Plants and Gardening

How to Create a Winter Container

I love my container gardens in the growing season, but what’s the best way to brighten your doorstep for the longest season of all: winter? The answer is the easiest kind of container gardening, even for the black thumbs among us. The key is knowing how to create a harmonious design that doesn’t blow over in winter’s first blizzard. I attended Kathryn Deery’s winter containers class at the Garden last year and this is what I learned:

Fruit Pursuit Game

Why Pumpkins Are Fruits and Other Cool Botany
Think you know what a fruit is?  Most people think of fruit as being sweet or tart, juicy or crunchy, or peel-able like a banana—but none of that matters, botanically speaking (and that’s what we speak here at the Chicago Botanic Garden). The way botanists see it, fruits are made by flowering plants and contain seeds. So pumpkins are fruits. What about tomatoes? Yep.

Trust Us: Orchids Aren’t that Hard to Grow

Inspired by In the Tropics: The Orchid Show and want to grow your own orchids? We’ll help you choose which ones are right for you.To get started, drop by the Orchid Show, which runs until March 24, and note the ones that catch your eye. Then come to the Post-Orchid Show Plant Sale, where you can buy orchids at bargain prices.Meanwhile, Assistant Horticulturist Chester Jankowski provided these basics on four kinds of orchids.

Gardening Lessons from the Polar Vortex

You may have noticed that the Garden closed for two consecutive days on January 29 and 30, due to the recent polar vortex for the safety of our staff and visitors. But the extreme subzero temperatures weren’t just hard on humans, they were also hard on some plants. Tom Tiddens, Supervisor of Plant Health Care, said it could have been worse if we hadn’t had an insulating blanket of snow on the ground.

Propagation: Multiplying Your New Plant Family

There comes a time in every plant parent’s life when you begin to think about expanding your family. Are you ready for more plant children? Should you reassemble the crib? How will your houseplants feel about having siblings… er, clones?Aside from the internal struggles, enlarging your plant collection by propagation is a relatively easy—and inexpensive—undertaking. It also makes a thoughtful gift over the holidays or as a homegrown housewarming present.

Planting a Fire Escape Herb Container

I love coming home to my quiet, tree-lined Chicago neighborhood, but one thing I miss about urban living is ample outdoor space.The back door of my apartment leads to a wooden fire escape—built after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 as a second means of exit from the building. The landing is wide enough to finagle furniture during moves, but doesn’t invite much summertime lounging or late-night stargazing. Still, I find myself dreaming of an herb garden growing in the little patch of morning sun that filters through the stairs.