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Dave's Garden Articles: By Angela Carson

Monday, August 25, 2014

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Invasive Japanese Honeysuckle: In Hindsight, Not Such a Good Idea!
By Angela Carson (Bookerc1)

It is a familiar story: a non-native species is introduced to an area with the best of intentions, to meet a specific need or fulfill a craving for something new and different. Before long, it is thriving beyond all expectation, and the native species in the area begins to suffer.

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Saturday, August 16, 2014

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Freezing Corn: Easy as Child's Play
By Angela Carson (Bookerc1)

I fondly remember an August tradition from my childhood, when much of the family would converge at my grandmother's home in rural Iowa. For an entire week, my cousins and I helped Grandma preserve the daily haul of sweet corn until we had frozen enough corn for all of our families to enjoy throughout the coming year. If you have never frozen your own vegetables, this would be an excellent first project!

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

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Restore That Old Cast Iron Cookware, Using Ingredients You Probably Already Have!
By Angela Carson (Bookerc1)

With all the concern about chemicals leaching from non-stick cooking surfaces into our food, there has been a resurgence of interest in cooking in cast iron pans. Many people have remembered the old cast iron cookware stashed somewhere in their basement or attic, perhaps handed down from their parents or grandparents, and gazed in dismay at the results of neglect. Don't give up on that rusty, crusty pan! You can restore it, using ingredients that most gardeners and cooks keep on hand in the pantry!

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Monday, June 30, 2014

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Russell Lupines: The Story Behind the Glory of Those Colorful Spires
By Angela Carson (Bookerc1)

Lupines, also known as lupins, are lovely garden flowers, and inspire a quiet passion in the people who fall in love with their spiky elegance. Read on to learn how the elegant spires of this plant inspired the lifework of a little-known British gardener from York, George Russell (1857-1951).

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Friday, June 27, 2014

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Citronella Geranium: Is It Really a Mosquito Repellent?
By Angela Carson (Bookerc1)

Even in the gardening world, we should remember that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Such was the case with the promise that the leaves of citronella geraniums, also known as Mosquito Plant, would repel the mosquitoes that find me so very irresistible!

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Friday, April 25, 2014

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Attract Bats to Your Garden with a Bat House
By Angela Carson (Bookerc1)

How much do you know about bats? If you answered that bats live in caves, you may be surprised to learn that many species spend the summer months in warmer locales, such as under bridges, in the eaves of buildings or houses, or nestled in trees. Spring, when the bats are emerging from their wintertime slumber, is the perfect time to install a bat house and invite these insect-eating mammals to share your garden airspace!

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

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Bats and White Nose Syndrome: Why We Should ALL Be Concerned
By Angela Carson (Bookerc1)

Joni Mitchell once famously sang, “Don't it always seem to go / That you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone.” I sincerely hope that isn't the case with the native bat populations in the United States, but the prognosis is grim. A mysterious disease, White Nose Syndrome, is spreading inexorably westward through the country, decimating the native bat communities. Read on to see why you, as a gardener, farmer, or simply a consumer, should be concerned.

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

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Increasing the Winter Humidity Levels for Your Houseplants
By Angela Carson (Bookerc1)

You've probably noticed how the dry, cold air of winter plays havoc on our skin, hair, and lips. We suffer chapped and peeling lips and skin, and dry, static-y hair. Our house plants suffer from the dry air in our houses, as well. Read on for some simple ideas to add humidity to your house and offer relief for the people and plants alike!

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Saturday, February 1, 2014

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Creating Colorful Classrooms with Blooming Bulbs
By Angela Carson (Bookerc1)

As a teacher, I always like to have living things in my classroom (other than the children, of course!). Whenever possible, I keep fish, lizards, or even small rodents, and I always, always have plants in my classroom. Immediately after Christmas is a wonderful time to force bulbs with the kids. I have learned not to begin this project prior to Christmas, as the class misses out on the opportunity to witness the rapid growth, and sometimes even the fragrant blooms, while they are gone over Christmas break.

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

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Mulling Spices: Create Your Own Winter Traditions
By Angela Carson (Bookerc1)

In much of the world, winter brings chilled fingers, raspy throats, and increased stress, as we hurry around preparing for the holidays, or recovering from them! A hot mulled beverage is the perfect way to slow down, warm up from the inside out, and reflect on the traditions that have stood the test of time. Mix up some mulling spices for your family, or package some up for a friend!

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Monday, November 11, 2013

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Sugar Maple Trees: So Much to Offer!
By Angela Carson (Bookerc1)

If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, chances are you have a fondness for maple trees. Whether you are a connoisseur of maple syrups, a musician, a baseball player, a bowler, an archer, a wood-worker, or a seeker of stunning autumn colors, our lives would be much poorer without the splendid maple tree!

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Friday, October 25, 2013

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Would a Pumpkin By Any Other Name Taste as Sweet?
By Angela Carson (Bookerc1)

Would a pumpkin by any other name taste as sweet? What if you discovered it was actually a squash? Read on to discover all kinds of surprising facts about the pumpkins grown in Central Illinois.

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Monday, September 23, 2013

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A Case of Mistaken Identity: Is it a Bug, or a Beetle?
By Angela Carson (Bookerc1)

It was an honest case of mistaken identity, which could have led to the unnecessary use of pesticides. Read on to find out how we learned the difference between a bug and a beetle, and determined that there was no need to resort to chemicals at all! Our particular case dealt with box elder bugs and red lily beetles, but the information I share will be helpful to many gardeners trying to identify an unknown insect in their garden!

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

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Corn Detasseling: Understanding the Basics
By Angela Carson (Bookerc1)

Detasseling corn is a rite of passage for many in the Heartland of the United States. Read on for a clear explanation of what detasseling entails, and why it is so necessary.

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

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Dragon Tongue Beans: So Much More than a Pretty Face!
By Angela Carson (Bookerc1)

They may not be the magic beans of "Jack and the Beanstalk" fame, but these fancifully named beans are pretty amazing in their own right. The very name "Dragon Tongue beans" seems like something straight out of a fairy tale, but I can assure they that they perform very well in the real world.

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Friday, June 28, 2013

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Purple Loosestrife: Sometimes Beauty is a Beast
By Angela Carson (Bookerc1)

As a gardener, I tend to have an eye for beauty. Nothing restores my peace of mind like a perfect bloom, or a stunning sunset. However, gardening has one key element in common with real estate. It's all about location, location, location. A plant that is simply a lovely wildflower in one area of the world can be a devastating menace when relocated to an area where it is separated from its natural ecosystem. Purple loosestrife is just such a plant. While I can easily appreciate its beauty, I cannot ignore the fact that in the wrong location, this Beauty becomes a real Beast.

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

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A Bird in the Hand: What to Do If You Find a Baby Bird
By Angela Carson (Bookerc1)

As Spring matures and edges into early summer, many gardeners will encounter baby birds in their yards. Do you know what to do if you find a baby bird out of the nest?

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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

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Spring Freeze: How Will It Affect My Flowering Trees and Shrubs?
By Angela Carson (Bookerc1)

Spring is a difficult season for gardeners. We alternate between elation and concern as we watch the weather forecasts. Warmer temperatures and longer days give us hope that winter is past, while late freezes and storms cause anxiety for the plants that have already begun to emerge from their winter dormancy. Spring-flowering trees and shrubs are particularly at risk when the temperatures plummet.

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Monday, March 25, 2013

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Spring Freeze! How Will It Affect My Spring-flowering Bulbs?
By Angela Carson (Bookerc1)

Every year, I start searching my flower beds in February and March for signs of life. Something inside me rejoices to see the green foliage tips pressing upward through the soil, promising that warmer temperatures are just around the corner. At the same time, I feel a certainly motherly anguish: will nature play a nasty trick on me and send a late freeze or a freak blizzard? If so, how will my bulbs survive?

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Monday, March 4, 2013

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Bakers Yeast and Sourdough Starter: It Looks Alive to Me!
By Angela Carson (Bookerc1)

Despite the bleak winter vista outside, there is plenty growing and thriving inside my kitchen, and I don't mean in the pots on my kitchen windowsill. There is another organism, sometimes referred to as “the oldest plant cultivated by man,” bubbling away in the safety of a half-gallon jar in my refrigerator. It is an active colony of wild yeasts, my own living sourdough starter, frothing in a simple concoction of flour and water.

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Friday, February 22, 2013

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Celebrate February 23, National Banana Bread Day
By Angela Carson (Bookerc1)

It seems there is a designated day to celebrate just about everything anymore. I was amused to find that there is a day dedicated to banana bread, too! What a great excuse to warm up your kitchen by baking a moist, fragrant batch of banana bread!

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Friday, February 15, 2013

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Why Not Give Up? Gardening Despite the Challenges
By Angela Carson (Bookerc1)

With all of the excellent information at my fingertips, and all the knowledge I've gained over the years, I have a sincere question to ask. Why is my garden such a disorganized mess? And what keeps me going, year after year, despite the fact that it never quite lives up to the dream in my head? Why not just. . .give up?

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Monday, January 28, 2013

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Mother of Thousands, Kalanchoe daigremontiana: Controlling the Population Explosion!
By Angela Carson (Bookerc1)

A little over a year ago, I stumbled across a little plant in a pot at a botanical garden plant sale. It immediately brought back childhood memories of the same plant growing in a pot in my parents' living room. As a child, I was fascinated by the way the plant, which my mother called a Piggyback Plant, would reproduce. Instead of setting seed or sending out runners, it formed dozens of tiny plantlets along the jagged edges of the leaves. When I found a specimen again as an adult, I had to purchase it! I thought it would be interesting for my own kids, as well as in the classroom. Let me introduce you to this fascinating plant!

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

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Popular Christmas Tree Varieties: Which One is Right for You?
By Angela Carson (Bookerc1)

The Christmas season is upon us, and many of us are once again bringing the lovely tradition of the Christmas tree into our homes. If you prefer a “real” Christmas tree to an artificial one, there are many varieties available. Which one best suits your needs? Read on to find out!

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Monday, November 26, 2012

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Poison Oak: How to Identify It, and What to Do if You've Been Exposed
By Angela Carson (Bookerc1)

This is the third and final article in a series on urushiol-producing plants (poison ivy, poison sumac, and poison oak) in the Toxicodendron family. About 2 million people in the United States are affected each year by this trio of plants. Poison oak is the least widespread of the three, which is fortunate, because it can also be the most difficult to decisively identify!

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

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Poison Sumac: How to Identify It, and What to Do if You've Been Exposed
By Angela Carson (Bookerc1)

Sumac trees rank among the most intensely colorful trees in the autumn, with their unmistakably brilliant red compound leaves. They may be small in stature, but the visual impact of a swathe of sumacs in the autumn is without compare. Does that blazing scarlet stand of sumac trees pose any danger? Read on to learn the difference between poison sumac and its harmless cousins!

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

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Poison Ivy: Identification, Treatment, and Removal
By Angela Carson (Bookerc1)

Gardeners quickly learn to identify their favorite plants, even when they are not in bloom. Just as importantly, however, we need to learn to identify plants that cause irritation and allergic reactions! To that end, this article will help you identify poison ivy in its various stages, and provide some information about why we react, what to do if you have skin exposure, and how to eliminate it from your yard and garden!

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

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White Snakeroot and Milk Sickness: The Toxic Plant that Killed Nancy Hanks Lincoln
By Angela Carson (Bookerc1)

It was the summer of 1816, and settlers were pushing westward into new, largely unsettled areas of the United States. Among these early settlers was a family with a now well-known name: Lincoln. These settlers brought along the basic necessities to help them build a new life in the west, along with their livestock. Cows were treasured, both as a source of meat and of milk, and it is particularly tragic that they were the indirect transmitters of an affliction the settlers had not encountered before: milk sickness.

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Friday, July 27, 2012

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New Guinea Impatiens: the Sun-tolerant Version of the Popular Bedding Plant
By Angela Carson (Bookerc1)

As gardeners, many of us are familiar with impatiens, a staple annual in many shady flower beds. New Guinea impatiens, however, are a near relative that can thrive in partial sun as well as mostly shady areas. This colorful plant can pack a real punch, with intensely colored blooms and attractive variegated foliage. Between the shade varieties and the partial-sun varieties, impatiens have become so popular that they have replaced petunias as the most popular bedding plant!

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

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Chiggers: the Myths and the Facts!
By Angela Carson (Bookerc1)

If you want to get someone really worked up, just mention a common summertime pest like chiggers, and listen to the results! You'll undoubtedly be regaled with all kinds of "facts" about chiggers, and remedies for their oh-so-uncomfortable bites. Let's take a look at some of the common misperceptions about chiggers, and set the facts straight!

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

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Poison Hemlock: A Killer Masquerading as a Queen
By Angela Carson (Bookerc1)

Any historian or genealogist will tell you that every family has its celebrities, and likewise its more deviant members. The plant world is much the same. Within the parsley family, you will find both the popular wildflower, Queen Anne's Lace, and its near look-alike cousin, the poison hemlock.

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Friday, June 15, 2012

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Garlic Scapes: Don't Miss This June Delicacy!
By Angela Carson (Bookerc1)

It is mid-June, and on my last visit to my vegetable garden, I noticed that my nearby hardneck garlic patch looked armed and dangerous. Each stem aimed a pointed arrowhead toward me, as if to fend off an attack.

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

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Blanket Flower, aka Gaillardia: A Blanket You'll WANT on Those Hot Summer Days
By Angela Carson (Bookerc1)

Plant this colorful, sturdy plant now for a burst of bright, citrusy color in the summer and fall garden! Planting them in late spring and early summer allows them to get established. Once they have settled in to their new location, they will laugh off all the heat and dry conditions that summer can throw at them!

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

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The Fundamentals of Herb Gardens
By Angela Carson (Bookerc1)

Herb gardens are a wonderful addition to your home garden! A wide variety of gardeners will find something to appeal to their interests, whether they love to cook, make flavorful teas, pamper themselves with home spa products, or just enjoy the additional wildlife that an herb garden can draw!

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

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Peas, Please! English, Snow, or Sugar Snap?
By Angela Carson (Bookerc1)

Peas are grown worldwide, and in fact are one of the earliest known cultivated crops. Read on to learn a little more about these popular little legumes!

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Monday, April 16, 2012

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A Pocket Full of Posies
By Angela Carson (Bookerc1)

Poor little posies, what did they ever do to deserve an unfair association with something as horrible as the Great Plague?

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Friday, April 6, 2012

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Louis Comfort Tiffany and Clara Driscoll: Bringing Nature's Beauty to Light
By Angela Carson (Bookerc1)

As a gardener, I have a special appreciation for artists that capture the beauty of nature. I think this is why the work of Louis Comfort Tiffany (1846-1933) has always appealed to me. His stained glass lamps and windows take some of my best-loved garden plants, and translate them into an entirely different medium, without losing the beauty of irregularity and random shapes.

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

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Jequirity Beans: Those Poisonous Pretties
By Angela Carson (Bookerc1)

I recently saw a brief news release, announcing the recall of a particular bracelet made of jequirity beans sold by the Eden Project in the UK. They warned of the potential for accidental fatal poisonings, and recommended that anyone who had purchased one enclose it in a sealed bag and return it immediately. I was intrigued; I knew that castor beans were highly poisonous, but hadn't ever heard of jequirity beans. What I learned surprised me! These little legumes are, indeed, dangerously toxic!

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Friday, December 23, 2011

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My Grandmother's Christmas Cactus
By Angela Carson (Bookerc1)

This time of year always brings both a flood of joy and a tinge of sadness as I think of the dear family members who are no longer with us. I have a vivid, colorful reminder of my grandmother, Gladys Nichols, in the form of her treasured Christmas cactus, which breaks into bloom every December on my enclosed porch.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

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Jack Frost
By Angela Carson (Bookerc1)

When I was a little girl, I loved the idea of Jack Frost. I pictured him as a slight little elf, all dressed in white and blue, who traveled with a magic paintbrush. He decorated our windows, turned each grass blade to a diamond-clad work of art, and could imitate the delicacy of a feather like no painter I'd ever seen.

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