More than 82 million Americans feed wild birds. This isn't a new phenomenon. Wild bird feeders and birdbaths date back to ancient Egypt and other cultures. A 120-year history of American bird feeding is documented in the new book "Feeding Wild Birds in America" by Paul Baicich, Margaret Barker and Carrol Henderson. This book gives a history of ...Read more
You still have a couple of weeks to buy presents for the gardener on your gift list. Here are a few more ideas that will be appreciated:
A lot of people grow herbs indoors in small pots over the winter. The small pots are hard to take care of. They dry out too fast and tip over easily. A larger -- but not too large -- pot would be helpful, but ...Read more
With holiday shopping in full swing, I have a few suggestions for the gardener on your list. When I am working in my yard, I am constantly going back and forth into the house. I hate having to stop and untie my boots before I come inside, so I don't. Sometimes (my wife says often) I track some dirt into the house. Apparently, a clean floor is ...Read more
The growing season may be over for the gardener in your family, but the gift-giving season is just getting started. The gardener on your shopping list may tell you that he has all the gardening tools he needs, but I have a few here that he probably doesn't have and would be glad to receive.
I like combining several small items into one larger ...Read more
Q: I saw a display of Paperwhite narcissus and amaryllis bulbs at the store. The sign said that the bulbs didn't even need to be watered -- they would just grow and bloom on their own. That seems too good to be true. I bought several. What kind of soil and pot should I plant them in? Can I plant them outdoors in the spring?
A: The Paperwhite ...Read more
Q: We moved from California to Wisconsin back in June. One of my neighbors said that he fertilizes his lawn in November. I know there is a difference between my old warm-season lawn and a cool-season lawn, but November, really? What do you think?
A: You are right; there is a big difference in the lawn grasses from the warm south to the cool ...Read more
Q: Wild animals have been coming around our neighborhood at night and causing a lot of trouble. We think it's raccoons, but we have not seen them. What can we do to keep them out of our yard?
A: Urban wildlife comes in all sorts of species and sizes. Animals that we tend to think of as only being found in rural areas or forest preserves are ...Read more
Q: I have a friend who is having trouble with dogs going to the bathroom in her flowerbeds. She has tried ammonia, mothballs and red pepper. She isn't having any luck. Do you have any ideas?
A: Well, that depends on the answers to several questions. First, are they her dogs? If they are hers, training them to use another area may be possible. ...Read more
Q: My pumpkin vine only has a few small pumpkins on it. It is too late this year, but what can I do next year to get better pumpkins?
A: Pumpkins, squash, cucumbers, melons, cantaloupes, watermelons and gourds are all vines that like hot weather and lots of water at the same time. Pumpkins like to stay well-watered. If the soil dries out too ...Read more
Q: A friend of mine said my garden has clay loam soil. I am not sure if he meant it in a good way or not. Is clay loam a good soil for a garden?
A: Soil is made of three major components. They are minerals, water and air. Without the pores that allow water and air movement, the soil will not support many plants.
The mineral components of clay,...Read more
Q: We have a summer cabin that is in a wooded area. The trees in the woods are getting old, and not too many young trees are growing. We want to plant some of the seeds from the existing trees, but we won't be able to tend to them very often, as the property is about a six-hour drive from home.
We mainly want them to grow them on one side of ...Read more
I have a fondness for the flowers in the lily family. I especially like some of the unusual ones that are easy to grow in the landscape. Colchicums have virtually no pests and reliably bloom and spread with no care.
The genus is native to Europe, Africa and Asia. Coming from such a wide area, the plants have a wide variety of common names ...Read more
Q: My old maple tree has a few dead, bare branches at the top, and next to them, there are a couple of branches with leaves that started turning brown and getting their fall color in the middle of the summer. What can I do to save the rest of the tree? This summer was dry, but we did try to water the tree a couple of times.
A: When any tree has...Read more