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Assess pruning needs

Posted on Apr 01, 2017 in Backyard

By Rosie Lerner Now’s a good time to survey your landscape and decide what needs pruning following potential freeze injury late this winter, keeping in mind that not all plants need to be trimmed. Pruning generally stimulates new buds to develop and break dormancy, so this year we recommended delaying pruning to reduce freeze injury…. Continue reading.

Natural sweets for the sweet

Posted on Feb 01, 2017 in Backyard

By Rosie Lerner Looking for a fun gardening project for chasing away your winter blues? Why not try growing Stevia in your windowsill garden. It may not be the most ornamental of plants, but hopefully will present a sweet reward for your efforts. Stevia rebaudiana, also known as sweetleaf and sugarleaf, is a low-growing, tender,… Continue reading.

butterfly milkweed

Butterfly milkweed named 2017 Perennial of the Year

Posted on Jan 03, 2017 in Backyard

By Rosie Lerner The Perennial Plant Association has named butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa), as its 2017 Perennial Plant of the Year. With much focus on pollinator habitat these days, butterfly milkweed is a terrific selection. Butterfly milkweed flowers play host to a wide range of butterflies, and milkweed foliage is the food source for monarch… Continue reading.

sage leaves

The season for sage

Posted on Dec 01, 2016 in Backyard

By Rosie Lerner Holiday dinners filled with the fragrance of sage-dusted turkey and dressing may be an American tradition, so it may surprise you to know that the sage plant, Salvia officinalis, is native to the Mediterranean. Sage is actually a diverse group of herbs belonging to the genus Salvia, many species of which are… Continue reading.

Prepare your lawn equipment for winter hibernation

Posted on Nov 01, 2016 in Backyard

November has arrived, and winter temperatures will be here soon. That means it’s time to put away your summer outdoor power equipment — such as lawn mowers and string trimmers — and take out the equipment you will need this winter — such as snow throwers and generators. The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute offers the… Continue reading.


Early pumpkins may need temporary storage

Posted on Sep 26, 2016 in Backyard

By B. Rosie Lerner It seems that pumpkins often mature much earlier than we would like, and this year may be one of those times. Although the season got off to a slow start, the second half of summer was extremely warm and may have brought the pumpkins on in a hurry. And unfortunately, the… Continue reading.

Ask Rosie

Posted on Sep 01, 2016 in Backyard

‘Endless Summer’ never even arrived I know you’ve addressed the ever-frustrating and puzzling hydrangeas that refuse to bloom, but I’m reaching out as a final attempt to solve the mystery of my disappointing non-bloomers. I’ve done everything I can think of, including fertilizing, researching optimum soil and light conditions, careful pruning of only old blooms… Continue reading.


Say ‘hi’ to popular, confusing hydrangea

Posted on Aug 01, 2016 in Backyard

By B. Rosie Lerner Hydrangeas are popular, but understandably confusing! There are about 25 species, though only five are primarily grown in the U.S. There are literally thousands of cultivars. Some species are classified as either mophead (all large, sterile florets) or lacecap (fertile, center florets surrounded by larger, sterile florets), depending on cultivar. The… Continue reading.

Leaves of three …

Posted on May 01, 2016 in Backyard

By B. Rosie Lerner Most gardeners have heard the advice “leaves of three, let it be” — referring to the pest plant poison ivy. While not quite as catchy, the saying really should be “leaflets of three, let it be.” Poison ivy leaves are compound rather than simple — a single leaf is divided into… Continue reading.

Diagnosis not good for damaged trees

Posted on Apr 27, 2016 in Backyard

Our beautiful yellow “butterfly” magnolia tree is losing bark at the base area of tree. I was desperate and sprayed it, but the damage appears to be spreading up the tree. Can you please tell us what is damaging this tree? — Edward Laughlin, Holland, Ind. It is difficult to determine the initial cause of… Continue reading.

Start your seeds

Posted on Apr 01, 2016 in Backyard

By B. Rosie Lerner Growing your own garden transplants from seed may take some extra work, but it does have its advantages. You’ll have a much wider choice of species and cultivars since most garden centers have limited space and tend to carry primarily the plants that sell quickly. Rather than having to buy a… Continue reading.

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