Winter Water

When we think of droughts we often think of soaring heat, lack of rainfall and summer.  We never stop and think that a drought can happen anytime of the year in any season.  Winter droughts do as much damage, maybe even more, as summer droughts.  This is because we tend to not think about our…

Boo!

A few weeks ago I blogged about plant names and how they can be misleading.  Since Halloween is only a week away I thought I would share with you three of my favorite spooky plants: Death Camass, Bloodroot and Skeleton Weed. Death Camass (Zigadenus venenosus) is a native bulbous perennial that is found throughout the…

Voracious Vigorous Voles

They look like mice with short tails, but what problems do voles pose for our landscapes? These guys are granivores, so people that feed birds will naturally have more voles in their yard because bird seed is a whole bunch of grain that falls to the ground as the birds partake. It’s the fallen grain…

Autumn Hues of Yellow and Gold

The yellows and golds of autumn bring brightness and warmth to the landscape.  Sitting beneath my ash trees in the fall, the air is awash with a golden glow as the trees appear to be lit from within.  It’s truly magical. Sometimes I think we’re so fixated on the reds of autumn we fail to…

It’s Time to Think About Spring-Flowering Bulbs

If you have a fall to-do list, be sure to add “planting spring-flowering bulbs”.  New gardeners are enchanted when they see these harbingers of spring and are sometimes dismayed when they find that the time to plant spring-flowering bulbs is in the fall.  Spring-flowering bulbs pack a punch with their color, size range and adaptability. …

Peonies

Peonies are one of the longest lived herbaceous perennials.  Some anecdotal evidence reports upwards of 80+ years.  How did your peonies do this year?  Did they flower okay for you or have they started to fizzle in their performance.  Working with clients I have found two major sources for poor peony performance. 1.  planted to…

Nonstructural Carbohydrates—Say Again?

Nonstructural carbohydrates (NSC) are one of those quirks of nature that perplex gardeners when they come across these knobby underground things. They are a part of the plant but not a root per se even if they are underground.   Scientist don’t agree on why NSC exist but one thing that is known is they don’t…

Iris Clean Up

Bearded iris are a staple in the landscape.  They offer a burst of color when we need it the most in the spring.  Late summer is a great time to rejuvenate your iris beds.  Iris spread by underground stems called rhizomes. As they spread they tend to grow on top of neighboring plants. Before you…

Weed or Flower?

“Is this a weed or a flower?” – one of the most commonly asked questions I get here at the Extension Office.  I always answer: is it growing where it supposed to?  If not, then it is a weed.  A coneflower growing in a bluegrass lawn is a weed and bluegrass growing in a coneflower…

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…

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…