'Hostas are emperors of the shade with more than 4,000 cultivars' Writer Linda Geist for MU Extension: A problem many gardeners face is what to plant in a shady area. "Perhaps no plant brightens a shade garden more than the hosta", said David Trinklein MU Extension. The hardy perennial thrives in shade and is easy to grow. “Their lush foliage brings attractive color to the shadiest of garden corners.” Read on here.
'Milkweeds' by Missouri Dept of conservation Field Guide: There are 22 species in 4 genera of milkweeds in Missouri: Asclepias (milkweeds; 17 species), Cynanchum (2 species; sand vine is the most common), Gonolobus (angle-pod; 1 species), and Matelea (climbing milkweeds; 2 species). Learn more here.
'Milkweed Life' by Bob & Barb Kipfer for Springfield Plateau Chapter of the Missouri Master Naturalist™ July 4, 2022: Because milkweed is best known for being the obligatory host plant for Monarch caterpillars it is easy to forget about the value of milkweed in nature. To the 450 species of insects that feed on it, it must look like Walmart. In our back yard a lot of other insects can be found on the plants. Learn more about this here.
'Squash: Recognition at Last' by David Trinklein, MU Plant Science & Technology: Ask any number of people what their favorite vegetable might be and I doubt that many would answer “squash”. Learn more about growing squash here.
'Squash Vine Borers - Integrated Pest Management Strategies' by Missouri Botanical Garden: squash vine borer, Melittia cucurbitae, is native to Missouri. It is a serious pest of both summer and winter squash. The insect will also attack cucumbers, pumpkins, muskmelons, and watermelons. Learn more here.
VIDEO: 'Water Features for Your Garden' by KY Extension Horticulture 'Water in the Garden Features' Webinar 38 min YouTube video with Sharon Flynt, Horticulture Extension Agent for the University of Kentucky in Scott County discusses water features you can add to your landscape.
'Waterlily: Easier to grow than you might think' Writer, Linda Geist for MU Extension June 30, 2022: Some gardeners consider waterlilies to be the ultimate challenge. Many admire them but few grow them, said MU Extension horticulturist David Trinklein. Though waterlilies may appear exotic and fragile, they are tough and durable. “Once established, waterlilies flower well into late summer and provide an exotic addition to any landscape,” he said. Learn more here.
'Firecracker penstemon (Penstemon eatonii) explodes with patriotic color' Writer, Michele Warmund, horticulturist for MU Extension June 29, 2022: It is just one of about 270 species of penstemon, also known as beardtongue. "Its showy stamens protrude from the flower and resemble a hairy tongue.”... red tubular flowers bloom on long stalks and attract hummingbirds. Learn more.
'Cool Off with Gray Plants' by David Trinklein, MU Plant Science & Technology July 7, 2022: While garden plants might not be able to reduce air temperatures significantly, they can help us feel a bit cooler on a hot summer day. Learn more, continue reading here.
TWO LINKS: 'Cool gardening tips for hot days' by Donna Aufdenberg MU Extension June 16, 2022: Both gardeners and their plants need extra care when it’s hot outside... gardeners to take care of themselves first so they can tend to gardens and flowerbeds. Continue reading here.
PLUS: 'Hot tips for keeping cool' by Karen Funkenbusch MU Extension.
HOT WEATHER WATERING: 'Vegetable Gardening' - See Irrigation for Gardens by MU Extension.
'Managing Lawns and Turfgrass' by Brad Fresenburg and Lee Miller MU Division of Plant Sciences: Managing a lawn involves decisions about frequency of mowing, fertilization and watering, and whether you plan to use crabgrass preventers or products to control turfgrass diseases and insects. Learn more here.
Interested in landscaping with native plants? You will need to develop a landscaping plan. I would suggest the use of native plants that will do well in your USDA Hardiness Zone. For the most part, natives require less work to maintain from weather, insects, etc. I would start with reviewing plans and plant lists aviable through Grow Native! to find what you think you might like (also explore the website). This is the webpage where you might start your planning process.
'Flea Beetle - Integrated Pest Management Strategies' by Missouri Botanical Garden: Small round holes in leaves and insects that jump like fleas are two signs that a plant is infested with flea beetles. These shiny oval beetles may be black, brown, bronze, or striped and are only 1/10 inch long. They quickly leap out of sight when disturbed. There are several species of flea beetle. Can be, also, controlled with kaolin clay (see article above on squash bugs and stink bugs) Learn more here.
'Bagworms - Including Integrated Pest Management Strategies' by Missouri Botanical Garden: Bagworms, (Thyridopteryx ephemeraeformis) produce conspicuous spindle-shaped cocoons on trees and shrubs throughout the U.S. feeding on over 128 plant species. Most commonly attacked plants are arborvitae, red cedar, and other juniper species. They also feed on fir, maple, juneberry, buckeye, persimmon, ginkgo, honeylocust, larch, sweet gum, spruce, pine, sycamore, poplar, oak, locust, willow, and hemlock. Learn more here.
'Organic Management Options for the Japanese Beetle at Home Gardens' by MO Extension Staff: To control this invasive pest, many people are interested in using less or no insecticides, and other control options that are safer for home-owners and also compatible with organic production. Continue reading here.
Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) Fact Sheet by National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC): This fact sheet describes Bt used as a pesticide in sprays, granules, and other products. Currently, Bt is found in over 130 registered pesticide products. Understanding pesticide risk will help you take steps to minimize it. Learn more.
'Bees and Wasps' MU Extension Publications: G7391, Bees and Wasps + G7424, Carpenter Bees. Plus, some additional Related Publications. For more information use this link.
'Most ground-nesting bees are useful pollinators' by Paul Pugliese, Univ of GA Extension agent: (Applies to Missouri as well.) Each spring I receive several calls from people who encounter ground-nesting bees and wasps for the first time. These are actually “good bugs” that are doing their job as pollinators or serving as useful predators by controlling other harmful insect pests. But when ground nests are located in areas such as yards, gardens, flowerbeds or playgrounds, most clients would rather not hear a discourse in entomology. Continue reading.
TWO LINKS: Have Voles, Mice or Moles? Review these two publications form MoBot: 'Voles and Mice - Including Integrated Pest Management Strategies' by Missouri Botanical Garden: Voles, Microtus spp., also commonly called meadow mice, are seldom seen... These are chunky, ground-dwelling rodents about 7 inches long with a tail that is less than 2 inches long. There are several species of voles, including the woodland vole, meadow vole and prairie vole. In Missouri, chances are you will be dealing with the prairie vole. Learn more here.
PLUS: 'Moles-Integrated Pest Management Strategies' by Missouri Botanical Garden: Moles are a long-standing nuisance to the garden, known for unsightly tunneling and uprooting favorite plants. Moles are classified as insectivores but will also eat earthworms and other small animals in the soil. They only rarely consume plant material. Learn more here.
'Growing Home Garden Tomatoes' This is a very popular Missouri gardening topic and we have a large readership. Some of our Missouri readers may want to review this MU Extension guide.
Are your tomato leaves curling? Review 'Tomato Leaf Curl' David Trinklein, MU Plant Science & Technology: There are several reasons this can occur and some are more serious than others. Learn what you can do to ensure a robust tomato harvest this year. Read more here.
'Caterpillars 'Horn In' on Tomato Plants' by Michele Warmund MU Div of Plant Sci Aug 6, 2021: Several types of caterpillars can cause damage to tomato plants in Missouri. However, the tomato hornworm (Manduca quinquemaculata) and the tobacco hornworm (Manduca sexta) are often the most noticeable.... Continue reading to learn more here.
TWO LINKS: Become the Garden Detective... Garden critter damage is not always easy to ID without actually sighting the culprit. A game camera can help. Examining the plant for insects, etc. Footprints in the garden. Visit with your neighbors, they might be having the same problem. Start protecting your garden. There is a lot of information on the topic, for example, start with, 'On patrol for critter control; Protecting ornamental plants from wildlife.'
PLUS: 'Coexist with wildlife while preventing damage.'
Sassafras (Sassafras albidum) is a short to medium-sized tree, often forming colonies from root sprouts, with a columnar canopy, a flattened crown, and contorted branches that turn upward at their ends. Read on here.
'Eastern Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix)' by Missouri Dept. of Conservation: This is a VENOMOUS medium-sized, stout-bodied snake with a sensory pit (heat-sensing pit) between each nostril and eye. It is gray, copper, tan, or pinkish tan with hourglass-shaped bands of dark brown. The markings are often edged in white. Learn more the eastern copperhead is the most common venomous snake in Missouri.
'COLLARED LIZARD' by MDC -- A popular common name for this lizard is the "mountain boomer." The bright colors of the males and unique characteristics make it one of Missouri's most interesting lizards. Learn more.
'Growing Ground Cherries' by Mary Jo Gibson, Master Gardener for Penn State Extension Feb 17, 2022: Try cherry-sized fruits with tropical and tomato flavors in your garden this season—grow ground cherries! The round, half-inch, ripe fruits are harvested after dropping to the ground. Ground cherries are related to tomatoes. Learn more here.