Northern & Central Midwest
Favorite or New Plant
In the northern parts of the Midwest, we can't grow flowering dogwoods. But a wonderful alternative is the kousa dogwood (Cornus kousa). These plants grow 10 to 15 feet and are covered by shiny, green foliage that turns bright red in the fall. In early spring they bloom with tiny, yellow flowers surrounded by showy, white bracts. The blossoms are followed by reddish pink raspberry-like fruits that are quite showy through the summer, and also are quite attractive to wildlife, including many, many birds. The exfoliating bark is striking as well. Unlike flowering dogwoods, these plants are quite tolerant of dry conditions and are resistant to the diseases that afflict Cornus florida. Give them somewhat acid soil, full sun to partial shade, and an organic mulch.
Clever Gardening Technique
Protect Eggplants From Flea Beetles
Flea beetles a problem on your eggplants? Invest in large perennial rings and put them over the plants. Then cut appropriately sized floating row covers and stitch or staple the covers into sacks to fit over the perennial rings. Make them a bit longer than you need so you can hold the bottoms down with stones or soil. These can be left on throughout the flea beetle onslaught.