March 1, 2020

The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map was originally compiled at the Arnold Arboretum, first published in 1938 and most recently updated (for only the second time) in 2012. *  The previous update was in 1990.  The map can be useful in helping to decide whether or not to pl...

February 1, 2020

The Old Farmer's Almanac claims its "weather" predictions are 80 percent accurate--using a secret formula created back about 1800, and still employed.  However, a University of Illinois professor of atmospheric science conducted a study which concluded the Almanac's pr...

January 1, 2020

Perhaps you have noticed the seasonally abnormal appearance of many Oriental maples (AKA Japanese maples).  I am referring to the tan-brown leaves still attached to many central Indiana specimens past New Year's Day.  But do you know why they are still attached?  Allow...

December 1, 2019

Like many people, I enjoy giving; but like some, I find it uncomfortable receiving.  The discomfort for me has always been tied to inherent introversion as well as embarrassment linked to impoverishment in my youth.  Now, as an aging adult, I am a little better...

November 1, 2019

(1)  All woody species (vines, shrubs & trees) are indeterminate growers (i.e., they do not stop growing {getting bigger} unless dormant, until dead, and some species may live many decades or centuries).  Eastern White Cedar (AKA arborvitae) Th...

October 1, 2019

One of the most glaring home landscape issues in the Midwest is the prevalence of declining and dead Colorado Blue Spruce (Picea pungens).  The causal agent of the disease (needle cast) is several species of a fungus (Rhizosphaera)--other species, especially...

September 1, 2019

I was hesitant when considering a job offer at the Indiana State Museum back in 1987 which would require me to move from Champaign/Urbana IL (affectionally called Shampoo Banana by some) to Indianoplace, a derogatory title the city had acquired back then.  I am an inve...

August 1, 2019

Mid summer is when one starts to see more scalped lawns, or lawns that are habitually cut too low and begin turning brown.  I will discuss WHY this happens (both plant and people) and WHY it is a poor cultivation/management technique.  First, the height you choose for...

Tree topping (technically pollarding) unfortunately is a somewhat common practice, especially on the south side of Indianapolis (see photo) and in rural areas.  The result is a hideous look, especially when leafless, AND is not healthy for the plant.  So, who is to bla...

June 2, 2019

About a year ago I started displaying a word sign along the road at the intersection fronting my property (see September 2018 blog post).  The word for this month (June 2019) is zealotry.  Before you ask why, let me give you some background info.  I was involved in the...

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Rant of the Month

Unfortunately, most people have limited gardening ability or environmental ethic; including many "professionals" employed to choose, install and maintain plants and design landscapes. This page highlights specific examples of the incompetence and deficiency with commentary on remedy or recommendation for course of action. Examples are numerous and easy to find -- rarely requiring me to travel far from home.  Hopefully, these postings will make the task of finding examples more difficult.

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