Category archive for ‘Gardeners Forum’ rss

  • From the cinema to the soil

    As a mom who is in the process of sending her kids out into the world, I am sincerely grateful for the community in which they grew up. I am grateful to the real estate agent who spent the summer of ’99 showing our growing family house, after house, after house.

  • Annual Sun City Annual Holiday House Walk is all heart

    On the afternoon of December 8, five Sun City residents will open their homes and hearts to us. They will share with us the beauty of their homes, their holiday traditions, and the giving spirit that is so very present this time of year through the Sun Flower Garden Club’s 7th Annual Holiday House Walk.

  • Falling into habit: readying your autumn garden for winter

    While it has been wonderful to be able to spend so much time in our living rooms watching the World Series, there is quite a bit that should be done outside this time of the year.

  • The ornamental grass is always greener (or is it?)

    At a certain point early this summer, I became very disenchanted with ornamental grasses. I was seeing so many ornamental grasses that were just not growing well. In many yards, the ornamental grasses were either small or only portions of the plants were showing any signs of life. On the other side of the spectrum, some ornamental grasses were taking over planting beds. It seemed like a no-win situation.

  • ‘Tis the season for a different kind of ornament

    Lately, the lyrics from “Turn, Turn, Turn,” the 1960s song by The Byrds, have been floating around in my head. ‘To everything-turn, turn, turn. There is a season – turn, turn, turn. And a time to every purpose under heaven.”

    I believe the term is “earworm,” and now I am passing it along.  “A time to be born, a time to die. A time to plant, a time to reap. A time to kill, a time to heal. A time to laugh, a time to weep.”

  • Don’t just stand there, plant something, Part II

    There are documented health benefits from gardening. Can you give us a few examples?

  • Don’t just stand there, plant something

    I called my husband last Thursday afternoon and vented about a pattern of behavior that I had noticed in our son. While our son is innately the most caring, kind, and funny person I know (except his father of course), he had developed a pattern of behavior that needed to be addressed.

  • Water the rules for plant hydration?

    My daughter Mary and I decided to set aside a day to spend together before she went to college. Neither of us wanted to choose what to do on that day. I wanted to do whatever Mary wanted to do and she wanted to do whatever I wanted to do. We went back and forth about this for a few days, until I caved in.

  • Everything you wanted to know about hydrangeas (continued!)

    It is often said that hydrangeas are not only one of the best-loved garden plants but also the most understood. Although, I think trial and error is sometimes a better way to learn about gardening, here are a few insights into the broad category of plants called hydrangeas.

  • Everything you wanted to know about hydrangeas (but were too afraid to ask!)

    Six thousand, five hundred, and seventy days have passed with only 28 more to go. The questions creep into my mind at all hours of the day and night. They range from the somewhat inconsequential in today’s society, (‘Does she know how to iron?’) to the abstract (‘How will our family structure be affected as we all feel the loss?’), to the very serious, (‘Have I emphasized strongly enough that she needs to guard her drink at social events?’).

  • Dealing with those wascally wabbits, Part 2

    It is important to use a variety of animal repellent products. What works in someone else’s yard, may not work in yours. What works in your yard for a while, may stop working if the rabbits get used to it.

  • Dealing with those wascally wabbits, Part 1

    We all have our routines. They keep us on task and help us to remember to do certain things each day. Most routines are helpful, but some can be counterproductive. Unfortunately, rabbits have routines also.

  • An interview with Mark Dwyer, Part 2

    What types of plantings occur at the gardens annually?

  • An interview with Mark Dwyer, part 1

    The American Horticultural Society has recognized the Rotary Botanical Gardens, located in Janesville Wisconsin as one of the best botanic gardens in the Midwest. This winter I had the opportunity to attend a seminar given by Mark Dwyer, Director of Horticulture for the Rotary Botanical Gardens.

  • Picking the best plant combinations this summer

    We all seem to have tricks to help us remember things. “Lefty Lucy, Right Tighty’ pops into my mind each and every time I am using a screwdriver. My kids have all done really well on their eighth grade constitution test simply because they know the words to the School House Rock songs.

  • Spring into fresh plant options

    We have a new crab tree in our yard. The crisp, bright white flowers have brought me immense joy the past few days. Instead of looking down onto the floor that needs to be swept, I look out of the kitchen window and smile.

  • On Fleck: An interview with a flower photographer

    It seems that our Midwest seasons our fleeting. Bright red tulip flowers lift our spirits in the spring but are gone by summer. Gorgeous lilac flowers are prevalent in May by July the lilac shrubs drift into the background. The breathtaking orange tones on sugar maple leaves embody the spirit of fall and quietly drop with winter.

  • Ready, Set, Spring

    Last night my daughter Mary and I went to see the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2”. This was a much anticipated mother-daughter outing. The movie was about the importance of family, with the underlying theme of an 18-year-old daughter choosing a college and moving away from her family. It is a story that has been playing out in our home this winter. Mary has chosen a college that will take her 620 miles from family but will bring her much closer to determining her unique calling in life.

  • Gardening help from technology? App-solutely!

    Each year the Oxford Dictionary comes out with a list of words that they have added to their publication. Words such as pneumatologically, studerite, and waterly were added the dictionary in 2015. Way back in 2001, the word “app” was added.

  • Events that will put a spring in your step

    My kids have this unspoken competition between themselves. Periodically, they will take a picture of themselves (yes, I have just dated myself by refusing to call it a selfie) and then use that picture as the screen saver on my phone. The result is that whenever I look at my phone I see their bright, smiling face.

  • Keep the vines of communication open for your garden

    My 14-year-old son values his appearance. Specifically, he takes great pride in his hair. I am not quite sure what lead to this awareness. Perhaps it is the fact that for 12 years he faithfully went with his mom and sisters to a beautician every 7 weeks.

  • The importance of plant hydration in winter

    I am not quite sure if we are correctly curing all that ails them, but a recent study from the Harvard School of Public Health reported more than half of children in the United States are not getting adequate hydration. Are our plants?

  • Getting your garden ready for the wintertime

    The process of tucking our children into bed has come full circle in our home. The nightly ritual used to be a very hands-on event for my husband and I.

  • Warding off animal damage

    Lucky, our English Springer Spaniel has taught us many life lessons. Her perseverance regarding chasing squirrels is unmatched. The sliding glass door in our kitchen looks out onto our back yard. Each time she sees a squirrel, we let her out, and she runs full force towards the agile rodent and almost catches it.

  • Leaves of change

    Mary, my daughter, and I have discovered common ground. As a very capable 17-year-old, there is not a lot her mom can help her with. Help with homework? Haven’t been able to do that since elementary school. Help with cleaning her room? She would prefer not. Advice regarding friends? Very dangerous territory. College applications? BINGO! This is something I can help her with. She has completed 9 applications and has 3 more to do. For years, she has been editing my newspaper columns, now I am able to edit her college essays. I am so grateful for the time spent on this project together.

  • Much ado about shrubs

    Playing games while driving in the car has always been fun for our family. While traveling to Grayslake earlier this summer, we invented a new game. It is called ‘Dead Ash’. The concept is that whenever you see a dead ash tree you try to be the first to yell ‘Dead Ash’. Fortunately and not surprisingly, I won.

  • Cultivating experience

    It seems that kind words so often come at just the right time. Although I try to be the one uttering the kind words, sometimes I am also the one hearing them.

  • What to do about weeding woes

    “What is a weed? I have heard it said that there are sixty definitions. For me, a weed is a plant out of place,” Donald Cullross Peattie once said.

  • Green thumbs are also for turning pages

    We are in the middle of the wonderful part of the year with our children. Summer means hanging out with the neighborhood kids, groups outings, staying up a bit late and sleeping in even later, seasonal jobs, and no homework except the perfunctory one book report due the first day of school.

  • Rain, rain go away, come back another day

    For the Fourth of July holiday, my children Sarah and Christopher and I flew down to Texas. We try to carve out some family time each summer, and this time it was in conjunction with witnessing my cousin receiving a prestigious award from NASA, visiting with many friends and, of course, a college visit to Texas A & M University.