A Turtlehead Tutorial

Turtlehead, Chelone spp., is one of the great flowers of the late summer garden.  Flowers are either pink or white and are shaped like, you guessed it, a turtle’s head. Turtlehead is a great pollinator plant, adding a tapestry of color and flight to the garden. The plant must have an impish streak too because…

Checkered White

It’s always a joy to see something new visiting the garden.  This past weekend I was out and about in the yard and spotted a new butterfly to me, the Checkered White (Pontia protodice).  A handsome butterfly that appears white with brown markings and (to me) a powdery blue body.  This was something that I…

Stupendous Liatris

You may be aware of the spiked gayfeather that graces florist bouquets, but this is just the beginning of all Liatris has to offer.  People unfamiliar with the plant are often surprised to find out it is a native.  Nothing beats the intense purple color of flower spikes that manage to hold themselves up without…

Hand Picking Japanese Beetles

If you have a small Japanese beetle invasion, or you’ve decided not to use an insecticide, there are some tips you can utilize when hand-picking them. First, the JB response to disturbance is to drop straight down from the plant.  You can position your bucket of soapy water beneath the branch you’re tapping and use…

When Treating for Japanese Beetles Isn’t a Good Idea

Those pesky Japanese beetles have broad appetites!  They feed on roses, trees, perennials, vines and even our vegetable plants.  Knocking them into a pail of soapy water is certainly a satisfying (read vengeful) way to keep their numbers down.  But when their numbers are overwhelming, it’s tempting to look for an insecticide to stop the…

National Pollinator Week: Soldier Beetles

What a happy combination—soldier beetles and butter daisies! The soldier beetle, Chauliognathus spp., is a ½ inch long insect that gets its name from its wing covers, which resemble a uniform. It may remind you of the lighting bug, and rightly so, since they are related. Both the larvae and adults of soldier beetles feed…

Right Plant, Right Place

By now, many garden enthusiasts are familiar with the phrase, Right Plant, Right Place (RPRP).  Yet, still many others are not.  Our Master Gardeners talk with them every day.  Whichever camp you fall into, a brief primer can be helpful.  RPRP is a guiding principle whose only goal is to achieve success with every tree,…

Plant a Miniature Garden for the Wee Folk!

  A miniature garden is fun to put together and does not require a large investment of money.  Whether your preferred wee folk are fairies, gnomes or elves, it’s a great recycling effort to use things you’d throw out, find in the yard and score from garage sales. Rule number 1 is there’s a good…

The Paradoxical Echinacea

You’re probably familiar with the purple coneflower, Echinacea purpurea.  It’s a beautiful native plant that is often plagued with an incurable disease known as aster yellows.  If you’re fed up with digging out and discarding your purple coneflowers for this reason, try its cousin, the Ozark coneflower, Echinacea paradoxa. The “paradox” owes to the flower…