Home & Garden


Garden tour takes new routes

New themes, refreshments and tour stops are all over the map this summer without leaving the area. RELATED » Arts Festival bring Prince tribute The 24th annual Women’s Association of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra Garden Tour has more stops with more unique features when it returns 1-6 p.m. Saturday, July 15, and Sunday, July 16, at various area homes. Proceeds benefit the Springfield...
Watch out — this could be a heavy Japanese beetle season

Watch out — this could be a heavy Japanese beetle season

If you have been in your garden these last few days, chances are you’ve spotted a few Japanese beetles. The adults have hatched, and I have a feeling we are in for a good beetle season. I am neither an entomologist, nor a prognosticator, nor do I have a crystal ball. However, I have seen quite a few adult Japanese beetles in the last few days and something tells me I might see a lot more in...
Woman could face jail time over garden

Woman could face jail time over garden

A Georgia woman could face jail time and a large fine over her garden. >> Read more trending news Atlanta city code enforcement officers told Lexa King that her flower garden is overgrown. King told WSB-TV’s Rikki Klaus that she’s been growing her garden for about 30 years. She beams when she talks about the azaleas in her yard. "And since I pay the taxes and since I pay the...

Start looking for the hungry bagworms on your trees

Bagworms have hatched in the Miami Valley and feeding is progressing. If you have plants that are sensitive to bagworm, you might want to pay attention to them and inspect closely. First of all, know how to identify bagworm. They are not the same as tent caterpillars or fall webworms. Gardeners sometimes get these mixed up. Tent caterpillars form white silky nests in the crotch angles of trees. They...
A few good reasons we all should care about pollinators

A few good reasons we all should care about pollinators

Next week (June 19-25) is Pollinator Awareness Week. The week was established by the United States Department of Agriculture to celebrate pollinators and raise awareness about what you can do to protect them. Pollinator week is nothing new. It’s 10 years old and was established by the U. S. Senate. However, the issue has become more critical recently with the decline of the honeybee population...
Spring plant disease symptoms showing up now

Spring plant disease symptoms showing up now

It’s not surprising that several diseases on plants are beginning to show up. We have had perfect weather conditions for disease to develop. One of the most common diseases that we see every year is apple scab, and this year is no exception. Many cultivars of apple and crabapple are susceptible to this disease. The leaves develop olive-colored blotches. These spots turn blackish, and the leaves...
Cooler weather leads to disease issues on plants

Cooler weather leads to disease issues on plants

Rain and cooler temperatures have not been kind to some of our plants, especially my peonies. Recent rains combined with the cool temperatures have been the perfect environmental conditions for many diseases to flare up in our gardens and landscapes. My peonies and many others’ have been affected by botrytis blight, which is not surprising with this weather. This disease usually starts in the...
Cicadas emerging already?

Cicadas emerging already?

I’ve gotten plenty of questions about the emergence of quite a few cicadas in the landscape. Southwest Ohio is not due for a major emergence of the 17-year periodical cicada, Brood X, until 2021. However, what we are seeing now is an early emergence of some of the cicadas in this brood. In 2021 there will be a huge emergence of Brood X. This brood will be found in about 19 states from the East...
A tree with a beautiful flower you may never see

A tree with a beautiful flower you may never see

One of my favorite trees is in full bloom, and if you don’t look carefully, you may miss it! Liriodendron tulipifera or tulip popular is in full glorious bloom, and I love these flowers. This tree is also known as the tulip tree or yellow poplar but is not related to tulips or poplars. The tulip reference comes from the shape of the flowers. They truly are magnificent. Most people don&rsquo...
Mystery tenant from 'haunted' Zillow listing revealed

Mystery tenant from 'haunted' Zillow listing revealed

Earlier this month, an odd Zillow listing for a house in Cayce, a small town south of Columbia, South Carolina, started circulating – and immediately sparked some spooky speculation about who might be living upstairs. “Upstairs apartment cannot be shown under any circumstances,” the listing read. “Buyer assumes responsibility for the month-to-month tenancy in the upstairs...
Pest problems starting to show up

Pest problems starting to show up

Now that gardening season is finally in full swing, I am getting calls about problems that are showing up in the landscape. One of the calls concerns sugar maple trees losing their leaves. This is likely due to an insect called the maple petiole borer, which does exactly as the name implies. The adults of this sawfly lay their eggs in the petioles of the maple tree. The petiole is the part of the...
Plant a tree in honor of Arbor Day

Plant a tree in honor of Arbor Day

Given that yesterday was Arbor Day, why not plant a tree this weekend? Garden centers are stock-full of great selections for your landscape and have lots of people on hand to help you pick out the perfect tree. If you decide to plant a tree, make sure you plant it properly for longevity. One of the biggest mistakes that I see is that people plant trees too deep, burying the root flare. The root flare...
Days by the pool: Is it worth the cost?

Days by the pool: Is it worth the cost?

Every year as summer approaches, families think about adding pools to their backyards. Before your kids talk you into installing one, you should consider the financial implications. Better Business Bureau advises you: Do your research before installing your own pool. Ask yourself why you want a pool Consider these questions: Why do you want a pool? What will you be using it for? And how much are you...
Dry conditions could mean more venomous snake sightings, experts say

Dry conditions could mean more venomous snake sightings, experts say

The ongoing drought could bring danger slithering right into Floridians' yards. The dry conditions mean the most venomous snakes in Central Florida are on the move. Herpetologist Bob Cross said low water levels in many lakes and swamps means snake sightings are more likely to happen in neighborhoods. “It’s very frightening to think that they’re that they’re that close...
WASSO Kitchens Tour is Saturday

WASSO Kitchens Tour is Saturday

Some of Springfield’s hottest kitchens will welcome fans in this weekend. The 11th annual Women’s Association of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra (WASSO) Kitchens Tour will highlight five different spaces, 1-4 p.m. Saturday, April 29. The tour is a fundraiser with proceeds benefitting the Springfield Symphony Orchestra. “We’ve got a variety of kitchens,” said event...
Why it’s important not to rush to kill those dandelions

Why it’s important not to rush to kill those dandelions

My mother-in-law and I had a brief conversation this past weekend about the person who decided that lawns should be green. I totally agree with her that lawns don’t have to be all green. When my husband Rick and I were getting ready to plant grass seed for our new lawn, I first asked him what color he thought the lawn should be. Of course, he gave me that look that all spouses are familiar with...
Two new businesses open in Fairborn

Two new businesses open in Fairborn

Two new businesses opened this month in Fairborn, one in the center of downtown. Teena’s Treasures, a new craft shop, opened April 8 at the southwest corner of Central and Main, a few doors down from Foy’s Costume Shop. The store, owned by Teena and Dave Hill, sells candles, t-shirts, wood items, ceramics and other collectibles, and will be open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to...
Now is the time to start planting

Now is the time to start planting

Thank goodness it’s finally time to start planting! You can start your vegetable garden now with cool-loving crops such as broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, lettuce, spinach, potatoes, and others can be safely planted now. Hold off on planting tomatoes, peppers, squash and other warm-loving garden plants until the soil warms up in May. I recommend that you develop a garden plan on paper...
Watch for this shrub damage showing up now

Watch for this shrub damage showing up now

There is a chance that if you have boxwoods, you might have boxwood leafminers. I have them and am quite surprised at the population explosion. I have Green Mountain and Green Gem in the front of my house and had glanced at them when outside last week. I hadn’t paid close attention to them, however. In fact, at first I thought that maybe they had symptoms of “winter burn” on boxwoods...
It’s Cherry Blossom time in the Miami Valley

It’s Cherry Blossom time in the Miami Valley

Spring is finally hitting us in the face. Step outside and see the beautiful spring colors that we have been anxiously awaiting. Pink, white, yellow, and purple colored flowers are everywhere. The most prominent trees in bloom right now are the cherries, which will be followed by the magnolias. I am heading to Washington, D.C., this weekend, and unfortunately it sounds like I will be missing the peak...
Donald Trump's childhood home sells for 'yuge' profit

Donald Trump's childhood home sells for 'yuge' profit

A real estate prospector just profited big-league from the sale of President Donald Trump's childhood home. According to CNN, the 2,500-square-foot New York Tudor has a new owner just three months after Michael Davis bought the property in Queens' Jamaica Estates neighborhood for $1.4 million. Last week, an unnamed bidder reportedly shelled out $2.14 million for the home where Trump lived until he...
Start your garden from seed for better, budget-friendly results

Start your garden from seed for better, budget-friendly results

Starting a garden can be a rough undertaking. Plants don’t come cheap, and if you’re going organic or non-GMO, it’s hard to know if they really fit the bill. Read on to learn the ins and outs of starting your garden from seed. Q. What are some advantages to starting from seed? A. “There is an obvious cost savings to grow from seed,” said Molly Cross, a volunteer speaker...
Cold temps and pruning shrubs don’t mix

Cold temps and pruning shrubs don’t mix

Holy cow, why did winter have to wait so long to get here? This past week really stunk (is that a word?) in terms of temperatures and plant damage. It’s really a good thing I skipped a week before introducing the topic of rejuvenating and pruning shrubs. You might have had some plant damage to the newly pruned branches. It’s terribly disappointing, as this was the first year that my Hellebores...
Cover your perennial flowers this weekend, snow coming Monday

Cover your perennial flowers this weekend, snow coming Monday

This weekend’s low temperatures will mean gardeners will want to cover perennial flowers. Temperatures will be in the teens early Saturday, bringing a cold burst of weather to what has been a relatively warm winter, said StormCenter 7 Meteorologist McCall Vrydaghs. MORE: What will cold weather do to plants? “It’s been basically a month since we’ve had temperatures this cold...
An opportunity to enhance your vegetable gardening

An opportunity to enhance your vegetable gardening

Last week I wrote about pruning trees and said that this week I would talk about pruning shrubs. I am going to postpone that topic for a week because I almost forgot to share with you a great educational opportunity. Don’t worry, you still have time to prune shrubs. I don’t want you to miss this chance for learning: On March 18, Ohio State University Extension, Clark County, is hosting...
Time to sharpen the pruning tools

Time to sharpen the pruning tools

When it comes to pruning plants, many gardeners panic, saying they are not sure they know what to do. No worries. It’s really pretty easy once you know the basics. There are several reasons for pruning your landscape trees and shrubs. One of the most common reasons is that a plant is overgrown and needs some shaping up. Another reason to prune is to open up fruit trees so that the sunlight can...
Girl tells teacher about weed her dad grows in the backyard

Girl tells teacher about weed her dad grows in the backyard

Kids say the darndest things. Dax Holt, a former producer at TMZ, recorded a conversation he had with his daughter, Skylar, about an awkward exchange he had with her teacher. “When I got to your school, your teacher said, ‘I heard you have a lot of weed at your house,'” Holt told Skylar. “Are we growing weed at our house?” “Yeah,” said Skylar. “A lot...
Plant Development and Growing Degree Days

Plant Development and Growing Degree Days

If you are a regular reader of my column, you have perhaps heard me talk about growing degree days or GDD in the past. GDD is used to measure growth and development of plants and insects during the growing season. There is a direct correlation between plant development (plant phenology) and insect emergence. This has been researched for many years and is consistent each season. GDD can be calculated...
Signs of spring showing already

Signs of spring showing already

Gardeners are getting a little bit excited by this weather in more ways than one. The phone is ringing off the hook. Gardeners are concerned about the bulbs that have started peeking out of the soil and are wondering what to do. The short answer is nothing. There is really nothing that can be done to prevent this from occurring. The weather dictates when and how plants grow and since we have had warm...
Everything you need to learn about perennials

Everything you need to learn about perennials

Gardeners are anxiously awaiting spring and nice weather so they can work outside. They’re also apparently waiting on the Annual Central Ohio Perennial School information! We have had several calls to our office wondering if registration is open, and I am happy to say that you can now register for this event. The Perennial School will be held on March 2, 2017, at the Hollenbeck Bayley Creative...

Are your habits a public threat?

I have mentioned in the past couple of years that Ohio State University Extension educators are responsible for teaching Pesticide Applicator Training for the Ohio Department of Agriculture. By attending these classes, private pesticide applicators (farms, greenhouses, nurseries, fruit and vegetable growers) receive training on the proper use of pesticides and then after passing a test, receive their...
Things you should not be doing in your garden on a nice winter day

Things you should not be doing in your garden on a nice winter day

It’s really tempting to work outside with this recent break in the weather, but I caution you to choose your outdoor chores wisely. If you are thinking about any lawn and garden work, make sure you keep your feet on dry land if you possibly can. What’s my message you ask? Don’t walk in your flower beds if they are wet. If you are a gardener and we get a break in the weather this...

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...
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

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 10. This year’s tour will be available an hour longer...
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

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 Kinney of Yellow Springs said that in the past they held the...

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

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   The insects, which have spent the rest of their lives underground, only live above ground for about six weeks. The adults, the ones that make all the noise, only ascend above ground to reproduce. Males use the...
Where to buy a tree, find garden center

Where to buy a tree, find garden center

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 tips for finding a nursery/garden center. Remember, in addition...
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

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 a list of tools that included a 30-inch plastic leaf rake, a telescoping pole pruner, a steel short tine rake, and knee pads or a kneeling pad. I need to add a narrow (around 10-inch...

Don’t start garden seeds indoors too early

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 seeds indoors is a great way to get your garden started. It takes time and a little bit of startup costs but it will save money when it comes to buying plants. My biggest reason...
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

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 for plenty of weeds this coming spring because of the warm weather. Winter annuals thrived in December and had a chance to get really established. If we have an early spring,...

Will warm winter hurt plants?

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 are seeing more this season because of the extended warmer weather. And it’s not a cause for panic. Trees and shrubs that have been blooming sporadically set their buds for...

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

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 with the issue in our ash trees, emerald ash borer (EAB). If you are an avid reader of my column, you have also heard me discuss the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) that is truly...

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

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 gets me looking forward to spring is the emergence of my spring bulbs. This delayed gratification is worth the effort. You put the work in now and the enjoyment comes in the spring...

Don’t bag those leaves — use them

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 only way to dispose of the leaves. However, if you have the space and the time and are interested, you can make leaf mold, as suggested by reader and “Composter Nut” Kathy...

Local foods events challenge you to buy local

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 growers, keeps people employed and lets us consume the freshest food possible. The Miami Valley is doing its part to support local foods through programs, marketing, and by working...

Understanding tree diseases

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’s true that tree diseases are contagious, the disease will only affect trees of the same species. Verticillium wilt of maples does not affect oak trees. In fact, verticillium wilt...

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

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 with deer. This is the time of the year that deer are on the move and will cause considerable damage to young trees. Male deer or bucks damage trees by rubbing and scraping against...
Trees with ease

Trees with ease

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 starts to occur in cooler soil,” explained Jerry Schelhorn...

Bugs want inside your home

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 stink bug (BMSB). I have to admit that I haven’t seen too many of the last, but I expect that we will see them inside our home this year. My son and his wife live in the Beavercreek...

Evergreen woes: get to the root

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. Just last week I was at the Columbus Home and Garden Show as part of a panel of experts, answering gardening questions. A gentleman in the audience asked a question about his pines...

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

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, particularly those that have perennial ryegrass. It occasionally shows up on Kentucky bluegrass and turf-type tall fescues. We may see a little bit of this in the spring, but...
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

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 things that should be done in the lawn and garden at this time, before it gets any later. The first one is to plant grass seed. Late summer is the best time for grass seed to germinate...

Rose disease found locally

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 best ever. I am beginning to harvest tomatoes in my garden. When you have 50 plants, even if you have a major disease wipe out a bunch, you still have some left to enjoy. Another...

Evil weevil part 2: your questions

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 each of you individually, but the volume of responses makes that unrealistic. Your comments indicated that this pest weevil was indeed was fairly prominent in the Miami Valley area...

These weevils are a new pest

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 is easily recognized and is how this pest got its name: The tips of the flowers simply flop over as a result of feeding damage. Though this pest is kind of new to our area, it&rsquo...

Stop weeds now

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 vigorous as a result of the warm temperatures and moist soil. It’s also been a struggle keeping up with weeding the garden and flower beds when the soil is wet. Never work...

Tomato diseases enjoy our rains

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 the type of wet growing season that we have had this year, there is no ability to turn off the water, and enough is truly enough. For the past few weeks I have written about timely...

Vinca and petunia disease troubles

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 roses. In addition, I am also seeing considerable black spot on roses. This is a disease that thrives under the right conditions of moisture, humidity and temperature, which...

Rose damage? Do this

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 addition I talked about the flea beetles on various perennials, and, likewise, many of you responded that you are seeing the same damage. Thanks to all for your feedback. I really...

WASSO garden tours avoid bland designs

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 p.m. next weekend, on Saturday, July 11, and Sunday, July...

Beetles mess up flower gardens

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 with flea beetles and may not know it. There are many different species of this pest. Beetles have chewing mouth parts and chew holes in leaves. The damage doesn’t usually kill...

Bagworm check best done now

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 and foliage of arborvitae, spruce, junipers and other evergreens. You might also find them feeding on deciduous plants that are nearby the evergreens, as this is quite common. You...

Managing wildlife in the landscape

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned wildlife in the landscape and had a lot of feedback and comments from readers about the problems they have had in their landscape and gardens. I could sense the frustration and have the same feelings! When it comes to managing wildlife pests in the garden, the best and most efficient method is to exclude the wildlife. Fencing to prevent the rodent from getting to...
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