Just stop freaking out about the pandemic, OK? I mean, you should follow the guidelines of the CDC or some other trustworthy experts. But beyond that, freaking out does not help. One good thing about being isolated at home is that we can spend more time in our gardens, right? So let’s talk about spring …

Did you know that a Right to Garden Act has been introduced in the Illinois General Assembly? Yup. The bill numbers are HB 4704 and SB 3329, and the chief sponsors in their respective chambers are State Representative Sonia Harper and State Senator Scott Bennett.

I spent a lot of time over the weekend finalizing my seed and plant orders for spring planting. Though “finalizing” may not be the right word, as I always end up making follow-up orders for every season. This list would be much longer, but I already ordered lots of stuff that I planted last fall. …

What with St. Valentine’s Day coming tomorrow, I thought I would tell the story of how I met Judy, my blog partner and spouse of almost 35 years. So cast your minds back to 1983 in Chicago. I was working for a political organization, preparing for a regional conference up in Madison, Wisconsin. Judy was …

The Madison Garden Bloggers Fling: Don’t Miss It!

The 2020 Garden Bloggers Fling will be held in Madison, Wisconsin on June 18-21st. For most of us Midwesterners, that’s just a few hours drive – truly a golden opportunity for those who have never before attended.

So here’s a small bit of encouraging news for pollinators.

There’s an American Witch-Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) planted on the east side of the house. Rabbits chewed it to the ground every year before I protected it with hardware cloth.  Then it bounded upward and quickly reached its current height of about 10′. It’s still growing, I think.

Phantom of the Mexican Sunflower

Butterflies are gradually becoming more scarce as we slide into the last week of September. However, this weekend I got a lucky capture of a Black Swallowtail on a Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia). This guy’s stance and coloring made me think of Phantom of the Opera, plus it kind of looks like he is wearing …

Do you remember Impatiens (Impatiens walleriana)? It used to be my number one plant for filling containers all over the shady Back Garden, providing bountiful and vibrant color from May to September. Starting around 2011, though, the scourge of Impatiens Downy Mildew (IDM), caused gardeners everywhere to turn their backs on the stricken plants.

Scenes from the Back Garden

For today’s post I’ve got just a few peeks from the shady Back Garden.