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This month in the garden...


"The best way to make sure you're removing a weed and not a valuable plant? If it comes out of the ground easily it's a valuable plant."



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Monarch Caterpillar
Changing into Chrysalis

As mentioned in the August 29, 2018 Ozaukee Press "Ozaukee Gardener" column, here is a link to a video of a monarch butterfly caterpillar forming its final chrysalis. The process actually took over an hour but this video condenses the process down to one minute:

YouTube Link

And here is a link to a monarch butterfly life cycle information page: CLICK HERE


House Finch & Husky Fur
Nesting Material

As mentioned in the April 25, 2018 Ozaukee Press "Ozaukee Gardener" column, here is a link to a video of a female house finch gathering dog fur for her nest:

YouTube Link


Garlic Mustard

As mentioned in the May 21, 2014 Ozaukee Press "Ozaukee Gardener" column, here is a photo of the garlic mustard plant:

Garlic mustard plant -- Click for larger view


As mentioned in the November 6, 2013 Ozaukee Press, here are some photos of invasive plants to look out for in your garden:

Buckthorn (rhamnus cathartica):

European buckthorn

Purple loostrife:

Purple loostrife

Garlic mustard:

Garlic mustard plant -- Click for larger view


Apple Toxins 

As mentioned in the September 19, 2012 Ozaukee Press, here is a link to a web page detailing the issues with using damaged apples and potential problems with the toxin "patulin": Link Here

Monarch Migration 

As mentioned in the September 15 Ozaukee Press, here is a link to The Journey North's monarch butterfly southerly migration web page:

Click here

On the Wing 

As mentioned in the August 25 Ozaukee Press, here is a link to the video of a female goldfinch harvesting pet fur for her nest:


Garlic Mustard

As mentioned in the May 5, 2010 column, garlic mustard plants are blooming now in Port Washington.  Please pull these plants and dispose of them in the dumpster at the city recycling yard.  Here are some photos of Garlic Mustard -- Click on the photo for a larger view.

Garlic mustard plant -- Click for larger view

Garlic mustard plant -- Click for larger view

Garlic mustard plant -- Click for larger view

Plant Trials

As mentioned in the March 3, 2010 column, here are some links to plant trials in our area:

Chicago Botanic Garden's Ornamental Plant Development department -- CLICK HERE to visit their website

University of Wisconsin's West Madison Agricultural Research Station -- CLICK HERE to visit their website

Arthritis & Gardening

As mentioned in the January 20, 2010 column, here are some references for information on gardening with arthritis:


The University of Wisconsin Extension Office has a Gardening and Arthritis pamphlet available with lots of information.  Their project was funded by the Wisconsin Arthritis Program and other local agencies.  For more information contact:

Anne Kissack MPH, RD -- akissack[at]

Amy Meinen -- meineam[at]

Bill Wright -- wright_wp[at]

For the above email addresses, please replace the [at] portion with an @ character -- This is an anti-spam measure.

Left-Handed Tools

Left-handed people can often benefit from having tools that are designed especially for southpaws.  They are usually more comfortable than those designed for right-handers and often work better, as well.

Here are some sources for left-handed gardening tools:


Riveredge Programs

Our local Riveredge Nature Center has a number of interesting programs coming up in March and April.  Among these are several bird-related workshops, childrens' programs and even maple syrup making!

A complete listing of the Riveredge programs for March and April 2009 is available at this link (Adobe Acrobat Reader is required - Available here).

The complete Riveredge website can be found at this link.

Migration Maps

As mentioned in the April 16, 2008 "Ozaukee Gardener" column, here are some links to online maps of migrations:

Journey North -- Hummingbirds, monarchs, robins, swallows and more! -- Ruby-throated hummingbird tracking map

Midwest Fruit Explorers

As mentioned in the October 10, 2007 "Ozaukee Gardener" column, here are some links to fruit-growing information:

Follow this link to watch a great little video about a standard city lot in the Chicago area with over 170 miniature apple trees!  Gene Yale walks you through his back yard and talks about his trees, which are full-sized fruit varieties grafted onto dwarfing rootstock.

Follow this link to visit the Midwest Fruit Explorers website.  This is a group of amateur fruit growers who share information and conduct seminars several times each year to help others learn grafting and growing techniques.  

Garden Tours Overseas

As mentioned in the March 22, 2006 "Ozaukee Gardener" column in The Ozaukee Press, here are some links to garden touring in other countries:

Australia - Open Garden Scheme
Belgium - Jardins Ouverts-Open Tuinen
Britain - National Gardens Scheme
Japan - N.G.S. Japan
Netherlands - Nederlandse Tuinenstichting (Dutch Garden Society, NTs)
New Zealand - New Zealand Gardens Trust
Scotland - Scotland's Gardens Scheme
USA - The Garden Conservancy


As mentioned in the June 22, 2005 "Ozaukee Gardener" column in The Ozaukee Press, here are some links to details on oxalis and "orchid weed"!


"Yellow woodsorrel" - WeedAlert
"Sour on sourgrass" - Berkeley Horticultural Nursery

Orchid Weed:

"Helleborine" - Connecticut Botanical Society
"Epipactis helleborine" - University of Wisconsin

Tender Perennial Suggestions

As mentioned in the April 9, 2003 "Ozaukee Gardener" column in The Ozaukee Press, here are some suggestions for tender perennials for use in container gardens from a presentation by Anthony Noel at the Chicago Botanic Gardens.

Mr. Noel's point here is that there are lots of other choices for containers than red geraniums with cordalyne spikes for sun or impatiens for shade. I'm sure everything he recommends is great, if you can afford it.

My alternatives aren't meant to be the same as his but to suggest that there are things in your yard that can be used creatively to make your container gardens unique - at least until everybody else tries it. Using plants at hand will stretch your gardening dollar.

As always, I suggest you invest in good containers of ample size. The new lightweight, Thermalite pots are great. They're easy to handle and provide insulation for plant roots in places that are hot and sunny. Smaller pots make more work for the gardener since you'll need to water more frequently. Some plants also need more room to grow large enough to make the kind of display you'll want.


Salvia patens - blue flowers, silver foliage, zone 8-9
Penstemon "Russian River - maroon, zone 7-10
Penstemon 'Stapleford Gem'- lavender, zone 7-10
Pelargonium 'Lord Bute' - raspberry black, zone 10
Osteospermum 'Whirlygig' or 'Pink Whirls' - architectural flower in white or light pink; daisy like with folded petals, zone 10-11

Alstromeria braziliensis 'Alba' - white with a green throat; plants have stiff roots which break easily - don't transplant' zone 8-10

Agapanthus 'Blue Imp' - clear, light blue lily-like flower, zone 8-10
Abutilon - flowering maple comes in many colors, 'Snowfall' is white, zone 7-10
Brugmansia - Angel's trumpet comes in many colors, fragrant; easily started from seed

Crinum x powelii 'alba' or 'rosa' - fragrant, amaryllis type flower (bulb), zone 7-10
Cobaea scandens - purple flowered climber, zone 8-10
Clematis florida 'Sieboldii' - white flower with pinkish center, climber, zone 6-9
Tweedia caerulea - forget-me-not blue flowered climber, easily started from seed, zone 8-10

Senecio cineraria 'Silver Dust' - familiar bedding plant used as standard, zone 8-10
Artemesia 'Powis Castle' - silver foliage, zone 7-9


Hygrangea macrophylla, lace-cap - woody shrubs in a variety of colors
Arisaema candidissimum - Chinese jack-in-the-pulpit, spathe is striped pink and green, zone 6-9
Zantedeschia 'Black Magic' - dark maroon calla lily (bulb), zone 8-10

You might also try these plants. I prefer them because most are zone hardy here. If you don't have room in a protected garage, you may be able to overwinter them by sinking their containers in the garden and mulching the area well. This has worked for me. You can also establish these plants in the garden and then take free divisions for your containers.

Salvia daghestanica - dwarf silver leafed sage zone 5-8 sun
Penstemon x Mexicale 'Pike's Peak Purple' - violet-purple, zone 5-9 sun
Penstemon linarioides v coloradoensis - lavender, zone 4-9 sun
Geranium phaenum 'Samobor' - light maroon flowers, leaves splotched which maroon, zone 5-7 sun/part shade
Alstromeria 'Sweet Laura' - light yellow-orange; zone 5-8 sun
Clematis 'Snow Queen' - 7-10' tall, good for containers, white with pink stamens, zone 5-7
Stachys byzantina - use in sun to replace Senecio or Artemesia, zone 4-7 sun
Pulmonaria 'Northern Lights' - in shade to replace Senecio or Artemesia, zone 5-7
Athyrium nipponicum 'Ghost' Athyrium 'Ursula's Red' - ferns that can be elevated in shade to take the place of Senecio as a standard, zone 4-8
Mini-Bar Rose Morning Glory -6', ivy leafed, variegated form with fuchsia flowers can be trained on a topiary form, easily grown from seed

Miniature trees and shrubs also work well in containers, and can give tropical feel to the garden. When it comes to plants like bananas, however, be sure you know the definition of "dwarf." This just means smaller than normal and, since some plants grow to 30', a dwarf will be 10' or more. This may be larger than you're prepared to house in the living room over the winter.

Ficus carica 'Petite Negra' - this fig bares fruit twice a year in June and September. It will grow between 5-8' tall in a container, full sun, zone 7 plus

Musca Cavendish 'Super Dwarf' - this banana grows about 3-5' tall and may bare 3-6" fruit, full sun, zone 9 plus

Banana "look" can be mimicked with tubers like cannas, available in many leaf colors.

Christmas Gift Ideas

As mentioned in the November 27 "Ozaukee Gardener" column in The Ozaukee Press, here are the links to some gardening-related gifts:

Large-handled Hose Shut-Offs

Hori Knife

Urban Heat Islands

As mentioned in the November 20 "Ozaukee Gardener" column in The Ozaukee Press, here are some interesting links to information on the Web:

Chicago's Urban Heat Initiative

ICLEI Website


Port Washington Garden Club, PO Box 492, Port Washington, Wisconsin 53074
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