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Home & Garden


What’s in a (plant) name?

Have you ever wondered why plant people need to speak in Latin? Or do you even care? Well, in fact, it’s very important to use Latin names for plants. Following is a great example that I borrow from my colleague Jim Chatfield, who is quite good at teaching binomial nomenclature (more on that later). Let’s say you walk into a garden center and ask the salesperson for a red maple. She takes...
Resolve to put the right plant in the right place

Resolve to put the right plant in the right place

I have a suggested New Year’s resolution for gardeners, landscapers, and anyone else who plants trees, shrubs and any other plants: I resolve to plant the right plant in the right place! So many plant problems can be avoided by following this resolution. While shopping before the holidays, I went to a store in a new commercial development. The parking lot, trees, shrubs — all were new...

Time to think about fall lawn care

Once the rains came and our lawn greened up, we noticed some dead spots in the front yard. After checking for the common insect suspects and finding no symptoms, we determined it was simply due to the drought. The dead spots are small enough that they will likely fill in, since we have Kentucky bluegrass. This type of turfgrass spreads by rhizomes and with these good rains and a fall fertilization...
Playboy Mansion sold to Hugh Hefner's neighbor for $100 million

Playboy Mansion sold to Hugh Hefner's neighbor for $100 million

The infamous Playboy Mansion has been sold, The Associated Press reported Tuesday. PHOTOS: Playboy Mansion sold for $100 million According to the AP, Hugh Hefner sold the 5-acre Los Angeles estate, which has hosted countless racy parties since the Playboy founder purchased it for $1.

Water is essential for plant survival

It seems that every time I write about how dry it is or about the fact that you need to water your plants, it’s rained before my column is published. So go ahead Mother Nature, rain rain rain. I don’t care if this column is worthless or redundant or not necessary. Please, rain. Our area is in the midst of a moderate drought. I am learning from colleagues that parts of the Midwest are in...
Cucamelon: 5 things to know about the cute fruit

Cucamelon: 5 things to know about the cute fruit

A little-known fruit is making headlines this summer for its big flavor. Here's what you need to know about cucamelons: 1.
Spotting two-spotted spider mite damage on your plants

Spotting two-spotted spider mite damage on your plants

Two-spotted spider mites are rearing their ugly heads and reproducing like mad in this hot weather. A couple of weeks ago, I was checking out my Baptisia and noticed that it was showing symptoms of two-spotted spider mite damage. Unfortunately, I was hitting the road for a conference for a week and couldn’t do anything about it. While I was gone, the population of two-spotted spider mites on...

What to know before you hire help for damaged trees

Since so many have dead ash trees in the landscape due to emerald ash borer, I thought that a few comments on selecting an arborist might be timely. Actually the real reason for this column is that my husband was approached by an arborist last week for an estimate to trim some of our trees. What ensued was sort of disturbing. The guy just happened to be in the neighborhood and noticed that we had...
Why pruning these gorgeous flowers is a little complicated

Why pruning these gorgeous flowers is a little complicated

There are few plants that rival the bloom display of Clematis. These glorious blooms are usually big, bold, and if the plant is healthy, they cover the entire plant. Each year I get several questions regarding pruning Clematis. Unfortunately it gets a little complicated since there are several different varieties of Clematis, each with different bloom times. Clematis are divided into three groups...

Be on the lookout for grasshoppers

Are you seeing tiny grasshoppers? I am and might be a little concerned about the damage yet to come. We haven’t had big populations of grasshoppers for several years but I am seeing pretty large numbers right now in my gardens. At this time they are nymphs or early in the stage of their development. Because of their size, people really don’t pay much attention to them. Feeding damage right...
Beware: These beetles can cause major damage to your garden

Beware: These beetles can cause major damage to your garden

I knew the day would come this summer when my cucumbers would be visited by the striped cucumber beetle. Both striped and spotted cucumber beetles can cause serious damage on plants such as cucumbers and melons. In addition, I have seen considerable damage to perennial flowers when beetle populations are high. I rarely see the spotted cucumber beetle. The beetles are about a quarter of an inch long...
HGTV's 'Love It or List It' under fire again

HGTV's 'Love It or List It' under fire again

A recent Reddit post brought reality shows into question, asking internet users, "People who have been on reality TV shows, what's rigged and whats not?" One person said that two family members were part of the show. That commenter said the producers had the family members tape two endings of the show and then decided which one to air. "My aunt and uncle were on...
WASSO Garden Tour is this weekend

WASSO Garden Tour is this weekend

Contact this contributing writer at bturner004@woh.rr.com. It’s the time of year to discover how our area neighbors spend their free time in their unique gardens and welcome others in to share their uniqueness and beauty. The 23rd annual Women’s Association of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra Garden Tour offers five area gardens for two days of tours, Saturday, July 9, and Sunday, July...
Your vegetable garden needs more water than you think

Your vegetable garden needs more water than you think

Depending on where you are in the Miami Valley, your plants could still be suffering from dry soils. Parts of our area had sufficient rain to soak the soils somewhat and others, like where I live in northern Clark County, got very little. This is a critical time for your vegetable gardens in terms of moisture. Many are saying that their tomatoes and peppers are just beginning to form. Most of our...
Dayton Koi Club shares koi joy

Dayton Koi Club shares koi joy

Contact this contributing writer at Erica.Harrah@woh.rr.com. The Dayton Koi Club will be holding its first combined Koi Show and Auction on June 11, at Bern’s Garden Center, 3776 Indian Ripple Road, Beavercreek. The show will begin at 10 a.m. with bidder registration at 11 a.m., and the auction will begin at 2 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Dayton Koi Club vice president Linda...

Choose your pollinator garden

Pollinator gardens have been rising in popularity, and well they should. Pollination is essential to a robust, healthy garden. Want to attract helpful bees, butterflies and hummingbirds to your own landscape? We asked local experts for tips on what to do. You might be thinking that all flowers attract bees, and to some extent, that can be true. However, if you want the bees to show some serious love...

More weather woes for plants

Last week I wrote about a few problems the weather has caused for annuals. This week, the unfortunate happened — frost and freezing temperatures. In the Springfield area we dropped down to 30 degrees Fahrenheit on Monday morning and the skies were clear and there was no wind. These are perfect conditions for a freeze and boy did we get it. Annuals that weren’t protected (and even some...
Weather conditions lead to plant problems

Weather conditions lead to plant problems

This weather is killing me. It’s not fair to have a few warm weeks that get us all in a tizzy about gardening and planting and all of that stuff only to have the bottom drop out for awhile. This is the worst-case scenario for those of you who have planted annuals early. Annuals that don’t tolerate cold soil and air temperatures are likely to be struggling. One of the most common symptoms...
Another blast of chilly air could threaten new plants

Another blast of chilly air could threaten new plants

We are watching another blast of chilly air, which will arrive in the region this weekend. The concern is Saturday night — if skies can clear, temperatures may dip into the 30s, which could lead to some patchy areas of frost by early Sunday morning. Right now, it appears any chance for frost would be confined to rural areas north of Interstate 70. 
Springfield community garden to be discussed

Springfield community garden to be discussed

A local neighborhood’s community garden will be featured as part of the Global Education and Peace Network’s monthly series Tuesday. The Springfield Promise Grows program will present “Community Efforts to Cultivate in the Earth in South Springfield” at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in Room 105 of the Wittenberg University Shouvlin Center. Last year, the group grew more than 3,100 pounds...
Billions of cicadas to ascend in Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania

Billions of cicadas to ascend in Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania

Video includes clips from Brandon Baker / CC BY 3.0, The BBC and Rich4098 / CC BY 3.0 and images from Natalia Wilson / CC BY SA 2.0, Nick Harris / CC BY ND 2.0, Gramody / CC BY SA 2.0 and Meredith Harris / CC BY ND 2.0. Next month, parts of the U.S. can expect to see and hear lots of 17-year-old cicadas, which will rise from the ground to mate. >> Read more trending stories  ...
Where to buy a tree, find garden center

Where to buy a tree, find garden center

John North is president of the Dayton Better Business Bureau. Almost 150 years ago, more than one million trees were planted. Arbor Day was just a seed back then, but across the U.S. millions celebrate Arbor Day on the last Friday of April by planting a tree. Whether you’re a do-it-yourself homeowner or plan on leaving it up to the professionals, your Better Business Bureau can help by offering...
Freeze watch: How to protect your plants

Freeze watch: How to protect your plants

The National Weather Service has issued a freeze watch for the region over the weekend. Unseasonably cold air will spread across the area Saturday night with temperatures expected to be below freezing. The watch is in effect from 10 p.m. Saturday through 10 a.m. Sunday. Unprotected outdoor plants will likely be damaged or killed. For more information on protecting plants, tune in on Saturday to &ldquo...
Time to attack that pesky nimblewill

Time to attack that pesky nimblewill

It seems like lawns went from brown to green in no time! However, they don’t look all that great right now. Early spring when lawns begin to green up they tend to look quite straggly and rough. Turfgrass species aren’t all growing at the same rate in the beginning. The result of this uneven growth is a lawn with various colors of green and patchiness. Just give it a few mowings, and it...
Home allegedly stalked by eerie 'Watcher' back on market for $1.25M

Home allegedly stalked by eerie 'Watcher' back on market for $1.25M

Six bedrooms. Four bathrooms. One stalker. A colonial-style Westfield, New Jersey, home that made headlines after the current owners claimed someone who identified himself as "The Watcher" sent them creepy, anonymous letters is back on the market for $1.25 million, NJ.com reports. According to USA Today, Derek and Maria Broaddus bought the house for $1.3 million in 2014, but the...
Spring cleaners, beware: Brown recluse spiders could be lurking in the shadows

Spring cleaners, beware: Brown recluse spiders could be lurking in the shadows

2. Where are they found? According to Live Science, brown recluses live in the southern and central U.S., including the following states: Alabama  Arkansas Georgia Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana  Mississippi Missouri Nebraska Ohio Oklahoma Tennessee Texas Wear leather gloves Shake out shoes and coats Set up glue traps Pay attention to your surroundings
Get expert gardening tips before gardening season begins

Get expert gardening tips before gardening season begins

Join me on Saturday, April 2, in Springfield for the Master Gardeners of Clark County annual Garden Fling. The event features a full day of educational programming as well as a variety of garden vendors, a raffle and lunch. The vendors always bring plants so you can get an early jump on your gardening. Educational programs begin at 9 a.m. The first break-out sessions include “Designing Your...

VA’s Grotto gardens earn national recognition

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation will honor community volunteers and the Dayton VA Medical Center for the restoration of the historic Grotto and gardens on the grounds of the sprawling medical campus. The Advisory Council is set to present the Chairman’s Award for Achievement in Historic Preservation at a Tuesday, March 8, ceremony in Washington, D.C. The Dayton VA, the American...
Clark County home show to draw 50 businesses

Clark County home show to draw 50 businesses

The Clark County Home and Garden Show has provided area home owners an early chance to think about spring projects for more than a decade, and the show is expected to draw 50 vendors this year. The free annual event is scheduled Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 13 and 14, at the Hollenbeck Bayley Conference Center in downtown Springfield. This year, the event will include raffles for six 32-inch televisions...

Miami Valley gardeners’ favorite garden tools

Pamela Corle-Bennett is the state master gardener volunteer coordinator and horticulture educator for Ohio State University Extension. Contact her by email at bennett.27@osu.edu. Before the holidays, I shared a small list of my favorite gardening tools and asked that you share what you like the best. The following are some of the favorite tools sent in by Miami Valley gardeners: Richard Matthies had...

Don’t start garden seeds indoors too early

Pamela Corle-Bennett is the state master gardener volunteer coordinator and horticulture educator for Ohio State University Extension. Contact her by email at bennett.27@osu.edu. Many gardeners start their own garden seeds indoors. Many of these make the mistake of starting plants indoors too soon, only to have tall, leggy straggly plants that are ready to go outside before the weather permit. Starting...
This treehouse is Airbnb's most desired rental property in the world

This treehouse is Airbnb's most desired rental property in the world

Treehouses. People want to stay in treehouses. >> Read more trending stories   Airbnb, the online home rental site, recently released its top wish-listed destinations and properties, and treehouses were at the top. As Airbnb put it: "A penchant for fantasy is evident when examining the most Wish-Listed properties by type. The adventure of an outdoor treehouse is by far the most popular...

Late winter affects weeds, turf

Pamela Corle-Bennett is the state master gardener volunteer coordinator and horticulture educator for Ohio State University Extension. Contact her by email at bennett.27@osu.edu. Last week I talked about the recent warm weather in December and its potential impact on our plants. Here’s more information that might be of interest. A colleague of mine, Tim Malinich, said that we have the potential...

Will warm winter hurt plants?

Pamela Corle-Bennett is the state master gardener volunteer coordinator and horticulture educator for Ohio State University Extension. Contact her by email at bennett.27@osu.edu. There has been a lot of talk about the weather and how it might be affecting plants. If you have been on social media you may have seen photos of roses and other plants in bloom in December. While this is not unusual, we...

Garden tools you can’t live without

Garden tools make good holiday gifts for the gardener on your list. Here are some of my favorites, which I just can’t do without. The one tool I don’t go without is not really a tool. I always wear gloves in the garden — but I also frequently lose them. So my glove clips by Glove Guard are indispensable. One end clips to your belt loop and the other clips to your gloves. At the end...

Invasive species update

Pamela Corle-Bennett is the state master gardener volunteer coordinator and horticulture educator for Ohio State University Extension. Contact her by email at bennett.27@osu.edu. Last Monday I had an opportunity to attend a tree seminar, and invasive species of trees was one of the topics. I hate to say this, but Ohio is really a hotbed of invasive species of trees right now. Many of you are familiar...

All-America Selection trials are a useful tool

“Tested nationally and proven locally” is the slogan used by the All-America Selections organization in reference to their more than 330 individual varieties that have been named winners. AAS has been conducting trials around the country for 82 years. We have one of the only trial sites in Ohio located at our gardens. The trials are planted and maintained by Ohio State University Extension...

When good plants go bad

In the horticulture world, sometimes good plants go bad. No matter how great a plant may start out to be, there are circumstances that we just can’t predict that cause nature to get out of line. Take the story of the callery pear (Pyrus calleryana). Most people know this tree by the name of ‘Bradford’ pear. ‘Bradford’ is actually a cultivar of the callery pear that was...
Florida mega-mansion Le Palais Royal hits market again for $159M

Florida mega-mansion Le Palais Royal hits market again for $159M

The Palace of Versailles-inspired estate was originally offered for $139 million last year but was taken off the market, the Wall Street Journal reports. Project manager Joseph Leone, who has been working on the home for seven years, told WSJ that the owner, Middlesex Corp. founder Robert Pereira, decided to hold off on listing the property until the main house was nearly complete...

Time to plant spring blooming bulbs

Pamela Corle-Bennett is the state master gardener volunteer coordinator and horticulture educator for Ohio State University Extension. Contact her by email at bennett.27@osu.edu. I love just about anything having to do with flowers and plants. Other than some of my ornamental grasses and other plants that remain in the landscape and garden, there is not much color out there. One of the things that...

Don’t bag those leaves — use them

Pamela Corle-Bennett is the state master gardener volunteer coordinator and horticulture educator for Ohio State University Extension. Contact her by email at bennett.27@osu.edu. As the leaves continue to make their way to our lawns and gardens, I see an awful lot of people working really hard to rake them into neat piles in order to get rid of them. I know that for some of you, this might be the...

Local foods events challenge you to buy local

Pamela Corle-Bennett is the state master gardener volunteer coordinator and horticulture educator for Ohio State University Extension. Contact her by email at bennett.27@osu.edu. There continues to be a great deal of interest in local foods, as well as purchasing local products with the focus on keeping our dollars circulating in our local economy. Purchasing local food products supports our local...

Understanding tree diseases

Pamela Corle-Bennett is the state master gardener volunteer coordinator and horticulture educator for Ohio State University Extension. Contact her by email at bennett.27@osu.edu. Tree diseases are difficult to understand. If you are a regular reader of this column, then you may remember me talking about the disease triangle and its importance to whether or not a disease will occur. While it&rsquo...

Right plant, right place

Fall is a good time for planting, and my mantra is “right plant, right location!” What does this mean to the gardener? It means the difference between success and failure. It means the difference between a little bit of work and a lot of work. It means that you will be very happy with the plant that you have selected, because it will be there for a long time. How many of you approach planting...

Tips for keeping deer away from your plants

Pamela Corle-Bennett is the state master gardener volunteer coordinator and horticulture educator for Ohio State University Extension. Contact her by email at bennett.27@osu.edu. Most of the wildlife in Ohio is starting to slow down and close up shop for the fall and winter, but that’s not the case with deer. An Ohio State University Extension Wildlife specialist offered some tips for dealing...

WATCH: Dad's epic IKEA hack gives son 'most awesome bed ever'

A handy dad's video showing how he "hacked" IKEA furniture to build the "most awesome bed ever" for his son has gone viral.
Trees with ease

Trees with ease

Contact this contributing writer at saramthomas@yahoo.com. Fall tree season is here. Cooler temps are ideal for getting roots established, making autumn the perfect time to plant new trees. We talked to two local experts for the lowdown on how to start planting. Trees can be planted at any time of year, but planting in the fall makes it much easier on both the new trees and you. “Root growth...

Bugs want inside your home

Pamela Corle-Bennett is the state master gardener volunteer coordinator and horticulture educator for Ohio State University Extension. Contact her by email at bennett.27@osu.edu. It’s that time of the year when the home invaders begin to annoy. Those home invaders include multicolored Asian ladybeetles (MALB), leaf-footed bugs, boxelder bugs and of course, most recently, the brown marmorated...

Evergreen woes: get to the root

Pamela Corle-Bennett is the state master gardener volunteer coordinator and horticulture educator for Ohio State University Extension. Contact her by email at bennett.27@osu.edu. I give a lot of presentations on a variety of garden topics to all kinds of groups and organizations. I always leave a little time at the end for questions. Invariably there is a question about a pine or a spruce problem...

Why it’s time to water plants

I can’t believe I am actually typing these words: It might be time to think about watering your plants. Doesn’t it seem a little ridiculous to talk about watering plants after all the rain we had in June and July? It does seem a little crazy, but if you don’t water certain plants, you see the repercussions next year. The plants that you should pay attention to are those trees, shrubs...

Orange plague: turfgrass rust

Pamela Corle-Bennett is the state master gardener volunteer coordinator and horticulture educator for Ohio State University Extension. Contact her by email at bennett.27@osu.edu. If you have perennial ryegrass in your lawn, it’s possible that you might be getting orange shoes, orange lawn mowers and even orange pets. It’s the time of year when turfgrass rust begins to show up in Ohio lawns...
Dinosaurs among us? Couple's Jurassic yard art may be headed for extinction

Dinosaurs among us? Couple's Jurassic yard art may be headed for extinction

Dinosaurs have been spotted in a Texas neighborhood – sort of. According to Houston's KTRK, Nancy Hentschel and her husband recently revamped their front lawn in Sugar Land's New Territory neighborhood with yard art of Jurassic proportions – huge metal sculptures of a Tyrannosaurus rex and velociraptor.

Fall chores beckon

Pamela Corle-Bennett is the state master gardener volunteer coordinator and horticulture educator for Ohio State University Extension. Contact her by email at bennett.27@osu.edu. We are in the summer doldrums in terms of the garden. It’s that time of year when gardens and plants and people are a little tired and really don’t have the energy to do much of anything. However, there are two...

Rose disease found locally

Pamela Corle-Bennett is the state master gardener volunteer coordinator and horticulture educator for Ohio State University Extension. Contact her by email at bennett.27@osu.edu. Despite the fact that this has been a crazy summer for gardening and mowing lawns, gardens are progressing along nicely, and some plants are even thriving. I have heard much talk about the fact that the zucchini crop is the...
Volunteers repaint elderly man's home following teens' hurtful remarks

Volunteers repaint elderly man's home following teens' hurtful remarks

A good Samaritan in Pendleton, Oregon, is making headlines after he rallied a group of volunteers to paint an elderly man's home.

Evil weevil part 2: your questions

Pamela Corle-Bennett is the state master gardener volunteer coordinator and horticulture educator for Ohio State University Extension. Contact her by email at bennett.27@osu.edu. Last week in this space I talked about the sunflower-clipping weevil and the damage that it was causing, a topic that struck a chord with many readers. Thanks to all of you who provided feedback. I would love to respond to...
Make your entire home smell like Luke Bryan with this new candle

Make your entire home smell like Luke Bryan with this new candle

We imagine Luke Bryan is one of those men who always smells really good. And now, we’re about to find out if that’s true.

These weevils are a new pest

Pamela Corle-Bennett is the state master gardener volunteer coordinator and horticulture educator for Ohio State University Extension. Contact her by email at bennett.27@osu.edu. My Ohio State University Extension colleagues and I are hearing more and more about damage to coneflowers and other plants in this family caused by a pest in our area called the sunflower head-clipping weevil. The damage...
Jesse Pinkman's 'Breaking Bad' house hits market for $1.6M (PHOTOS)

Jesse Pinkman's 'Breaking Bad' house hits market for $1.6M (PHOTOS)

Want to own a piece of television history? The home of "Breaking Bad" character Jesse Pinkman, played by Aaron Paul, has hit the market for $1.

Stop weeds now

Pamela Corle-Bennett is the state master gardener volunteer coordinator and horticulture educator for Ohio State University Extension. Contact her by email at bennett.27@osu.edu. Along with the diseases and other pest issues that have been encouraged by the rain, weeds are also thriving. I have one piece of advice: Don’t let the weeds go to seed! Weeds have loved this weather and are extremely...

Tomato diseases enjoy our rains

Pamela Corle-Bennett is the state master gardener volunteer coordinator and horticulture educator for Ohio State University Extension. Contact her by email at bennett.27@osu.edu. Rain, rain go away! I have come to the conclusion that given the preference, I would choose drought over too much rain. At least with drought we can water when it’s absolutely necessary to keep our plants going. With...

Vinca and petunia disease troubles

Pamela Corle-Bennett is the state master gardener volunteer coordinator and horticulture educator for Ohio State University Extension. Contact her by email at bennett.27@osu.edu. The problems continue on many of our annuals and perennials; this has been a challenging growing season, to say the least. In the past few weeks I have written about beetles eating holes in the foliage and sawflies devastating...
Must-see: Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick sell New York townhouse for $18.25M

Must-see: Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick sell New York townhouse for $18.25M

Celebrity power couple Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick have finally sold their New York townhouse for a cool $18.

Rose damage? Do this

Pamela Corle-Bennett is the state master gardener volunteer coordinator and horticulture educator for Ohio State University Extension. Contact her by email at bennett.27@osu.edu. Last week in this space I mentioned that Japanese beetles were just starting their feeding frenzy. Several readers responded by email alerting me to the fact that they seem to be scattered about the Miami Valley area. In...

WASSO garden tours avoid bland designs

Contact this contributing writer at bturner004@woh.rr.com. If it’s July in Springfield, then it’s time to get ourselves back to the gardens, to paraphrase Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Five unique residential gardens and one of Springfield’s classic gardens highlight the 22nd annual Women’s Association of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra Garden Tour. The tours will be 1-5...

Beetles mess up flower gardens

Pamela Corle-Bennett is the state master gardener volunteer coordinator and horticulture educator for Ohio State University Extension. Contact her by email at bennett.27@osu.edu. I like The Beatles. I like Volkswagen Beetles. I like ladybeetles. But I really am sick and tired of flea beetles. And now the Japanese beetles are coming to annoy me next. I am guessing that some of you might be dealing...

Bagworm check best done now

Pamela Corle-Bennett is the state master gardener volunteer coordinator and horticulture educator for Ohio State University Extension. Contact her by email at bennett.27@osu.edu. If you have had bagworms on your evergreen shrubs in the past, it’s time to start monitoring them for the newly hatched caterpillars. I would suspect that you might find the tiny caterpillars feeding on the needles...