Bruce Chladny

Rain gardens beautifully pair form, function in backyard
May 18, 2006
Now that the spring floods have slowed to refreshing showers and garden soils are drying to workable conditions, many gardeners are repairing the damage that 6-plus inches of rain have caused. Building a rain garden may be the answer to minimizing flooding and slowing erosion in the backyard. Here is what you need to know about this new twist on an old concept and how to build your own rain garden:
Intervening on behalf of abandoned animals depends on situation
April 20, 2006
Spring brings new life to our landscapes: fresh flowers, green leaves and baby animals of all sorts. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to find young birds, rabbits and squirrels on their own, seemingly left to protect themselves from the evils of nature. But sometimes it is not safe to assume that these creatures are frail and alone. Here is what you need to know and what you can do when you find an abandoned animal in your area.
Give houseplants vacation
April 13, 2006
It is a general garden practice to dig and divide perennial flowers and ornamental grasses every three to four years. Helping to alleviate overcrowding increases plant health and vigor. We often forget that houseplants are actually tropical outdoor plants that tolerate the confines of clay pots and dim south-facing windows.
Put the ‘free’ back into ‘weed-free’ lawns
April 6, 2006
Most home lawns in our area are either cool-season grasses, warm-season grasses or a combination of both. Unfortunately, across the middle United States, we live in a transition zone.
Diligence required to control pesky weeds
March 30, 2006
Although the recent rains and warmer days have brought about a welcome change in the landscape, several less-than-desirable plants are out-greening the lawn, shrubs or flowers. A combination of grassy and broadleaf weeds are quickly becoming the focal point of the spring show, taking away from the hyacinth, forsythia and quince.
Planting new trees rejuvenates nature after spring storms
March 23, 2006
Winter’s final attempt to wreak havoc on our community ended with downed power lines, holes in roofs and tree debris scattered all around town. Now that most gardeners have removed the broken limbs and brought in professionals to inspect the damage, it is time to start rebuilding. Just as you would replace missing shingles or repair scratched and dented cars, it is time to replant trees blown over by tornado-force winds.
Springtime project: Make a house for Eastern bluebirds
March 16, 2006
One measure of vitality in an urban area is the number of homes erected each year. Unfortunately, this development leads to the decline of other types of dwellings. Wildlife often depends on the grass and trees that covered the land before houses took their place. However, there is one species of bird that can be encouraged to move in with new home construction - only on a smaller scale.
Concerns about mulch from Katrina areas not cause for alarm
March 9, 2006
With the cleanup of the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast still in full swing and the beginning of another season less than 100 days away, a recent buzz on the Internet is raising a lot of questions about what is happening with all of the debris being disposed. Tales of contaminated mulch coming north in an effort to make cheap money have gardeners all across the Midwest up in arms.
Yes, your landscape needs watering now
March 2, 2006
As we end the second month of the year with no measurable amount of precipitation, by most accounts, this was the driest February in history. As a logical consequence the question becomes: “Should I water?” With the threat of a frost or freezing temperatures still ahead, many gardeners are hesitant to water, as this may lead to plant growth. And new plant growth may be killed by a sudden drop in temperatures. The fact of the matter is that plants will benefit from a drink and in the long run will thank you.
Weather offers clues about potential insect woes
February 23, 2006
With a record $365 million lottery jackpot going to a lucky winner, it only took a dollar and the correct guess of a few random numbers to win. In the landscape, many gardeners apply this same philosophy to predict the pest problems that we will encounter this year. And most of the time their dollar bet is based on the type of winter we had.
Time’s right to prune
February 16, 2006
From time to time our hair becomes a bit too wild and unruly. And all that is needed to tame the curl is a stylish haircut. In the landscape, plants often find themselves in the same situation. But instead of heading to the barber shop or beauty salon, sharp pruners, a watchful eye and knowledge about plant bloom time are all you need to become a pruning pro.
Mark your calendar for annual lawn-care musts
February 9, 2006
As all good cooks know, some of the best-tasting foods start with a few key ingredients and a secret family recipe. Similar to cooking, a healthy green lawn requires a few key ingredients and, until now, a secret family recipe (or calendar). As we anxiously await the arrival of spring, take a few moments to review the recipe and begin to make your own lawn care plans.
Protect plants for when winter chill returns
February 2, 2006
Warm days and cool nights - so this is what winter is like in the South. If so, I like it. Unfortunately, plants may not agree as the mild temperatures can come to an abrupt end at any time. And when they do, what will happen to trees, shrubs and bulbs that think it’s spring? Hopefully not much. Winter cold and a budding plant do not have to lead to plant death.
Trapping best solution for ridding yard of moles
January 26, 2006
Moles: Their mere mention sends a shiver down any gardener’s spine. Their destructive nature and complete disregard for garden boundaries make them an un-welcome sight in any garden. More importantly, mole tunnels make it difficult to walk in or mow over the lawn. And they dig around roots, causing plants to shrivel and die. However, this subterranean insectivore can be a blessing in disguise if you garden in heavy clay soil.
Sort out the myths about springtime soil preparation
January 19, 2006
As gardeners contemplate the unseasonably warm temperatures and begin to plan their spring gardening activities, a discussion about soil is sure to arise. With the heartland being a melting pot of people from all around the world, there are many myths and beliefs about how soil should be treated in our area. So, as we anxiously await that first frost-free morning, here are some misconceptions to mull over before you work the soil to “make it better” this year.