Oct 19 2014

News from Kruse

Filed under Kruse House

The West Chicago Historical Society’s annual Ice Cream Social was a big hit again this year. It was a gorgeous day and people turned out to enjoy the excellent baked goods provided. The garden co-operated fully and never looked better, and everybody enjoyed a great event.

Well folks, here it is October already, and it’s time to shut down our gardens for the winter. All the plants and flowers that we enjoyed so much this summer will be covered with snow in a couple of months.

Being that it is almost Halloween I’m going to relate what happened to me several weeks ago. For those of you who know me, and those of you who don’t, I love Halloween. I decorate my house, and my yard. A couple of years ago a friend of mine gave me several Japanese Lantern plants. I have planted them in several areas of my yard. A number of these plants came up near the entrance of my driveway. One thing about Japanese Lantern plants is that they grow where they want to. For those not familiar with these plants, they have small flowers that look like little orange lanterns. Anyway, I have got these little lanterns growing and the more I looked at them the more I realized that they look like little pumpkins. I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be great if these little “pumpkins” had little Jack-o-Lantern faces on them. My Granddaughter would just love them. So I get my black marker out, and draw small Jack-o-lantern faces on each lantern, all sixteen of them. It was a sight to behold. I couldn’t wait for her to see them.

Not dwelling on what I had done, I kind of forgot about lanterns. That was until, a lady knocked on my front door holding one of the little lanterns in her hand. She said that her and her two children walking by and her five year old son had spied the Jack-o-Lanterns. He had run up and picked one of the little lanterns, and then brought it back to show his Mother. Being a good Mother, she felt it necessary to apologize for her son’s actions. I thanked her, and told her to keep the lantern for her son. She then asked me about the plant itself, and wanted to know where she could buy these Jack-o-lantern plants. She said she was not from around here and had never seen anything like them. She expressed an apparent interest to grow these herself. Oh-Oh, what do I say now? Do I admit that I’m a bit crazy, and spent an hour drawing faces on my plants. Or do I make up some story about how these are experimental plants that are not on the market yet. Now, for those of you who know me, and those of you who don’t, Happy Halloween. Oh, and by the way, keep your eyes open for the new Jack-o-Lanterns plants, soon to be available at your local greenhouse.


Sep 17 2014

News from Kruse

Filed under Kruse House

As summer is winding down and the coneflowers, daisies and day lilies are fading, we’ve been dead heading, but leaving some seed heads for the birds.  Many flowers are still brightly blooming including sweet pea, moon flowers, black-eyed susan, caryopteris and sunflowers.  The hosta Royal Standard, planted last year, produced numerous white blossoms that are incredibly fragrant.

Double False Sunflower

Double false sunflower (Heliopis hilianthoides ‘Asahi’) a mid-sized,  bushy clump of dark green leaves and golden yellow fully double daisy flowers; height 24–36 inches; soil – moist/well drained; blooms July, Aug, Sept.

Check out this sunny specimen located between the tool shed and the pond.

Monarch Butterfly

This Monarch was spotted mid-August in the garden.  Did you know in their larval stage, monarch caterpillars feed almost exclusively on milkweed and as adults get nutrients from the nectar of flowers? Monarchs that live east of the Rocky Mountains will migrate to Mexico while monarchs that live west of the Rockies migrate to southern California.  The number of monarchs has significantly declined, so please help protect these beautiful little creatures and plant milkweed in your gardens.


Angie’s philosophy of weeding is “when in doubt, toss it out”.  Billie prescribes to the rule of “use your soil knife to dig out the root”.  Kerry is learning not to micro-manage weeds, but to be ruthless – dig them out!  Tom’s favorite gardening tool is a sharp hoe that works well for weeds with very shallow roots. The best time to remove weeds is when the soil is damp and moist.

Lively Conversation

As we tend the Kruse garden, conversation goes in all directions or down many paths.  Pulling pig weed led to recalling a TV episode of Julia Child guiding a pig through the woods searching for morel mushrooms.  Then, Tom was reminded of the phrase “even a blind pig finds an acorn once in a while”. That led to the derivation of curious expressions.  Join us; not only is weeding fun, but the chatter is too.

A Rose is a Rose is a Rosa

A frequent debate among gardeners is whether we should call plants by their common name or their botanical names.  A plant’s botanical name is its only positive identification.  Master gardeners use the botanical names or what some refer to as real names.  Have at it…it’s fun to learn new languages, especially the language of flowers.

-Kerry, Billie, Angie and Tom

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