Lifestyle Columns

Garden Variety: Emerald ash borer regulations changing

The emerald ash borer is a destructive insect pest that has killed hundreds of millions of ash trees in the U.S. since its introduction into the country. Federal and state regulatory officials attempted to slow it down by regulating movement of ash trees, wood and mulch, but their efforts have ...

Spirits: Celebrate the new year with mimosas, bloody Marys

This has been an anxious year. With the end of such a challenging year, I would like to offer a toast with a simple glass of Champagne. Now I would be remiss if I didn’t specify that, in order to be called Champagne, it must come from the Champagne region of France. Outside of that region, ...

Garden Variety: Build a terrarium garden at home

Terrarium gardens are a fun and educational activity for people of all ages, and they can be as simple or as complicated as you want. Terrarium gardens are appropriate year-round (and should last for years), but winter building offers a special opportunity to connect with nature when the ...

Local History: The joke used to be ‘Lawrence isn’t worth a dam’

Today as you drive south down Tennessee Street near the Sigma Chi fraternity at 1439 Tennessee on the west side, there is a Gower Place street sign. Take note of that sign, because it is a reminder of one of Lawrence's most historically important residents. At one time this site was the ...

Garden Variety: Reasons to compost yard waste and how to start

Compost is the best soil conditioner available for use in any kind of garden, landscape, or lawn. There are many kinds of compost available for purchase at most garden centers, but it is also easy to make with a little space and time. Making compost saves money and benefits the environment ...

Garden Variety: Ways to preserve fall leaves

Leaves have started falling from deciduous trees in the Lawrence area, and some admirers might want to pick up a few of the prettiest leaves and take them home. But these small ornaments of fall quickly dry and fade — unless they are preserved or made into art. Pressing leaves is the ...

Garden Variety: Can mums survive the winter? It depends on planting, care

Chrysanthemums, often called mums for short, are the most popular flower for fall color in the landscape in the Midwest. They adorn porches, planters and gardens with their varied hues of gold, orange, pink, red and white and are often paired with other fall favorites such as pumpkins, corn ...

Garden Variety: Monstera plants growing in popularity

Interest in indoor plants has increased steadily in the U.S. over the last several years, and a few specific plants and types of plants are stealing the show. One of these plant groups is Monstera. Basic types of Monstera are widely available, but rare forms sell for hundreds or thousands of ...

Garden Variety: Natural touches for your fall decor

There is something about fall, with its cooler temperatures and changing leaves, that seems to lure even the most minimalist of decorators into setting pumpkins on the porch. Perhaps the cheery orange color is hard to resist, or there is something appealing about seeing the fruits of the ...

Local history: Looking back at how the Spanish Flu hit Lawrence and KU

I started this story in December of 2019 because I remembered how much people in audiences through the years have enjoyed hearing about the home remedies that were popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries. As I took another look at it recently, I realized the article shouldn’t just be ...

Garden Variety: Protect your sunflower seed harvest from wildlife

Sunflowers add a splash of late-summer color to gardens and landscapes, but they are more than just pretty flowers. The seeds produced by these plants are a tasty treat for people and wildlife. Take steps now and in the coming weeks, as the flowers fade, to preserve the seeds for harvest this ...

Garden Variety: Getting the most of your winter squash crop

There are many kinds of squash, and the best time to harvest each is different. In particular, the winter squash group, which includes acorn, butternut, spaghetti, and other squash with hard mature rinds, can be difficult to know when to pick. Winter squash also has a longer shelf life (and in ...

Garden Variety: Know the signs, causes of tree decline

Late summer is often the time of year when trees that are struggling to survive succumb to environmental stresses and/or pests. They may put on an early show of fall color before dropping their leaves, or they may simply drop their leaves or needles. This happens with trees in natural settings ...

Local History: A few stories of the Castle Tea Room and its number-loving parrot

It was interesting recently to read that the local United Way organization, seeking to raise its profile, chose to move into an architectural landmark on Massachusetts Street. Located just south of South Park on the west side, the Castle Tea Room is certainly a notable and attractive building ...

Garden Variety: Now’s the time to control crabgrass

Early August is when crabgrass becomes most noticeable in the Lawrence area, and it is especially prolific this year. The weedy grass grows in spreading clumps and favors curb lines, bare spots in the lawn, landscape beds, gardens and sidewalk cracks. Now is the time to control it or make plans ...

Garden Variety: Know how to identify, remove poison ivy

Poison ivy is well known for the reactions most people have from handling or brushing against the plant, but despite its notoriety, many people also find it hard to recognize. To add to the confusion, there are mentions of poison oak and poison sumac. Poison ivy is native to Kansas and ...

Garden Variety: How to handle sweet corn problems and pests

July is sweet corn season in Kansas. While some gardeners are already enjoying fresh ears of corn from their gardens, many are still waiting for kernels to develop or are battling corn earworms, raccoons and deer. Here are some tips for dealing with these problems and pests. The most common ...

Garden Variety: Assassin bugs in your garden? No problem

Many Lawrence-area gardeners are taking notice of an interesting and distinctive insect this summer, which appears to have a larger population than usual. The insect is commonly known as a wheel bug or assassin bug (Arilus cristatus), and it benefits plants by feeding on plant pests. Right ...