Tete a Tete

April 1, 2014 0 comments

A greenhouse can be an ideal place to force daffodils into bloom in early spring. If the bulbs have been potted in fall and kept in a place that is cold but not freezing, they will have gotten the 12… Read More

STILL more winter!

February 26, 2014 0 comments

Early March is about when I ought to be perking up and getting out in the garden a little. I should be cutting back the dead hosta flower stalks and all the other debris I didn’t get cleared away in… Read More

The year of the science experiment

February 4, 2014 0 comments

It’s time to plan for seed starting, whether you have a greenhouse or an indoor light setup. And it looks like this year, once again, I will be starting my own tomatoes instead of buying grafted plants. I have looked… Read More

Companion Plants from the Rain Forest

January 8, 2014 0 comments

The first time I tramped a trail in a Costa Rican rain forest, while being buzzed by hummingbirds as thick as mosquitoes in Michigan, I looked at a vine clambering over a nearby tree and realized: Hey, that’s a philodendron.… Read More

A Retort for Winter’s early roar

November 26, 2013 0 comments

Winter has raged into Chicago. It was down in the teens a week before Thanksgiving, the kind of weather that freezes the soil like concrete and drives even diehard gardeners like me to the shelter of a greenhouse. I can’t… Read More

It’s high composting time in Chicago

October 30, 2013 0 comments

The trees are abandoning their leaves, the perennials are giving up on their leaves and stems and I’m dumping out my pots of annuals. And all the abandoned plant debris from the yard, garden or greenhouse ends up in the… Read More

The Frost Giant Cometh

October 2, 2013 0 comments

Now is the time I have to steel myself against the autumn gardener’s worst enemy: complacency. We’re having lovely weather at the beginning of October, with clear blue skies, low humidity and days in the upper 70s or low 80s.… Read More

September song

September 5, 2013 0 comments

Summer’s ending. Tomatoes are still on the vine, but they take longer to ripen now, as the days grow shorter. I’ve pinched off the blossoms so my plants can concentrate on ripening the fruits they already have and not setting… Read More

On The Sunset Shore

August 2, 2013 0 comments

I just got back from a week in southwestern Michigan, which is to Chicago what Cape Cod is to Boston. Sandy beaches with freshwater waves to splash in and spectacular sunsets are the main attractions, but they come with all… Read More

As Rain Falls, Trees Still Feel The Drought

July 2, 2013 0 comments

Last year in July, the upper Midwest was in the grip of a historic drought. What a difference a year makes: So far this year, we’ve had about 10 inches more rain than normal. The spring that came with the… Read More

Why a Hartley? Hartley Botanic