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Archives for July 6, 2017

Weather to blame for leaves falling from trees – Belleville News

Q: We have a Japanese weeping cherry; the leaves are turning yellow and are falling to the ground. What can we do to prevent this?

S. B. of Shiloh

A: Your Japanese weeping cherry is just showing the results of a wet spring followed by a dry early summer. In the spring, the tree produced a large number of leaves due to the large amount of rain. Then as the summer became drier and drier, the tree’s roots could not absorb as much water to sustain the leaves and the leaves then dried up and turned yellow and then fell off the tree.

To help this stressed tree you need to give it a deep watering either by using a slow drip system over a longer period of time. Or you can use a deep root probe to apply water deeper into the soil. The second method is preferable as this method encourages the tree to send deeper roots and allows more water to be absorbed as the roots will have a greater depth to absorb water and keeps the roots from growing at the soil surface.

This problem is not just a problem with weeping cherry trees this year, but many other trees are losing many leaves which have also turned yellow. If someone researches a tree and it states the species is a ‘mesic’ species, this indicates that is prefers a moist condition to survive.

Q: I am growing three dozen tomato plants with six different varieties and two of these plants growing in different areas are showing some rather unusual coloration with bright yellow showing up on just the young developing leaves. I have used a rope wand to apply Round-up on weeds that are growing near the tomato plants and then later turned brown and dried up. Could the Round-up be causing this condition? If it is, what can I do?

K.T. of Caseyville

A: This could be the problem as once a plant is sprayed or touched by Round-up, the Round-up is carried to the young developing tissues at the ends of the stems and within a few days will turn brown depending upon the air temperature.

Magnesium deficiency could give very similar coloring of bright yellow with green veins remaining but usually all of your tomato plants’ young leaves would be showing this condition not just two plants.

Q: In a small wooded area behind my house is a tall growing young tree with these unwanted pests on the undersides of the leaf. Spraying is not an option because of its height. What can we do?

S. R. of Belleville

A: The leaves of a Pignut Hickory (Carya glabra) seem to have bladder gall mites. You do not have to worry about spraying or any control. Usually in July this mite will stop its activity and migrate back to the bark to spend the winter. There is usually not much damage done. If it bothers you next year, in early spring before the leaves bud out you can spray the lower branches with a dormant oil spray, which will suffocate them.

Charles Giedeman is a local contributing writer. Send your gardening questions to Lifestyle Department, Belleville News-Democrat, P.O. Box 427, 120 S. Illinois St., Belleville, IL 62222-0427, or email them to

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Native coneflowers may be perfect for your perennial garden

Echinacea, or coneflower, as it’s commonly called, is a durable, long-growing, native perennial flower for our area.

They come in a variety of colors, like yellow, white, red, orange, and a soft pinkish-purple color.  Coneflowers usually develop a good tap root and are drought tolerant, though they still appreciate a good watering.

These flowers can bloom from the beginning of summer to the end, especially if you deadhead their old flowers.  But if you want to attract birds, keep some blooms on to mature until the seeds come out of the center.  Coneflowers are also great for attracting pollinators like bees and butterflies.

Most coneflowers will grow to be about 18″ – 36″ tall, so you’ll want to plant them somewhere in your garden where they won’t block your other plants.  Try these beautiful flowers out to add a long-blooming, native perennial to your garden.

Have a gardening question?  Use the form below to ask the folks at Bennett Nurseries.  We may feature this in an upcoming Garden Tips segment!


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Watch out for falling tree branches and other tree maintenance tips

A hot windless summer morning. A really loud crashing sound. The street behind our house is completely blocked by a huge oak branch that has just fallen, crushing a parked car. Neighbors and I walk up to the shattered branch to take a look. The limb is enormous – at least 20 feet long and 3 to 4 feet in diameter. The valley oak tree that the limb fell from is over 30 feet tall and appears to be healthy (green leaves, no branch or tip dieback). The branch had broken off about 5 feet from the trunk and it wasn’t a clean break. Both ends of the oak limb are jagged and torn. No signs of disease, insects or rot.


Sudden limb drop, sometimes called summer branch drop, is common in our climate zone. On hot windless days, large heavy branches from mature trees (especially oaks, Southern magnolias and eucalyptus) will suddenly crash to the ground with no apparent cause. The breaks typically are not clean – the branch splits unevenly, 3 to 12 feet from the trunk. Long horizontal branches drop most often.

No definitive cause for sudden limb drop has been discovered yet. Theories on possible causes include loss or movement of water within the tree and higher concentrations of ethylene gas.

Deep irrigation of mature trees that are more susceptible to sudden limb drop seems to have little effect (but it sure can’t hurt to deep irrigate our venerable landscape trees during the hot summer months). This tree had been poorly pruned (what’s often referred to as lions tale’s pruning) with main branches stripped of secondary branches. Tufts of leaves were left at the end of the branches, placing more weight there.

Repair of the damage to this tree and others that drop large limbs in summer is work for highly skilled, certified arborists. The loss of a major branch can unbalance the tree structure which must be correctly rebalanced and the broken limb must be trimmed so that the break heals properly.

It’s common in our hot dry summers for small interior branches on redwoods to die and fall, littering the ground underneath the trees with brown needles and dead wood. The amount of litter often concerns homeowners who assume the entire tree is dying. This process is normal during hot weather for coastal redwoods that are better suited to cooler climates; they’re shedding excess interior wood and needles to maintain a heavy outer canopy that creates a protective cooler microclimate around the trees.

Many redwoods in our area are subjected to thinning, a type of pruning which removes many of the main branches to create an open branch scaffolding. Thinning a redwood tree raises temperatures inside the canopy and exposes bark to scorching sunlight. Interior branches that have died during the summer heat can be cut off without stressing the tree, but major exterior branches should be left in place. Some homeowners don’t mind the look of the thick carpet of needle litter and leave it on the ground to act as a mulch. Good idea.

In summer, keep the soil under redwood canopies consistently moist using soaker hoses, small oscillating sprinklers or bubblers to slowly irrigate the shallow root system.

Send Elinor Teague plant questions at

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Garden tips: What to do in your garden in July

Half the year is over, but there’s still plenty of gardening to be done. Here are some things to do this month:

  • We are coming into the hottest days of the year, so check your irrigation systems to make sure you deliver enough water at the right times. Watering early in the morning will benefit most plants and prevent mildew as well as evaporation.
  • Check your mulch. If you failed to mulch earlier, do so now to help keep soil moist and prevent weed growth. If you mulched this winter, check your beds to see if you need to replenish.
  • Prune fruit-bearing plants including cherries and early plums; cut back cane berries — blackberries, raspberries and boysenberries — if they have finished bearing, and remove old growth and stake new canes.
  • Clean up fallen fruit.
  • Fertilize citrus and use finished compost to top-dress plants.
  • Stake tomatoes and beans.
  • While it’s summer and you might not want to think about it, now is the time to start seeds for your winter vegetable garden. No, we never get to just enjoy the season we’re in.
  • If you have fruit trees, watch out for aphid and scale populations. You’ll likely see a lot of ants around, which is a good indication you have one or both insects. You can treat them with insecticidal soap.
  • Deadhead your flowering plants to promote more blooms.
  • Love the look of hibiscus? July is a good month to plant them, as they love the heat and will take root quickly. Plant in nutrient rich, well-draining soil, and deeply water the tree so the roots remain moist for the first two weeks after planting.
  • Plant corn, cucumber, lima beans and summer squash now for a late summer, early fall harvest.

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CONTACT fundraiser to showcase Freeport-area gardens – Freeport Journal

FREEPORT — Todd and Becky Simmons have added native plants to their landscaped 16 acres in Eleroy since the last time they were featured in a local garden walk.

The location, which has been the Simmons’ home since 2007, will be among seven featured in the 2017 Garden Walk, which raises money for CONTACT, a 24-hour helpline.

“We have a walk bridge that takes them across a creek, and along the way, they can view native grasses and plants,” said Becky. “We have been getting ready for this walk since spring and are excited to show off new native plants that we have added to the landscape.”

Participants can take a self-guided tour of each garden, which has a unique mix of style and purpose. There will be a plant sale at one location and others will have area master gardeners on hand to give tips on creating an aesthetically appealing garden.

“Becky and I love to work outside, and planning what we do is fun to do together,” said Todd. “We put a lot of research into the plants we have added.”

Pam Werntz, executive director of CONTACT, said the fundraiser is a great way to get some ideas on flower and vegetable gardens, raised beds and decks. One of the things she likes about the annual walk is the whimsical and collectible items that are interspersed throughout the gardens.

This is the third year for the walk to raise money for the helpline that takes calls from abused or addicted adults, lonely seniors, teens and individuals threatening suicide. The lines are open seven days a week.

Last year, the Garden Walk raised $3,000; Werntz hopes for more this year.

“While the Garden Walk is a fundraiser for CONTACT, it is also a great way for the community to see the sites that are out there, the things people do around their homes, and this year we added sites from the community that many aren’t aware are also beautiful places in themselves,” Werntz said.

The sites Werntz is talking about are Debate Square in downtown Freeport and the Don Opel Regional Arboretum on the grounds of the Highland Community College campus. The arboretum is a 210-acre outdoor collection of 4,500 trees, shrubs and ground covers.

People can sign up for a grand prize of a free garden design and a $75 patio plant. Master gardeners will be available to give the tour and speak of the landscape of the college. The gardens are located in Freeport, Eleroy and Lena.

The Garden Walk will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. July 15. The rain date is July 16. Tickets are $10 for guests ages 11 and older and $5 for children ages 4 to 10. Children 3 and younger are free.

Tickets may be purchased at Country Girl Floral and Gifts, Deininger Floral Shop, Gemorifics, Natural Water Gardens, All In Freeport and DeVoe Floral in Lena.

Jane Lethlean:; @DOGWMN2


Featured sites:

· Wanda and Tim Siegner, 1685 Spring Creek Lane in Freeport

· Debate Square, 114 East Douglas Street in Freeport (free sack lunch to first 50 people)

· Plant Sale at John’s Plants, 645 W. Cleveland in Freeport (Portion of proceeds will be donated to CONTACT)

· Don Opel Regional Arboretum, Highland Community College, 2998 W. Pearl City Road in Freeport. (Use Lot D)

· Debbie and David Schwartz, 2025 Cimarron Drive in Freeport (Fairy garden drawing here)

· Becky and Todd Simmons, 2238 N. Bridge Street in Eleroy

· Cindy and Jim Arnold, 14474 W. Daws Road in Lena

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Martyn Wilson, of Wilson Associates Garden Design, Worcester presents ‘Brownfield – Metamorphosis’ garden at RHS …

A WORCESTER garden designer has scooped gold at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show with his display focusing on the beauty of Britain’s brownfield sites.

Martyn Wilson, who runs Wilson Associates Garden Design in the city, presented his ‘Brownfield – Metamorphosis’ garden at the world’s largest flower show, which runs from July 4 to 9.

Featuring urban art references by renowned street artist Louis Masai on recycled hoardings, the garden will form part of the new ‘gardens for a changing world’ category at RHS Hampton.

The design uses swathes of grasses, ferns, herbaceous perennials and self-seeding annuals against hard landscaping and takes an abstract look at regeneration, demonstrating nature’s ability to succeed against the odds and transform an open space.

Mr Wilson, a former town planner with Worcestershire County Council, said: “I’m incredibly chuffed and so grateful to everyone who helped me create this garden. It’s been such a tremendous pleasure building this show garden at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show and to get a gold medal is fantastic.”

The garden is sponsored by St. Modwen, a UK expert in developing brownfield sites with Worcester links.

The firm is currently transforming part of the old DEFRA site at Whittington Road into a development of local homes, called Weogoran Park, in addition to business space.

Martyn’s design has been inspired by the High Line project in New York and successful brownfield regeneration schemes in the UK.

The RAF veteran, who now lectures at the Cotswold Gardening School, is also helping to raise the profile of cancer charity Urology Cancer Research and Education (UCARE) at the show with volunteers greeting visitors.

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Bringing nature into your backyard – BBC News –

Brownfield metamorphosis

Image caption

Brownfield metamorphosis: A garden about regeneration

Projects such as the High Line in New York have used industrial spaces to create wildlife havens in the heart of the city. It’s a trend that’s spreading around the world. So how can you connect with nature on your own patch of turf?

Take inspiration from a forest glade

It’s a tiny slice of forest in an urban landscape. Hawthorn and crab apple trees provide a shady canopy over a collection of shrubs, wildflowers and grasses. The garden, London Glades, at the Hampton Court Flower Show, is designed to mimic the forest floor.

Mounds of rotting wood and garden waste have been covered with topsoil to be more sustainable and echo the natural contours of the wild.

Jon Davies of Future Gardens London says the garden sets out to explore a deeper relationship with nature.

“One of the main things we’re working with is Hugelkultur, which in German means hill culture,” explains Jon. “It’s the idea of creating mounds in the ground, so contouring the land rather than just having it flat.”

He says the contours create interesting planting environments for different plants.

“We’re trying to get a Hugelkultur revolution going on, especially in the urban environment, and saying, ‘Look, your gardens don’t have to be flat,'” he explains. “We can create these really cool contours, which create really interesting planting environments.”

Image copyright
Andreas Christodoulou and Jon Davies

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The designers behind London Glades

Stimulate the senses

Part of the concept of the garden is to invoke the senses. Strawberries nestle among other plants, where you can reach out and pick them. There’s moss to tickle your toes if you walk barefoot along soft paths.

“We’re trying to get people to get all their senses involved when experiencing this garden,” says co-creator Andreas Christodoulou.

“So there’s an edible element to every plant and so therefore you can taste what the plants are like.

“There’s a lovely smell, especially during the rain, along the lawn paths, and we encourage people to take off their shoes as they walk through so that they can feel and try to explore the soft landscaped paths.”

Invoke a sense of untamed beauty

Plants are chosen for their textures and flowers, while the trees create dappled light and shade. The overall effect is soft and wild, rather than the straight lines and manicured lawns of traditional gardens.

Image caption

Topsoil is laid over rotting wood and garden waste

“We want to try and get a feeling of nature, and the woodland and the wildness into an urban setting so you feel very connected in a deeper way to the natural environment,” says Jon.

Recreate the surprising beauty of brownfield sites

Martyn Wilson from Wilson Associates Garden Design is behind a garden that echoes the way nature takes over abandoned industrial spaces.

Image caption

Garden designer Martyn Wilson

“The concept is around the regeneration of brownfield sites as they’re known,” he explains. “My inspiration is from places such as the High Line in New York and the Landschaft Park at Duisberg in Germany, but also major regeneration sites such as the former MG Rover site in Longbridge in Birmingham.”

Sculpted steel forms the basis of the garden, together with concrete blocks. The planting includes birch trees, buddleia bushes, grasses and ferns.

“I’m of the view that people perhaps walk past these spaces,” says Martyn.

“They perhaps don’t look through the hoarding and see what’s going on inside. So I’m hoping people will look at these sites and hopefully see the beauty of them. “

Image caption

Flowers grow against a backdrop of steel

Create a gravel garden

Old factories and industrial spaces can go through periods of transition where they are reclaimed by nature.

Even a small patch of land of 9 by 5 metres can harbour wildlife. Plants peep through gravel as if they have sprung up naturally, attracting insects such as damselflies.

“This is in essence a gravel garden – it’s low maintenance… and if you’re wanting to encourage wildlife it’s very pollinator beneficial,” says Martyn.

Follow Helen on Twitter.

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A greater green


July 5, 2017

3:00 AM

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Cancer Resource Centre Garden Event Blossoms With Fresh Ideas and Inspiration

A special garden program hosted by the Cancer Resource Centre promises to offer an abundance of creative ideas from 10 am to 2 pm on Saturday, July 22. “Window of Hope” is the theme of this special event to be held at the June Hawk-Franklin Garden of Meditation and Healing at the Cancer Resource Centre, 926 Ridge Road in Munster.

Inspirations from the Garden offers the community an opportunity to tour the healing garden at the resource center, as well as view window box creations and presentations by local artists and gardeners. Demonstrations will include chi gong and crystal bowl sound healing.

Guest Artist Shari Smith LeMonnier of Munster will use the healing garden as her inspiration for a painting she will create at the event. LeMonnier’s spiritual and peace related paintings have been recognized by the Middle East Council of Churches, the Embassy of Afghanistan and the White House.

Landscape architects Rob and Heidi Szrom from Lakeshore Landscaping Lakeshore Seasonal Services will discuss the variety of artful pots and beautiful plants available on the market today. They will demonstrate how to design a unique arrangement that suits your own personal style.

Award-winning hypnotherapist, author and healer Randi Light, MS, CH, will share the benefits of hypnosis and how it can reduce stress, expedite healing and help relieve pain and depression. As a mental trainer, Light teaches how to use the mind to relax, heal and change focus.

Master Gardener Vicki Jostes will delve into the amazing lives of honeybees and explain just what these super insects can do, from the queen to the worker bee.

Demonstrations of the healing arts of chi gong and crystal bowl sound healing will be offered by the staff from the Cancer Resource Centre. Yoga Instructor Andy Wichlinski will demonstrate chi gong, a gentle form of exercise that improves health and overall well-being. Crystal bowl sound healing, used to wash away stress and still the mind will be demonstrated throughout the event by Instructor Pam Kozy, RMT, IARP.

During the event, unique Window Box designs will be on display created by local gardeners/artists. The window boxes will be available at the event for purchase with proceeds benefiting the Cancer Resource Centre. All window box materials have been contributed courtesy of generous sponsors Calumet Harbor Lumber Company and Gus Bock’s Ace Hardware, Dyer-Lansing-Munster.

Tickets purchased in advance are $10/$12 day of event. Tickets are available from the Cancer Resource Centre, 926 Ridge Road, Munster or from the gift shops of Community Hospital, 901 MacArthur Blvd, Munster; St. Catherine Hospital, 4321 Fir St, East Chicago and St. Mary Medical Center, 1500 S. Lake Park Ave, Hobart.

Proceeds benefit the Cancer Resource Centre, a program of the Community Cancer Research Foundation. The resource center offers free support, education and mind/body programs to help patients with cancer and their loved ones cope with a diagnosis. For more information call Rachel Lewis at the Cancer Resource Centre, 219-836-3349.

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Beautiful and water-savvy Big Bear gardens

It may seem like Big Bear received a lot of snow this past winter, but it really was only an average winter — not enough to bring the Valley entirely out of the drought. Big Bear Valley gets all its water through nature — aquifers — and water conservation is not going away any time soon.

“Water Conservation … A Big Bear Way of Life,” is the theme of the 15th annual Big Bear Valley Xeriscape Garden Tour sponsored by the Sierra Club Big Bear Group. The tour is one way to see landscaping ideas, discover drought tolerant plants and learn how to save money on water bills, all while creating drought-tolerant gardens. One home features a landscape that has low-water usage and is fire-wise.

Big Bear City resident Annie Aldrich’s garden is one stop on the tour. She said her yard was a blank slate when she moved in and started her xeriscape and organic garden. “This is what you can do with no money,” Aldrich said of her donated plants and greenhouse built of reclaimed wood and plastic.

Aldrich grows squash, basil and tomatoes in the greenhouse. She has raised beds of herbs, artichoke plants, bulbs and other flowers. Almost all of her plants are surrounded in chicken wire to keep out chipmunks, rabbits and birds.

Aldrich collects compostable waste material all winter and tips the barrel out into the compost heap in spring, which she mixes with moss, sand “and a little bit of horse poop,” Aldrich said. Her mulch is chipped sticks and pinecones from the many pine trees in the neighborhood. Aldrich uses pine needles to keep the dust and mud down on her walkways.

Her advice to gardeners? “Don’t get too attached to the plants,” Aldrich said. “Bunnies will eat them, they’ll get dug up for water lines.”

In addition to a variety of homeowner gardens, the Xeriscape Tour includes Big Bear Lake Water Department’s Xeriscape Demonstration Garden on Fox Farm Road in front of the China Gardens Community Garden Project. Native plant expert Orchid Black is on hand to answer questions there.

The Big Bear Homeowner Expo at the Demonstration Garden features 13 booths and a free native and drought-tolerant plant exchange. Gardeners can exchange native and drought-tolerant plants with others. Xeriscape Tour committee members donate plants for the exchange. Event organizers want all the plants to be adopted by the end of the day, so be sure to pick one up.

The Big Bear Valley Xeriscape Garden Tour is Saturday, July 15. Participants begin the free self-guided tour anytime between 9 a.m. and noon at Eminger’s Mountain Nursery, and have until 4 p.m. to complete the driving tour of selected homes in Big Bear Valley. A tour booklet includes locations and directions for tour stops, and has helpful information on xeriscape gardening in Big Bear Valley.

Eminger’s Mountain Nursery is at 41223 Big Bear Blvd., Big Bear Lake. The Xeriscape Demonstration Garden is at 42050 Fox Farm Road, Big Bear Lake.

For more information, visit or call 909-866-1067.

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