Chocolate plant Berlandiera lyrata

Chocolate for the Garden

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, many people turn to chocolate as the universally acceptable gift. Instead of going for the calorie laden type, consider trying something that will not add to the waistline. Give the gift of plants or seeds to make a “chocolate” garden. Some of the plants look like chocolate, but […]

Sweet Peppers in all colors

Sweet or Hot, Peppers are Popping

Since 1995, the International Herb Society has selected an “Herb of the Year”, basing their selection on three areas: culinary, medicinal, and decorative uses. In order to be selected, the herb must perform outstandingly in two of the three areas. The 2016 selection, peppers Capsicum ssp, meets the standard in all three. Peppers come in such […]

Woodpeckers are one bird that can be successfully attracted to backyard landscapes

A Garden for the Birds

For some people, a garden is not a garden without a few feathered friends to sing to them and cheer their efforts. The nice thing about including birds in the habitat is that many stay the winter and add enjoyment to those bland days when gardening is unattainable. As urban areas expand, habitat is lost […]

Brilliant foliage of Garden Phlox

The Fine, Fragrant Phlox

While the weather is now not conducive to gardening, it is a good time to plan for next year’s garden. It would be hard to find a landscape that could not accommodate phlox. This versatile, eye-catching perennial comes in a wide variety of colors and in both upright and low-growing types. There are sun-lovers and […]


Preventing Winter Animal Damage

It is that time of year to make a careful evaluation of landscape plants that might be damaged by animals that consider them a veritable smorgasbord. Marauding rodents, pesky deer, and other cute and cuddly-looking creatures can devastate and destroy ornamental grasses, perennials, evergreens, shrubs, and small trees if other food sources become scarce. Mice […]

Rotary Botanical Gardens - Mike Maddox Master Gardener Program Director

Botanical Gardens

Botanical Gardens – More Than Just a Pretty Place Millions of people visit botanical gardens across the world each year. The people that visit, and the reasons for visiting, are as diverse as the plants in the gardens. Botanic gardens (or botanical – the words are interchangeable) offer a way to connect with nature, provide […]


The Changing Leaves of Fall

Fall in Wisconsin means football, apple pie, pumpkin stands lining the roads, and a beautiful display of tree foliage. In fact, one of the many benefits of living in Wisconsin is the changing seasons and for a few weeks of fall, the trees put on a final glorious show of color before the growing season […]

Goldenrod Ragweed

Goldenrod vs. Ragweed

Did you have fall allergies? Did you blame goldenrod? Goldenrod usually gets blamed for fall allergies because it is highly visible compared to the true culprit, ragweed. Goldenrod (Solidago) and ragweed (Ambrosia) are both native plants which support native wildlife by providing food and cover for wildlife. Goldenrod is a perennial herb while ragweed is […]