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A Merry Gardener

Horticulture for daily living
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Jack-O-Lantern

Posted by Alicia Gardner - Seasonal

Happy Halloween everyone! Today's blog tells the story of why we carve pumpkins at Halloween. This tradition stems from an Irish myth about a man named Stingy Jack. In the legend, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. True to his name, Stingy Jack didn't want to pay for the drinks at the end of the night. So Jack convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin...

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Pumpkin Time

The joy and festivity of autumn holds a special place in my heart. Judging by the decorative displays on front porches everywhere I go, and the flood of seasonal social media hashtags [#fallfavorites #pumpkinspice #pumpkintime], I believe that I am not alone. The central player in all things fall is the pumpkin, so to celebrate the spirit of the season, today's blog post will focus on s...

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Holes and Frass; Garden Guests

One morning in mid-July I found a surprise in my herb garden. My lovely borage ( see my post on borage ) had been turned into lunch by some hungry lepidopteran larvae (caterpillars). The leaves looked like crochet, and clumps of webbing and frass (caterpillar excrement) perched in the tops of several stalks. While ma...

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Edible Ornamental, Uncommon Herb – Borage

Giant, bright blue eyes in a child have the power to strike me still. The astounding, azure blue star of a borage flower catch me and hold me fast. Few flowers produce such a remarkable and moving color as that of the clear-sky blue borage blossom. Borage is an herb unknown to many. It is an annual, growing 2-3 feet tall with a basal rosette architecture. The leaves are rough and covere...

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Spice Up Your Landscape with Ornamental Peppers

Ornamental chile peppers may provide just the kick you're looking for to spice up your landscape. Breeders at the New Mexico State University Chile Pepper Institute have paired the vibrant and variable colors available in chile peppers with a compact growth habit and upward-facing fruits. The result? A whole suite of ornamental chile pepper cultivars....

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Spring Struggles

If you have ever found yourself second-guessing your spring planting enthusiasm because of all of the miserable failures that you have faced, know that you are not alone! Novice and expert gardeners alike face a number of challenges early in the growing season. In the hopes of demonstrating that your own failures are not uncommon and certainly are not cause to give up, I've decided to share a f...

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Roses are Red, Pruning's for You

With Valentine's Day just behind us, I have roses on the brain. It's a good thing too, because it is time to get out and do some spring pruning on your rose bushes. While it may still be a little bit early according to the calendar, the early warming here in Southern Illinois has spring on the fast track. Forsythias are blooming, maples are breaking bud, and daffodils are showing their sunny fa...

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