Q. I am looking for a colorful companion to some early-spring flowering bulbs. A friend suggested the low-growing anemone.
Q. I am tempted by the gorgeous azaleas available now in florist shops. Is it possible for me to plant them in my garden in spring?
Q: My children and I want to plant a butterfly garden. Can you suggest flowers that will attract butterflies?
Q. I have some beautiful potted chrysanthemums I purchased from the nursery. If I plant them directly into the garden, will they return next spring?
Q. What is the best way to care for clematis?
Q. How do I know if a mature stand of daylilies needs division? When and how do I do this?
Q. What insect or disease would cause the flower stalks of my beautiful delphiniums to become twisted and their flower buds to curl and blacken?
Q. I am fascinated by the use of flowers in preparing certain food dishes. Are there some basic guidelines to follow when choosing the flowers?
Q. Why doesn't my evening primrose bloom?
Q. Can hellebores be grown in the Chicago area?
Q: Please advise on the best time to prune hydrangeas.
Q. Please advise on the correct time and procedure for dividing iris.
Q. What variety of lavender is the best for planting in our area? I'm especially interested in an intensely fragrant variety.
Q. I am interested in cultivating moss on the sides of some of my stone garden urns to give them a natural, aged look. How do I do this?
Q: I would like to plant some peonies in my garden. Can I do it in the fall, and what tips can you offer?
Q. I have an established planting of peony bushes that are attacked by blight every year. What is the best way to prevent this disease from recurring?
Q. Every spring I become entranced with the different types of poppies, especially those in containers. Which are best for Chicago?
Q. What can I do to prevent powdery mildew from attacking my phlox and zinnias?
Q. What is a rain garden?
Q. What plants should I use in a rooftop garden?
Q. I have recently installed a soaker hose system throughout my garden. How long do I let the water run in order to water adequately?
Q. Please advise on special winter protection for my garden plants.
Q. What is the difference between aggressive and invasive plants?
A. The Chicago Botanic Garden defines an invasive plant as “a species, usually nonnative, that is able to establish itself within existing native plant communities and is posing a threat to the integrity of the community.”
An aggressive plant is one that spreads faster than preferred, or into an area of your garden where it is unwanted. A plant may be aggressive in one area of a garden or neighborhood and well behaved in another.
Q. When is the best time to divide perennials?
A. The cool, damp, cloudy spring we had this year is conducive to many fungal infections. Some of the more common fungal problems affecting hostas are anthracnose and botrytis. This season, Plant Information has seen many cases of hostas infected with botrytis, which can be prevalent in cool, wet weather. Botrytis on hosta first appears on foliage as water-soaked spots that begin small and increase in size. As the spots enlarge, cinnamon to dark tan rings can sometimes be seen within the lesions. Lesions can also travel down to the petiole of the plant.
Q: My peonies have overgrown their space. When can I divide them?