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Ask Rosie: July 2023

Posted on Jun 27, 2023 in Backyard

Q: Do you know what this plant is? — Shelley Oberwetter, Culver, Indiana A: It would be helpful to know the context of where this plant is located: Is it something you planted in a garden? Or did you find it growing “wild”? Do you notice a strong odor when handling the foliage, said to… Continue reading.

Tomatoes are tops for summer crops

Posted on Apr 25, 2023 in Backyard

By B. Rosie Lerner Most gardeners would agree that tomatoes are the most popular crop for home growing. But what gardeners can’t agree on is what tomato is considered the best, since taste is such a personal matter. The diversity of cultivars available makes it easy for anyone to grow tomatoes even if all you… Continue reading.

A ‘poplar’ choice

Posted on Feb 24, 2023 in Backyard

If you’ve ever had to work on a tree leaf collection, no doubt you included a leaf from Indiana’s state tree. Also known as tulip poplar, yellow poplar, or tulip tree, the tuliptree is actually not a poplar at all. It is a member of the magnolia family known botanically as Liriodendron tulipifera. The tuliptree… Continue reading.

Ask Rosie: November 2022

Posted on Oct 29, 2022 in Backyard

Q: Does the length of the sweet potato vine affect the yield? I have some 6 feet long. Should these be cut back to about 3 feet? — Allan McKinley, Borden A: Cutting back sweet potato vines is not generally recommended. Healthy vigorous vines generally should improve yield. Although overabundance of nitrogen can promote foliage… Continue reading.

Spotting the invasive spotted lanternfly

Posted on Oct 03, 2022 in Backyard

The invasive spotted lanternfly has landed in northern Indiana. The pest was seen in Huntington County in July, just one year after its initial Hoosier sighting in Switzerland County. The spotted lanternfly, easily identified by a splash of red on its wings and almost polka dot spots, is native to China and was first detected… Continue reading.

Ask Rosie: August 2022

Posted on Jul 22, 2022 in Backyard

Longtime Indiana Connection contributor B. Rosie Lerner, a Tipmont REMC consumer, is a retired Purdue Extension consumer horticulturist. Questions about gardening issues may be sent to “Ask Rosie,” Indiana Connection, 8888 Keystone Crossing, Suite 1600, Indianapolis, IN 46240-4606, or use the form at Here she answers some of your backyard-related questions. Tough Beans? Here… Continue reading.

Ask Rosie: Leaf test is not always dependable

Posted on Mar 23, 2022 in Backyard

Q: I occasionally come across vines that I try to identify to avoid poison ivy. On a recent encounter in Paoli, Indiana, in early October, I thought I was prepared knowing that poison ivy has three leaves and Virginia creeper has five leaves, according to numerous sources. When I inspected the vine in question, to… Continue reading.

Ask Rosie: October 2021

Posted on Sep 26, 2021 in Backyard

Controlling Creeping Charlie Q: How can I safely control/stop Creeping Charlie in the garden? Don Kochert, Floyds Knobs, Indiana A: Creeping Charlie (also known as ground ivy) is an herbaceous perennial that spreads by seed as well as horizontal, above-ground stems called stolons or runners. These runners are easy to hand pull, especially after rain… Continue reading.

Ask Rosie: August 2021

Posted on Jul 26, 2021 in Backyard

Limelight pruning primer Q: I have 124 Limelight Hydrangeas in my yard (it’s a big yard). They are 8 years old. I’ve pruned them every winter. They bloom profusely and are in great shape. My question is: Can I skip a year pruning them, and, if so, how might that impact them?  Greg Kubala, via email … Continue reading.

Ask Rosie: July 2021

Posted on Jun 26, 2021 in Backyard

By B. Rosie Lerner Battling the mighty mite Q: We have lived in our home in the country since 2004. I always hang several Boston Ferns off our deck which became beautiful and huge. I never had a problem until last year; something attacked them — maybe a very small black mite — and just… Continue reading.

Ask Rosie: May 2021

Posted on Apr 22, 2021 in Backyard

Flummoxed by white oak slime Q: About 18 months ago, my 30-year-old oak tree started weeping a liquid about 15 feet up on one side. A couple of branches way above it appeared to die off. The rest of the tree seemed OK. Later the backside seemed to crack in several places and a liquid… Continue reading.

Ask Rosie: April 2021

Posted on Mar 25, 2021 in Backyard

By B. Rosie Lerner Q: Twenty years ago, I planted six Norway spruce trees around the house. Now they are 45- to 50-feet tall and started to lose needles back in November 2020 by the hundreds. Could it be a disease or squirrels are chewing them off to make a nest? Do Norway spruce have… Continue reading.

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