Category: I wish I knew then

Tropical Hibiscus Mistake

Tropical Hibiscus Mistake
From my window I can see into my neighbor’s garden that they started this year. I’ve been admiring a tropical hibiscus they planted because it has been blooming and the flaming red flower screams out for admiration. From the sidewalk the blooming shrub is hidden by a morning glory vine that has ensconced their fence.... Read more »

Where to Buy Spring Bulbs for Your Garden

I did a quick tour of Home Depot and Menards to see what they were selling this year in terms of spring garden bulbs. These are the bulbs, corms and rhizomes, you plant between now and before the ground freezes, that will bloom in the spring. Home Depot had the standard fare like tulips, daffodils,... Read more »

Choosing Lawn Fertilizers

Came across another helpful video by the University of Illinois Extension that talks about winterizing your lawn to prepare it for next year. It focuses on choosing the right lawn fertilizer for late summer early fall. When it says that organic lawn fertilizers are “lower in analysis” than “commercial chemical-type fertilizers” it is referring to... Read more »

What good are wasps in the Garden?

Today, a local gardener asked me on Twitter: “and really what good are wasps?“ If I had been asked that question a few years ago I wouldn’t have been able to come up with anything positive to say about the wasp. I was stung by one once as a kid and it took one bad... Read more »

Chicago's Invasive Plant List

On May 9, 2007 the City Council passed the Invasive Species Ordinance that made it unlawful to possess certain invasive plant and animal species. At the time the plants on the list were mostly aquatic plants, but this year the list was updated to include land-based invasive plants. The updated Invasive Species Ordinance now makes... Read more »

Harvesting Sunflower Seeds

One of the sunflowers in my garden has already gone to seed. I can tell this because birds have begun to take take chunks out of the seed head even before all of the seeds have had a chance to develop. This seed head itself is still a couple of weeks away from being ready... Read more »

Transplanting Tulip Bulbs

When I began my outdoor garden I didn’t start it with a garden plan. I just started planting things where I had space and over the years things have gotten worse as I kept adding plants without fixing my original planting mistakes. This year, I’ve resolved to fix a number of those early mistakes, starting... Read more »

Biennials and How to Make Hollyhock Dolls

Biennials are plants that complete their growing cycle in two growing seasons. They are different than annuals and perennials in that in the first year they grow only roots, leaves and stems. In the second year they flower and form seed pods if pollinated, then the plants die. If you grow biennials it is a... Read more »

Raised Bed Gardening

This year I’ve been seeing examples of raised beds all over Chicago that make me wish I would have created raised beds when I started my garden. Instead of digging through hard clay to try to create a hospitable area for plants I could have built a few raised beds and saved myself some back... Read more »

Field Bindweed

Field Bindweed is one of my favorite weeds. Yeah, I said it. It was introduced into the U.S in the early 1800s and has become a nuisance in gardens, lawns, alleys and empty lots around Chicago and across the country. The weed is tough to eradicate because it has a strong and extensive root system.... Read more »