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Dave's Garden Articles: By Lois Tilton

Thursday, September 25, 2014

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Grasses of the Tallgrass Prairie
By Lois Tilton (LTilton)

A photo tour of the grasses of a restored tallgrass prairie in Illinois.

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Saturday, June 21, 2014

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What's That Worm in My Apple?
By Lois Tilton (LTilton)

The first step in controlling the insect larvae that so often infest apples is identification. Once you know what it is, you've taken the first step in dealing with it. Here are some tips for identifying the most common species of larvae found in apples.

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Sunday, March 9, 2014

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Luther Burbank: Wizard of Horticulture
By Lois Tilton (LTilton)

March 7th, 2013 is 160th birthday of the Wizard of Horticulture, Luther Burbank, plant breeder and hybridizer.

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

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A Bonus of Blossoms from your February Fruit Tree Pruning
By Lois Tilton (LTilton)

Most people know that you should prune fruit trees when they are dormant, from the time when their leaves fall to late winter. But if you wait to prune until January or February, you will harvest a bonus in the form of branches that you can force into early bloom for a beautiful display indoors.

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Saturday, August 10, 2013

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Cantigny Gardens
By Lois Tilton (LTilton)

Armored tanks and rose gardens may strike you as an odd combination if you have never visited Cantigny Gardens in Wheaton, Illinois, which combines a military museum with well-tended lawns and flower beds that supply the visitor with hours of pleasure.

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Saturday, July 27, 2013

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Grow Lettuce Without Bolting
By Lois Tilton (LTilton)

Picking the right varieties can help gardeners grow heads of lettuce that don't bolt and turn bitter.

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

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The Lawn Invaders: Violets
By Lois Tilton (LTilton)

I wasn't always so ruthless. When the spouse first complained about the violets growing in the lawn, I protested, "But the little flowers in the grass are so pretty, so sweet!" Now I know better.

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Monday, March 18, 2013

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Iris pseudacorus - Threat or Menace?
By Lois Tilton (LTilton)

Years ago, in an excess of enthusiasm over experience, I built a small patio enclosing a very small rectangular pond. My plans were modest. I wanted to put in some kind of ornamental fountain, a few goldfish too fancy to feed to the garter snake, a water lily, and some kind of tall plant for contrast - a cattail or an iris, like the yellow flag, Iris pseudacorus. I also thought it would be nice to plant more of the iris along the border.

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

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The Invaders: Virginia Creeper
By Lois Tilton (LTilton)

Virginia creeper is a plant that generates profoundly different opinions among gardeners. Some call it desirable. Some call it invasive, while others mistakenly call it poison ivy.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

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Snow Cover
By Lois Tilton (LTilton)

Let it snow, let it snow! How snow cover can benefit your dormant trees and shrubs.

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

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Sweet Potatoes or Yams - Which is Which?
By Lois Tilton (LTilton)

While sweet potatoes and yams are both edible tubers, they otherwise have very little in common.

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

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Harvesting Apples
By Lois Tilton (LTilton)

Fall is apple picking time! Whether you have your own fruit trees or visit a "Pick Your Own" orchard, the best apples are the ones you pick yourself, fresh from the tree. Here are some tips for successful apple picking.

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Saturday, September 22, 2012

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Harvest Home: The Autumnal Equinox
By Lois Tilton (LTilton)

The Autumnal Equinox is the first day of fall, marking the beginning of the year's descent towards winter, when the days become shorter than the nights. It is celebrated worldwide by harvest festivals, as farmers bring in the year's crops.

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Sunday, August 5, 2012

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A Star Trek Garden
By Lois Tilton (LTilton)

A theme garden is a great way to combine your other hobbies and interests with gardening. One DG member has created a Star Trek garden to showcase her love of both daylilies and science fiction.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

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The Prairie from Late Summer through Fall
By Lois Tilton (LTilton)

A fall photo tour of a restored tallgrass prairie in Illinois. This article, the last in my series on the prairie, looks at the forbs in bloom from August through October.

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Monday, July 16, 2012

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Plums and Plumkins
By Lois Tilton (LTilton)

Nature has given us over a dozen different species of plums, but plant breeders keep providing us even more. Here are some tips to help you select the right plum trees for your orchard or backyard.

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Monday, June 25, 2012

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How Gross Are the Grubs?
By Lois Tilton (LTilton)

While there are several kinds of grubs that damage turfgrass, most are relatively harmless as adults. The most notable exception is the destructive import, the Japanese Beetle. Once it emerges from the ground where it has been gnawing the roots of your plants, its life of destruction goes into high gear.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

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Summer Solstice Traditions
By Lois Tilton (LTilton)

Today is the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, the longest day of the year. It is also known in many places as Midsummer Day, although astronomically, it is only the beginning of summer.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

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Prairie Restoration: The Prairie Garden
By Lois Tilton (LTilton)

There has recently been significant progress in restoring sections of the original tallgrass prairie that once covered the center of the North American continent. Some gardeners likewise have attempted to recreate the prairie on a smaller scale in their own yards. Here is a guide for starting your own prairie garden.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

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Gardening for the Hungry
By Lois Tilton (LTilton)

There are many ways that gardeners can help feed the hungry, from an extra row in your own garden to a community project. Here are some suggestions straight from the food pantry.

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

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Mason Bees for Pollinating Your Fruit Trees
By Lois Tilton (LTilton)

With the decline of honeybee populations, fruit growers have been looking for alternatives to pollinate their crops. Native bees can be the solution, and mason bees are a more effective pollinator in the orchard than the honeybee.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

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The Invaders: Lily of the Valley
By Lois Tilton (LTilton)

I can't count the times I've seen some rampant planting that has overgrown its bounds and escaped its proper bed in my garden, and asked myself, WHAT WAS I THINKING??? But every spring, as the lily of the valley flowers open in May, I remember exactly what I was thinking when I planted them: that rich, overwhelming fragrance. For its sake, I almost forgive the plant's invasive ways. Even when I am digging and hacking them out of the places where they don't belong, I would never quite rid myself of them entirely, even if I could.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

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The Vernal Equinox: the Spring New Year
By Lois Tilton (LTilton)

Happy New Year! According to many of our ancestors and some cultures today, the new year begins on the Vernal Equinox, the first day of spring.

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

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The Invaders: Milkweed
By Lois Tilton (LTilton)

Breathes there a gardener who has never said: "It seemed like a good idea at the time"? If so, I am certainly not that gardener. It seemed like a very good idea when I first decided to let the milkweeds grow, but I have since discovered the drawbacks to this plant.

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

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The Invaders: Lamiastrum Yellow Archangel
By Lois Tilton (LTilton)

Most of the invasive plants I have dealt with were already growing here when I moved onto my current property. In the case of Yellow Archangel, though, I was the one who brought this plant into my garden. I actually paid real money for it! I have no one to blame but myself.

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Monday, January 23, 2012

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The Prairie In Winter
By Lois Tilton (LTilton)

A winter walk on the prairie, after the flood.

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Sunday, January 1, 2012

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Resolutions for the Gardener's New Year
By Lois Tilton (LTilton)

'Tis the season to bury old regrets under new resolutions. The garden lies dormant under its blanket of snow, covering last year's mistakes. The catalogs are piling up in the mailbox, filled with new inspiration. Anticipating the season, hope rises in the gardener like springtime sap, and I cry out: "This year it will all be different! This year I'll learn from my mistakes! This year I'll finally do it right!"

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Saturday, December 10, 2011

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Mistletoe Myth Reflects its Growth Habit
By Lois Tilton (LTilton)

In the Norse myth of the mistletoe, the trickster god Loki plotted against the bright god Baldr, whose mother Frigg had solicited an oath from every thing of earth, of sea and of sky, that they would not harm her son. However, Loki saw that the mistletoe was rooted, not in earth or sea or air, but in the bark of the oak tree, and thus not covered by Frigg's oath. He fashioned it into the weapon that slew Baldr, "the greatest evil ever to befall gods or men." This tale reflects the parasitic nature of the mistletoe, which sends its roots into a host tree and takes its nourishment from it.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

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Put Your Own Seasonal Harvest on Your Thanksgiving Table
By Lois Tilton (LTilton)

Thanksgiving is at its heart a harvest festival. Make the holiday special by featuring the seasonal bounty of your own garden on the table at your Thanksgiving feast.

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Friday, October 28, 2011

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The Corpse Plant
By Lois Tilton (LTilton)

Special for Halloween, a ghostly parasitic plant

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

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Don't Blame the Bees!
By Lois Tilton (LTilton)

Bees, which are valuable pollinators, are often blamed for the trouble caused by the aggressive wasps called yellow jackets. Here are some tips to help distinguish them.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

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The Prairie in Spring
By Lois Tilton (LTilton)

A photo tour of a restored northeastern tallgrass prairie with its spring-blooming native plants.

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

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Wildlife in Winter
By Lois Tilton (LTilton)

In regions where plants go dormant for the season and the ground freezes, the transition into winter requires wildlife to find different strategies for survival. Faced with the oncoming cold, creatures either hibernate, migrate, or adapt their behavior to changing conditions. Gardeners, too, may need to do some adapting.

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Sunday, September 5, 2010

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Plant Names from Myth: Narcissus
By Lois Tilton (LTilton)

One of the best-known Greek myths in which humans were changed into plants is the myth of Narcissus. But as it often turns out, the story is not quite so simple as it has been told.

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Monday, August 9, 2010

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The Invaders: Rudbeckia
By Lois Tilton (LTilton)

I used to be innocent. I used to be trusting. When a neighbor said, "Would you like some of these black-eyed Susans?" I never hesitated to plant them in my own garden. Now, being wiser and more disillusioned, I understand the universal truth: that when a gardener has large amounts of a plant she is eager to give away, there is usually a reason.

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Friday, June 11, 2010

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Sprouts for Salads
By Lois Tilton (LTilton)

You don't have to have a big garden to have freshly-grown greens in your salad every day, regardless of the season. You don't even have to have a garden at all. Anyone can grow zesty, crunchy fresh sprouts in the kitchen with a minimum of effort and expense.

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Sunday, May 2, 2010

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Lilacia Park Lilac Festival
By Lois Tilton (LTilton)

The Village of Lombard Illinois is known as the Lilac Village, and its showcase is Lilacia Park in the center of town. Every May, Lombard celebrates its Lilac Festival when the lilacs in the park are at their peak of bloom and fragrance.

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

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New Salad Greens for 2008 - Part I
By Lois Tilton (LTilton)

Commercial growers plant where the conditions are ideal for production of salad greens such as lettuce, but home gardeners need to cope with the seasonal weather in the zones where we live. Luckily, we can turn to the seed companies for new cultivars that are better able to stand the heat of harsh summers and mature more quickly. Every year there are new introductions as plant breeders develop different varieties.

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Friday, August 28, 2009

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Jane Austen's World of English Gardens
By Lois Tilton (LTilton)

A look at the gardens of the English countryside in the Regency period, through the novels of Jane Austen.

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Friday, July 10, 2009

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New Potatoes or Fingerlings?
By Lois Tilton (LTilton)

New potatoes and fingerlings are both tiny, tender and delicious. The difference is maturity.

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