Roots

What do you think happened here? This toppled tree is in the Deer Grove Forest Preserve in Palatine. Deer Grove is one of my favorite places to walk during the winter. When the ground is frozen and covered with snow I can venture off the trails without damaging the plants growing on the forest floor.

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All About Irrigation

Here’s how to get your irrigation system to work, and you aren’t going to like it one bit. But take heart, your landscape will love you for it. Here’s the problem: you think your irrigation system works like your furnace and air conditioner, but it doesn’t work that way at all. Although the two systems

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Your Plant Nemesis

Do you have a plant nemesis? This spray-painter clearly does – and it’s the lowly privet. He’s emphatically declaring that he does not intend to plant them, and is discouraging us from the same. (I realize there’s an alternative explanation for this involving the lack of a dictionary, but I’m sticking with my interpretation.) When

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Replace the Rusty Tricycle with a Lush Garden

You probably have spaces in the living areas of your home that you would rather not think about. That narrow space between the refrigerator and wall. A closet where you throw all the junk as the guests are pulling up. Under the stove – yikes, I don’t even like to look at the dozen lint-covered

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How did this perennial get past Ted Cruz?

I had no idea that Everest Sedge is a supporter of China’s failed and discredited Cultural Revolution: Click here to follow link to Willowway Nursery1 We use this plant a lot, or as much as we can, given its limited availability. I always thought it was simply a very attractive, borderline hardy grass-like plant that

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Ephemeral Landscaping

If you liked to draw on the driveway with chalk when you were a child, there’s an art festival for you in Victoria, BC. The art is not for sale, and it’s not hanging in wire cubicles lining the street. It’s painted on the street with chalk. The subjects aren’t spaceships or stick-legged monsters –

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Hey, who said you could put that bench there?

Let’s say you are Cosimo de’ Medici and you hire Donatello to paint your portrait. Several years later you decide your portrait would look better with a Snidley Whiplash mustache. Do you pull out a 15th century magic marker and draw it on? Do you e-mail Donatello and ask him to stop by and paint

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Tenacious R

Weeds are plants that grow where you don’t want them, and plants growing in the cracks of sidewalks and driveways are frowned upon in polite society. The Wild Petunia in this photograph may be a weed in my neighbor’s sidewalk, but in mine it’s a symbol of the prairie clinging to a place where it

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Coming to a neighborhood near you?

I took this picture in southern Indiana in late October, while on a trip to visit my son at college. I was very, very amused by this blue wood chip mulch. I couldn’t wait to post this on the Muddy Boots blog page, and I was writing sarcastic comments on scraps of paper as I

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Your Home’s Handshake

Does your front walkway resemble the Dead Marshes in The Lord of the Rings – that horrifying landscape that the hobbits (and one ex-hobbit) had to cross on their way to the fiery volcano?

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Rod Serling and the Squirrel Tail

There’s no mention of Rod Serling’s gardening/landscaping interests on Wikipedia, and I’m sure he was making another point, but I couldn’t help thinking of the famous Twilight Zone episode when I saw this squirrel tail grass. In “The Eye of the Beholder”, a woman undergoes a series of facial reconstruction surgeries to correct a deformity.

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Ali or Liston*? Spring or Fall?

You know how when you have finished a bag of peanut M&Ms and you crinkle up the bag and stuff it in your pocket and then later you pull the bag out to throw it away and you find a few still in the bag that you missed? Those are the best ones! Those last

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Just in Time for Halloween – Gruesome Photos

These arborvitae were planted about 25 years ago. The plants were almost dead when I took the pictures. When the plants were dug from the nursery, plastic twine was used to hold the burlap around the soil ball. The twine was also tied around the trunk to keep the trunk from wobbling around in the

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Dog eats grass, lives to bark about it

Both our permanent dog and temporary dog eat grass. They devour feather reed and hakone grass like they were covered in gravy. They aren’t fooled by foliage that looks like grass but isn’t – they don’t eat grass-imposters like lily turf and blue-eyed grass . Feather reed grass foliage seems like it would be rough

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Comic Book Crabapple

How well do you know your Batman villains? This is the Two Face of crabapples. There is an explanation for Two Face, and it doesn’t involve acid. Many crabapples are really two trees – a flowering “top” grafted to a rootstock of a different crabapple or apple variety. I don’t like to plant grafted crabapples

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Landscaping on Fire!

I was driving by this dump truck-sized yew on a recent windy day when a large puff of smoke erupted from the top and blew across the yard. At least it looked like smoke. In fact, it was a huge puff of pollen, shaken loose by a gust of wind. Yews have flower-like structures like

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Sharpen Your Shovel

You will be amazed, and I mean really amazed, at how much easier you can dig with a sharp shovel. Anything that will be used for digging or edging should get a sharp edge.

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