Archive for August, 2014

Swamp Milkweed Is Monarch Butterfly’s Favorite

Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) is an erect, clump-forming, U.S. native plant indigenous to swamps, bottomlands and wet meadows (USDA hardiness zones 3 to 6). Obviously, it prefers moist soils but grows equally well in average, well-drained garden soils. Full sun is best, but copes with some light shade. As its common name indicates, it makes […]

English Oak Demands A Moist Well-drained Soil

Thinking about English oak (Quercus robur) brings to mind Robin Hood and Sherwood Forest. This majestic oak forms a broad spreading crown supported by a short sturdy trunk with a medium-brown, deeply-fissured bark (USDA hardiness zones 4-8). A young tree exhibits a pyramidal form. In a city park or golf course, it typically grows 50-70 […]

Mexican Sunflowers Thrive In A Hot Summer

Mexican sunflower (Tithonia rotundiloba) is a fast growing annual that produces vivid orange-red zinnia-like flowers from early summer to autumn frost. It is native to Mexico and Central America. Dark green leaves remain blemish-free all summer long. Snails and slugs are occasional pests during wet summers or when irrigated overhead. Plants grow 3-4 feet tall […]

Reawaken Your Garden This Fall

In many areas of the U.S., Labor Day traditionally signals return to school, the start of the football season, and an end to gardening for the year. Mother Nature surely did not schedule it this way. Here are ten plants (plus an extra) that are blooming in late August thru the coming weeks: Stonecrops or […]

Start A New Fescue Lawn In The Fall

Likely, summer heat and drought have taken their toll on your home lawn. Late summer and fall are opportune times to start a new home lawn. Rainfall is usually plentiful and cooler day-night temperatures should spur a rapid grass recovery. If your home lawn is mostly weeds, including unwanted bermuda grass, think about starting over. […]

Avoiding Crape Myrtle Hardiness Problems

Late summer (September 1st) is your deadline to plant crape myrtles (Lagerstroemia spp.) in USDA hardiness zone 6. Your primary objective should be to grow deep plant roots. Crape myrtles are classified as perennials in northerly areas of zone 6. In many years their woody branches die back after a cruel cold winter. The hardy […]

Exclamation™ London Plane Tree Is A Game-Changer

Exclamation! London Plane Tree (Platanus x acerifolia Exclamation!™) is probably one the most improved cultivars to date (USDA hardiness zones 4-8). Exclamation! was introduced by Dr. George Ware at the Morton Arboretum and released through the Chicagoland Grows® program. Exclamation! develops a strong central leader, a uniform upright pyramidal shape (when young), a vigorous growth […]

The Giant Or Jumbo Class Of Hostas

The “Giant” class of hostas is aptly named. Cultivars in this class are novelties. Their enormous leaves and plant sizes (height and spread) definitely will make a bold statement in any garden. To attain their glorious best in plant majesty and leaf size, each cultivar must have a compost-rich, moist, well-drained soil with pH between […]

Tall Sedum – The New Mailbox Plant

Tall sedums (Sedum x spectabile) are a popular late summer blooming perennial often nicknamed “showy stonecrops” (USDA hardiness zones 3-9). Members of the succulent plant family, tall sedums have thick round leaves and are recognized for their drought resistance. Star shaped flowers are clustered in colors ranging from whites, pinks, and reds, depending on the […]

Four Old Fashioned Hostas Continue To Delight

During my annual summer travel to public gardens around the U.S., several clumps of old-timey hostas that were popular in the 1960’s and ’70’s caught my eye. These hosta beauties still own their garden place. Here are listed only four, but there are so many more. ‘Gold Standard’is an old-time favorite. In August multiple pink-lavender […]