Deer, Deer

When I was a kid growing up on a farm in the 1950s and 1960s, I only remember seeing deer once the entire time. I was an active kid and was always out and around the farm and local woodlots but I never saw deer. In the past month, I have seen groups of two to five deer several times in my suburban backyard when I look out from the breakfast table.

White Tailed Deer

The white-tailed deer and black-tailed deer populations found in suburban and urban areas across America have increased dramatically since the 1960s. As deer begin to become plentiful, homeowners initially enjoy seeing them and may actually encourage deer to come into their yard by feeding them. Traditionally rural townships becoming suburban may ban hunting or place restrictions on firearm use for safety reasons. Bambi begins to settle in and lose his or her sense of fear for humans. Continue reading

Did You Know?

PGC-T-Sorbus-aucuparia-aka-European-Mountainash-3The mountain ash (Sorbus species) may come from the mountain but it is not really an ash tree (Fraxinus species). It is actually a close relative the apples (Malus), pears (Pyrus) and roses (Rosa) since it is a member of the Rose Family (Rosaceae). Therefore, it is susceptible to many of the same diseases of its relatives including the fungal leaf disease, apple scab and the more serious bacterial disease, fireblight. The better news is, that since it is not a true ash, it does not get attacked by the  Emerald ash borer which is in the process of killing millions and millions of ash trees throughout the Midwest.

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Plant Bugs

PGC-I-Four-Lined-Plantbug-04-EditWhat are those tiny black circular spots that mysteriously appear on the surface of leaves of mums (Chrysanthemum), mints (Mentha), Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum), speedwell (Veronica) , black eyed Susans (Rudbeckia) and many other plants? Is the damage due to disease or insect or something else? Odds are that they are the work of a critter called plant bug.

Although we often use the term “bug” as being synonymous with insect, “plant bugs” are a specific subdivision of the insect world. They are insects of the Order Hemiptera whose mouthparts are adapted for piercing plants and sucking their juices. Several of them are common pests in the home landscape.

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Fun Gardening Calls

Coreopsis tripteris - Tickseed

Coreopsis tripteris

Welcome to the blog from PlantsGalore.Com. My name is Ralph Heiden and I am a retired Extension Horticulture Educator from the Midwest. Over 30 years as a professional horticulturist, I have gained a lot of education and experience…some of it quite interesting. In this blog and with my website, I hope to continue to share what I have learned with my fellow backyard gardeners.

Although I was once forced to be a “generalist” covering all aspects of horticulture, my retirement gives me the freedom to concentrate on my main love, ornamental horticulture. So, you won’t hear much about fruit and vegetables or greenhouses on these pages. My energy will be focused on ornamental trees, shrubs, annuals, biennials, perennials and vines that are used in the home landscape. I have developed a special interest and “expertise” in hostas since I have gardened in the shade for several decades. That is why I have created a website called HostaHelper.Com where I currently have photos and information on over 2,400 different hostas.

Anyway, to kick off this new blog, here are a few anecdotes about some of the interesting experiences I encountered while answering a couple thousand telephone calls each year during my tenure as Horticulture Educator.

More…Fun Gardening Calls

Garden Home Remedies

“Spread some lime to get rid of those grubs.” “Marigolds will keep those rabbits away.” “Plant winter squash on the third day after the full moon.” “Spray beer, molasses and ammonia on the lawn to make it healthy.”

Home remedies come in all shapes and forms. Some actually work. Others do no harm but do not work either. A few will do a lot more harm than good. After a couple of decades of answering homeowners’ phone calls, I sometimes think I have heard them all…then the phone rings again and it is something new.

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