January Articles

Edibles Through the Seasons

Lawn Alternatives

Bring in the Bugs

Sizzling Plants for 2015


December Articles

Ghosts in Our Landscapes

Backyard Bugs

Self-Sowing Annuals

Chinese Parrotia




Featured Books for January:


Midwest Fruit & Vegetable Gardening
by Katie Elzer-Peters


Plant, Grow, and Harvest the Best Edibles - Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota & Wisconsin

If you’re interested in growing your own fruits and vegetables, you’ve joined the ranks of a blossoming group of DIY gardeners who place a premium on the idea of self-reliance. But like any other kind of gardening, growing edibles is not a one-size-fits-all pursuit: in order to be successful, you’ll need to know not only which plants grow well in your state or region, but also how to grow them with careful methods and a schedule that caters specifically to your local microclimate. Fortunately for you, Midwest Fruit & Vegetable Gardening is written exclusively for gardeners who want to grow edibles in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, or Wisconsin. Author Katie Elzer-Peters, the master gardener responsible for our bestselling Beginner’s Illustrated Guide to Gardening (2012), equips you with all the information you need to design your edible garden, tend the soil, maintain your plants throughout their life cycles, and—most importantly—harvest the delicious foods they produce. So whether you live in the Badlands, the Dells, the Quad Cities, or anywhere else in the Midwestern United States, you’ll discover the best fruit and vegetable plants for your garden in this beautiful step-by-step how-to guide ... and they’ll be on your table before you know it.



Trees, Shrubs, and Roses for Midwest Gardens
by Ezra Haggard


The only garden design book featuring shrubs, trees, and roses for the Midwest, with recommendations of the best species as well as tips for good plant combinations.

Ezra Haggard, author of the popular Perennials for the Lower Midwest, literally takes landscape design to a higher level with this gorgeous book especially for midwesterners. Trees and shrubs add mass and the all-important vertical element to a garden. If well chosen, they also contribute beauty, texture, and color all year long and for years to come, beautifying the home and adding to its value, screening out unattractive elements, providing privacy, and improving with age. Haggard considers all aspects of more than 100 ornamental trees, shrubs, and roses that are suitable for the Midwest, low-maintenance, and guaranteed not to outgrow a small garden. (A mistake in scale is one of the most expensive errors a beginning gardener can make planting a row of cute baby Canadian hemlocks up against the house, for example.)

Haggard gives mature sizes for all the plants he discusses, as well as other important information enough to help gardeners decide whether they must have a particular plant or are better off without it. The midwestern rose lover will find Haggards assessment of relatively trouble-free roses a short but invaluable list.

Plant families discussed in some detail include hollies, hydrangeas, magnolias, ornamental maples, rhododendrons, spireas, and viburnums. Old favorites like deutzia, flowering quince, kerria, and mockorange are treated, as well as such less-known but easy species as bushclover, cherrylaurel, falsecypress, katsuratree, and sourwood, which add distinction to any landscape. Perhaps most useful of all are Haggards sometimes unexpected tips on plant combinations, which will be found throughout the text and in the accompanying photographs.

Ezra Haggard is an artist who works with, knows, and loves plants. With his quarter-century of hands-on horticultural experience in the Lower Midwest, he is amply qualified to give advice on how to make our gardens more beautiful and interesting and our gardening lives easier and more satisfying.