Wearin’ O’ Green

Wearin’ O’ the Green On a day when everyone becomes a little Irish, many will enjoy a pint of green beer, some corn beef and cabbage, take in a parade or two, or watch the Chicago River turn green. Another popular symbol of St. Patrick’s Day is the shamrock. It’s seen on jewelry, t-shirts, and […]

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Earthworms – Friend or Foe?

Earthworms (Lumbricus spp.) have been valued for their importance to the soil for thousands of years. The Greek philosopher Aristotle referred to worms as “the intestines of the earth.” Cleopatra declared earthworms sacred – removing an earthworm from Egypt was punishable by death. Charles Darwin was so fascinated by earthworms, that he studied them for […]

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Gardening in February

Gardening in February February is the month when winter seems to have an icy grip on people and cabin fever sets in. The snow, the ice, the cold, and the wind seem to permeate every corner. For gardeners, it is still a bit early to start seeds, but it is not too early to get […]

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The Musclewood Tree

There is no question that landscapes are enhanced by the addition of trees. Certified Master Gardener Chris Jacobs addressed these assets in an excellent article, The Many Benefits of Trees, available at http://wimastergardener.org/sites/wimastergardener.org/files/locals/Dodge/articles/TheManyBenefitsofTrees-Nov2014.pdf . One thing to keep in mind when selecting a tree is diversity. When planting the same thing as all the neighbors, […]

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Pretty Penstemon

Pretty Penstemon In 2002, the Wisconsin Nursery and Landscape Association (WNLA) began a “Plant of the Year” program to promote “quality and underused plants to the public.” They established two categories: a woody ornamental category, which includes deciduous trees and shrubs, evergreens and vines; and a perennial category which includes herbaceous perennials, subshrubs, grasses, and […]


Naked Ladies

One of the joys of being a Master Gardener is that friends and family come to you for advice about their landscapes. Such was the case late this summer when my older brother called and asked if it was a good time to transplant some “naked ladies” from a neighbor’s garden to his. I must […]

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Norfolk Island Pine

Norfolk Island Pine Looking for something a little different this year from the customary poinsettia to decorate your home or give as a gift? Try the Norfolk Island pine (Araucaria heterophylla). This formal looking plant is readily found at big box stores and local florists this time of year in various sizes and prices. These […]

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Ornamental Grasses

Although the calendar indicates it is still autumn, looking out the window, it appears to be winter. The landscape is filled with snow and has a beauty all of its own. If your landscape is flat and boring, perhaps some additions of ornamental grasses would be just the ticket. Ornamental grasses add stunning backdrops, height, […]