Autumn dogbane

When I was around 10 years old, back when all kids were free-range, I spotted spotted a plant during my wanderings that impressed me so much that I’m intrigued by it to this day. I didn’t know what it was called at the time. It wasn’t until later, when I was in college, that I … Continue Reading →

Lots of spots on maple tree

In many cases, diagnosing plant problems requires an in-person look at the plant in question. Too many disorders look similar when all you have is a photo to go by. Earlier this week someone sent me a photo asking about spots on a valuable tree they have in their front lawn. That was an easy … Continue Reading →

Keep an eye on your grapes

According to my records, my grapes are about 10 days ahead of last year at this date. Every growing season is different and any particular year doesn’t necessarily line up with seasonal average growing conditions. Ten days is a long time when it comes to grapes. I covered the grapes with netting last week to … Continue Reading →

Sycamore trees losing leaves

The stretch of dry weather we had took its toll on some sycamore trees planted in a less than ideal spot this season. Although sycamores can grow in dry areas, they thrive in moist soils. That causes a bit of a problem since the best spot to build a structure is on a high and … Continue Reading →

Monet Garden of Muskegon

A couple of weeks ago while traveling in the west side of the state, we had some extra time on our hands so we decided to turn off the highway and do a little bit of sightseeing. We turned on Google maps and it made a suggestion for us based on our location. All it … Continue Reading →

Sunflowers can cause problems in the garden

Plants have developed a number of different survival techniques that can give them advantages over other plants competing for the same growing space. For example, some plants have roots that produce chemicals that inhibit the growth of other nearby plants of other species. It’s a process known as allelopathy. Black walnut trees are probably the … Continue Reading →

Attracting beneficial insects to your garden

As mentioned in an earlier post on this blog, I planted a fairly large plot of buckwheat adjacent to our vegetable garden this spring. The main idea behind planting buckwheat was to provide forage primarily for honeybees and for any other pollinators that might be around to take advantage of it. As it turns out … Continue Reading →

Non-scientific survey of early tomato disease

This is the time of the season when tomato plants start showing signs of disease infections, usually as different shapes and colors of spots depending on which particular disease has infected the plant. Earlier this week I took an informal survey of several varieties of tomatoes to see how each variety is holding up under … Continue Reading →

Horsin' around in Traverse City

There’s plenty of horsin’ around this summer in Traverse City. And visitors are invited to get in on the fun each Sunday, through Aug. 13, when the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival hosts Grand Prix events featuring riders in various age groups and their sleek show horses, some of them Olympic-caliber. Whether they’re competing as “hunters” … Continue Reading →