UPDATE:

Unemployment rates tick up in Clark, Champaign Counties

Home & Garden


How to keep snakes out of your yard

Forget about "Snakes on a Plane," we're more concerned with snakes in the yard. Even though snakes are nowhere near as prevalent as our irrational fears would have us think (assuming you don't live smack dab in the middle of rattlesnake territory), if you're a homeowner with a bit of landscape or yard under your direction, you may encounter snakes on occasion. » RELATED: 6 venomous...
Target next-day delivery may be coming

Target next-day delivery may be coming

A next-day delivery service from Target isn’t available in Dayton yet -- but “stay tuned,” Target is saying. The retail company announced that it is offering “Target Restock,” a next-day delivery service of household goods, available “coast to coast,” the company said. But a cursory search on the Target Restock web site showed that the service isn’t...
Last-minute Mother’s Day finds — expected and unexpected — at Centerville shop

Last-minute Mother’s Day finds — expected and unexpected — at Centerville shop

Centerville’s Morning Sun Florist is one of the areas best-kept secrets. It was established in 1989 by owner Darla Hiser. After 12 years in Tipp City, the store had outgrown its location and moved to 11 S. Main Street, Centerville. This inspirational green space is the perfect spot to consider visiting to shop for gifts this Mother’s Day. Here are a half dozen reasons this gem is worth...
6 factors that will affect your mortgage payment 

6 factors that will affect your mortgage payment 

Deciding when to shop for your first home can be a big decision.  Maybe you've been holding down the rent payments on your apartment for a few years and you're ready to invest in a place of your own. Maybe you just got married and you're looking for a house with a backyard for your two dogs. No matter what your motivation for taking this step, it's important to start by figuring out how much...
Here’s how buying plants can help these Greene County college students

Here’s how buying plants can help these Greene County college students

Central State University will host its 27th annual Plant Extravaganza, and money raised at the event will benefit students. The sale will happen Tuesday from 3-6 p.m. and again Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. in the CSU Greenhouse in Wilberforce. Students majoring in Sustainable Agriculture and volunteers started in January to plant seeds and propagate houseplants, annual flowers...
Elwell: Thinking about planting? Better wait for Mother’s Day

Elwell: Thinking about planting? Better wait for Mother’s Day

It seems to be the winter that just doesn’t want to give up. Many in the Miami Valley are seeing yet another round of snow showers and cold air after being teased with spring late last week. In fact, temperatures have plunged more than 40 degrees since Friday. As of the weekend, the average temperature for April so far was running 5 degrees below normal, and that is despite the significant but...
We're not playing: Here's how possums can help your household 

We're not playing: Here's how possums can help your household 

If you think possums are funny-looking, threatening pests that should be destroyed if they set so much as a paw on your property, you're probably in the majority. However, you are still sorely mistaken. Granted, with their 50 sharp teeth − more than any mammal in North America − and naked tails, possums certainly do look strange, but their other negative qualities are sometimes exaggerated...
Lance Armstrong's former Austin home on the market for $7.5 million

Lance Armstrong's former Austin home on the market for $7.5 million

Want to live in Lance Armstrong’s old house? The cyclist’s former home in west Austin, Texas, is on the market for $7.5 million. According to CultureMap, it was originally listed two years ago for $8.25 million. The six-bedroom, 7.5-bathroom home across the street from Pease Park was built in 1924 and has since been remodeled. The 8,158-square-foot home has a pool with a fountain...
Cutting back perennials and pruning roses

Cutting back perennials and pruning roses

Last Sunday and Monday were perfect days to prune. In addition to pruning trees and shrubs, it’s also time to cut back perennials, including roses. If any of my perennials look good through the winter, I don’t prune the foliage back to the ground in the fall. Plants with winter interest include ornamental grasses, some coneflowers, sedum and daylilies. I recommend that you cut any remaining...
From spiders to lawnmowers: 7 tips on yard work safety

From spiders to lawnmowers: 7 tips on yard work safety

The first warm (or at least cool) spring days can make even a homebody want to race out and get working on the yard or garden.  It's a good thing, too. If yard work weren't so appealing at the beginning of the season, homeowners (or their hired help) could never outlast the onslaught of heat and overgrown weeds later in the summer. But don't let all that enthusiasm lead to injuries or property...
Lion Gate Estate: Bizarre $550K home with carpeted ceilings, vintage cars takes internet by storm

Lion Gate Estate: Bizarre $550K home with carpeted ceilings, vintage cars takes internet by storm

In the market for a whimsical $550,000 home with carpeted ceilings, vintage cars and statues lurking around every corner? No? You'll still want to check out the now-viral listing for Detroit's Lion Gate Estate. Trust us. "Unique barely begins to describe this one of a kind Grixdale Farms estate," reads the listing by Real Estate One's Alex Lauer. "Every aspect of 'Lion Gate Estate'...
Tips on pruning evergreens

Tips on pruning evergreens

I sure hope this weekend will provide a bit of relief from winter weather and allow me to get outside to prune. Last week, I mentioned rejuvenating deciduous shrubs, and many emailed me to let me know they tackled the task! I am glad I could be of assistance. This week, let’s address pruning evergreens, both trees and shrubs. When it comes to pruning evergreen trees, the key is to identify your...
Why now is the right time to fix those overgrown shrubs

Why now is the right time to fix those overgrown shrubs

If you have an overgrown forsythia or lilac, now is the time to get it under control by using proper pruning techniques. It’s not uncommon for some of these large shrubs to get out of hand, especially if they are planted in an area where they don’t have the space to really grow and spread. Sometimes they get just plain straggly. When this happens, use a pruning technique called rejuvenation...
Try not to worry about cold-weather plant damage

Try not to worry about cold-weather plant damage

This is the time of the year when people start to panic about plants and the potential for cold-weather damage. I don’t usually get anxious about cold damage to plants, but of course I am not an apple or peach grower whose livelihood depends on the crop. I completely understand producers’ concerns when it comes to spring weather. After all, they wait all year for a crop to produce and...
Get the buzz on beekeeping in Springfield with new course

Get the buzz on beekeeping in Springfield with new course

Ever been interested in starting a beekeeping business? The Ohio State University Extension of Clark County may have the course for you. The extension, in partnership with the Master Gardener volunteers of Clark County, will offer a two-day beginner’s beekeeping course on Friday, March 9, from 7 to 9 p.m. and Saturday, March 10, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The course will take place at the OSU Extension...
5 tips for keeping a snake-free yard

5 tips for keeping a snake-free yard

Forget about "Snakes on a Plane”; we're more concerned with snakes in the yard. Even though snakes are nowhere near as prevalent as our irrational fears would have us think (assuming you don't live smack dab in the middle of rattlesnake territory), if you're a homeowner with a bit of landscape or yard under your direction, you may encounter snakes on occasion. That should be no...

Gardening tips: It’s time to start thinking about planting vegetables

It’s getting close to the time we can start planting vegetables in the garden! As soon as the soil dries, (will it ever?) I will start my lettuces, spinach and peas. In the meantime, if you want to learn more about vegetable gardening techniques, join me for our Fourth Annual Backyard Vegetable Garden Workshop on March 17, from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. at Springfield High School. We have a lineup...
This event will help take your perennial gardening to the next level

This event will help take your perennial gardening to the next level

One of the most popular educational programs of Ohio State University Extension, Clark County is open for registration. The 19th Annual Central Ohio Perennial Flower School is one you don’t want to miss – especially if you love perennial gardening. The event will be March 1 in Springfield at the Hollenbeck Bayley Creative Arts and Conference Center from 9 a.m. until 4:15 p.m. As always...

Gardening tips: Using beneficial insects to manage landscape pests

Pest management for your lawn and garden is a personal choice. You choose what fits best according to your gardening philosophy. My job is to provide you with all of the options that are available, and one of those options includes biological controls. Biological control occurs when you use one organism to control another. For instance, ladybugs feed on aphids. My approach to using biological controls...
The story of the invasive callery pear

The story of the invasive callery pear

Last week while discussing the newly released Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Invasive Species list, I mentioned that callery pear was on it. I have written about the story of this invasive tree, but it’s worth doing it again because it’s really quite interesting. Callery pears were first brought to the United States from Asia back in the early 1920s. In the 1960s a new cultivar...
Ohio announces list of invasive species

Ohio announces list of invasive species

The Ohio Department of Agriculture recently released its invasive plant list and on it was the callery pear. This came as no surprise, as this plant has been talked about for many years in regards to its invasiveness. We have watched this tree take over empty fields, right-of-ways and along highways. There is a really interesting story about this tree that I have shared before and will share again...

Will this weather damage plants?

Happy New Year! And now that the holidays are over, it’s time for spring, right? I struggle through January and February and can’t stand being cooped up indoors. The first halfway decent day will find me outside checking out my hellebores and snowdrops to see what might be coming up. Of course there are loads of seed catalogues to keep me occupied and dreaming of spring, but they just...

For 25 great years, celebrating the joys of the garden

I just realized the other day that I have been writing this column for 25 years come this January. I don’t remember what I wrote about in that first column, and I don’t have the computer or the software that I used to write it (but it was on a computer!). My trial column that I had to send to the Springfield News-Sun (it was only published in Springfield at the time, and not in other Cox...

Use your imagination and landscape to decorate for the holidays

This past week I spent time preparing for the Master Gardener Volunteers of Clark County to cut greens from my landscape to be used for holiday swags. Each year these volunteers make more than 125 swags for patients at the Springfield Regional Cancer Center as a community service project. Fortunately, many years ago I planted spruce and pine seedlings to be used eventually as a windbreak. As with...
Your house is sick; here’s a present to put on your Christmas list

Your house is sick; here’s a present to put on your Christmas list

If you’re looking for a holiday gift idea this season, an allergen-reducing air filter might be on the top of some lists. A new allergy study by the National Institutes of Health, the largest ever conducted, reports over 90 percent of U.S. homes had three or more detectable allergens present, and 73 percent of homes had at least one allergen at elevated levels. Researchers studied levels of...
Still time for final garden chores

Still time for final garden chores

How did it get to be the holidays already? This is probably the latest I have ever been in getting my garden cleaned up for fall. Last week, before the rains came, I was able to dig up cannas, dahlias and my colocasia bulbs. I didn’t have time to get them stored properly so I have them laying out in crates in the garage. If you haven’t dug summer-flowering bulbs, do so immediately. They...
It’s the time of year for final clean-up chores in your garden

It’s the time of year for final clean-up chores in your garden

If you haven’t already cleaned up your garden and tools by now, try to get them done before the end of the year. Doing this now will save you a lot of time and headache in the spring! In terms of the garden, if there are any annuals, including vegetables, that have gone past their prime and are looking pretty bad, remove them from the garden and compost if possible. In the perennial garden,...

Food insecurity is a serious issue in Ohio — how can you help?

How many readers know about food insecurity? It’s defined as existing when individuals and families lack access to enough food for an active, healthy life. In the United States, 14.3 percent of all households experience food insecurity at some point during the year. Have you heard before that “we feed the world”? If that is the case, then why are one in nine people in the world malnourished?...
Want a great lawn? Now is the perfect time to fertilize

Want a great lawn? Now is the perfect time to fertilize

I have a feeling that most would like to be putting their lawn mowers and other lawn equipment away for the season. Hold on for just one more fall task that really goes a long way to benefit your turfgrass. Research has shown that a late fall fertilization provides huge benefits to your lawn. In fact, if you are only going to fertilize one time a year, this would be the one time to do it. Most don&rsquo...
Yes, you may have to water your plants

Yes, you may have to water your plants

I didn’t think I was going to have to say it this year with the way our weather has been, but here it is. If you have newly planted trees, shrubs and perennials, you might consider watering them. If your new plants didn’t get any of the spotty rain showers that passed through the Miami Valley last weekend, they would benefit from a good soaking. This includes any plants that you put in...
Grub damage apparent in Miami Valley lawns

Grub damage apparent in Miami Valley lawns

Last week one of our Master Gardener Volunteers mentioned that she came home to a back yard that was completely destroyed by skunks. This is a telltale sign that there were grubs in the lawn. This time of the year skunks are really good at finding what some call “land shrimp,” or white grubs in lawns. They aren’t delicate when feeding, either. This week my husband said, “I...
Pumpkins, hayrides and more fall fun on tap for Snyder Park

Pumpkins, hayrides and more fall fun on tap for Snyder Park

Consider Fall Fest as the festival that will keep on giving. Not only will the event, in its third year, offer two days of autumn-related family activities, but it will showcase the progress of the Kiwanis Children’s Garden, which is nearing completion of its first phase and set to become one of the area’s premiere nature settings. DETAILS: Cedarville businessmen to pitch coffee product...
Volunteers work to make Snyder Park feel more welcoming

Volunteers work to make Snyder Park feel more welcoming

Volunteers were hard at work Wednesday morning planting new flowers and grass at Snyder Park. Kathy McComaey, with the Master Gardeners of Clark County, said the goal is to make people feel invited when they come to the park. “We are finishing up a year-long project,” she said. “We wanted this perimeter planting to welcome people.” The Snyder Park community garden has been...
Why spiders in the garden are a good thing

Why spiders in the garden are a good thing

Spiders. You either hate them or don’t mind them. I rarely find someone who likes them, however. I love spiders when they are in the garden doing their job: feeding on other insects. I don’t really mind them when they are in the house. Just a little squish with the foot takes care of that. You might consider putting spiders back outside if you find them in the house, but that may not work...
'Fixer Upper' couple criticized over new home decor line at Target

'Fixer Upper' couple criticized over new home decor line at Target

On Tuesday, Chip and Joanna Gaines, of HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” announced plans for a new home-decor line to hit Target stores nationwide in November.  “Just as we’ve never created an exclusive line of product for a retailer before, Target has never done anything like this before either,” Chip Gaines wrote in a blog post. “This stuff is gorgeous...
Fall invading pests arriving: Here’s what to know

Fall invading pests arriving: Here’s what to know

It’s the time of year when we start seeing the normal fall insects coming around and into our homes. Questions are rolling in about yellow jackets, multicolored Asian lady beetles, leaf-footed bugs, brown marmorated stink bug, some species of flies and more. At best, most of these are annoying and some such as the yellow jackets and wasps are more annoying than others. Most calls right now are...
Chip, Joanna Gaines team up with Target to release home-decor line

Chip, Joanna Gaines team up with Target to release home-decor line

Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” are expanding their brand. >> Read more trending news   The Waco, Texas, husband and wife -- whose recent projects include the wildly successful Magnolia Market, a book from Chip Gaines called “Capital Gaines” and a new annual event in Waco called “Silobration,” to happen next month -- ...
If your neighbor's tree falls in your yard, who pays for cleanup?

If your neighbor's tree falls in your yard, who pays for cleanup?

If a tree falls in your yard, what you do next could save you money, a limb and maybe even your life. >> Read more trending news  According to Trees Atlanta, the metro area has the nation's highest "urban tree canopy," defined as the layer of leaves, branches and stems of trees that cover the ground when viewed from above. During the stormy summer months, fallen trees...
Fall is a great time for planting

Fall is a great time for planting

Fall is an excellent time for planting in the landscape and garden. The nice thing about fall planting is that the air is usually a little bit cooler and we tend to have a little more moisture to help establish roots. Most resources will tell you that for plants to grow their best, they need at least one inch of rainfall a week. Thus, if we don’t get rain you must supplement, especially on new...
Now is the time to tidy up perennial beds

Now is the time to tidy up perennial beds

Because of the crazy growing season and the weather ups and downs, plants in the perennial garden have bloomed much earlier than during a normal season. Flowers that would normally be blooming toward the middle to the end of August are starting to bloom now. We are also seeing this in the natural areas and ditches as well. This also means that some of the earlier blooming plants such as coneflowers...
Meet master gardeners at event this weekend

Meet master gardeners at event this weekend

A former Springfield summer tradition has been reseeded and is ready to grow again in a new location. The first Snyder Park Garden and Arboretum Jubilee will offer countless varieties of plants in six gardens to be explored, a variety of speakers, how-to topics, kids’ activities, free food and live music, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5, rain or shine. ››MORE SPRINGFIELD...
Cottrel: Take a closer look at moths, butterflies in Clark County

Cottrel: Take a closer look at moths, butterflies in Clark County

It’s that buggy time of year. Have you ever seen the mosquitoes as bad as they are this year? We keep trying to figure out how to encourage more barn swallows, bats and purple martins, but I’m afraid they would get sick from overeating at our place. Sadly my new favorite perfumes have names like “Off,” “Repel,” and “Deep Woods.” RELATED: Cottrel: Historic...
Garden tour takes new routes

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
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