Lemon-scented Plants

If you want to add some lemon zest to your garden, but can’t grow a lemon tree, consider trying some lemon-scented herbs or other plants. Many different plants contain the same chemical compounds that give lemons their distinctive fragrance. This article covers a collection of plants that have scents suggesting lemons.

Read More...

Amazing Plants

Although many plants are small or non-descript, or interesting primarily for their flowers, there are some really different or spectacular plants that might astonish you because of their size, form, rarity, or other unique features. Learn about a dozen really unusual plants from around the world in this article…

Read More...

The Italian Garden

If you’re looking for lots of beautiful flowers, the classic Italian garden is NOT the place to be looking. This style of garden focuses on  symmetry, grandeur and power over nature.  Intersecting axial lines, geometrically patterned beds, and evergreens pruned into geometric shapes intended to serve as a backdrop for sculpture, and dramatic water features are just some of the hallmarks of this historic type of garden that typically includes few flowers. Here’s an introduction to this formal garden style…

Read More...

Adding Winter Interest to Landscapes

Winter landscapes don’t have to be dull and boring. Without foliage, the underlying structure is revealed, and with many plants this is an opportunity to showcase features otherwise hidden – peeling bark, persistent fruit, and colorful stems are just a few. To learn more about selecting plants for their interest outside of the growing season, read this article…

Read More...

Dog Vomit Slime Mold, Fuligo septica

A frothy yellow or orange blob appears overnight on your mulch pile or under wood chip-mulched shrubs. Aliens attacking? Fido upchucked its dinner? No, just the harmless slime mold Fuligo septica. To learn more about this common, but often disconcerting, fungus-like organism, read this article…

Read More...

Winter Pruning

Almost all plants need some type of maintenance, and trees and shrubs are no exception. These woody plants will generally be healthier and more attractive if pruned appropriately. The best time for pruning deciduous trees and shrubs is in the winter, when they are leafless. To learn more about pruning trees and shrubs, read this article…

Read More...

Fluted Bird’s Nest Fungus, Cyathus striatus

You have to look close to see these tiny “eggs in a nest”, actually the fruiting bodies of a fungus that grows on dead wood, including on bark mulch and wood chips used in landscapes.  The miniature “nests” are actually quite common in damp, shady areas in Wisconsin. To learn more about fluted bird’s nest fungus, read this article…

Read More...

Using Manure in the Home Garden

Gardeners are always encouraged to incorporate organic matter into their soil. Manures are one good source that can also be used as a fertilizer. But the way that manure is treated and the animal it came from makes a big difference in fertility and how it should be used. To learn more about using manure in the home garden, read this article…

Read More...

Why Test Soil?

How much fertilizer should you use on your lawn or vegetable garden? Do you have sufficient organic matter in your soil? The only way to definitively answer these questions is to take a soil test. The results will help you determine what nutrients your plants should get for optimal growth. Get an introduction to the basics of soil tests in this article…

Read More...

The Buzz About Bees: Let’s Protect Our Pollinators

Bees are very important pollinators, critical to the production of many of the fruits and vegetables we enjoy, as well as the economic health of growers in Wisconsin and nationally. Wisconsin Secretary of Agriculture Ben Brancel discusses how the WI DATCP is protecting these essential insects in this article…

Read More...