender bulbs have grown in popularity for use in outdoor landscaping. Some have been a garden staple for years, like cannas, elephant ears, and dahlias. Others are less familiar, like banana, mandevilla, and bougainvillea. Most will not survive the cold temperatures of an Illinois winter without being moved indoors. Though killing frosts have not made their way into...

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Bulb Forcing

Although fall has barely begun, it's time to start thinking spring, at least where bulbs are concerned. This is the time of year when garden centers are flooded with dozens of varieties of spring blooming bulbs. If you don't have a yard you can plant in, consider planting bulbs in pots for forcing. It's a great way to bring a bit of spring to your balcony, patio, or even your kitchen table....

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I love the fact that home fruit and vegetable gardening has seen such a surge in popularity in recent years. One of the great side effects of this status is that nurseries are rediscovering previously under-appreciated or unusual fruit and vegetable crops. Many of these "new" plants are attractive additions to the landscape in their own right, the tasty fruit being an added benefit. One...

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Though I grew up in a family with a large vegetable garden, we never grew garlic. This is probably because my dad absolutely hates garlic. I can't even sneak it into recipes, as I think he can taste it at a parts per billion level. So you guessed it, as soon as I had my own garden, we planted garlic. Like so many other home grown vegetables, nearly everyone I know, my husband and I incl...

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