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July 2015

I love this time of year, admiring the time and effort that people have put into their bright green lawns and colorful flower beds, germinating vegetable gardens and blooming baskets. But how depressing to drive home and sigh at my own lawn sprouting clover! Nurseries and retail garden shops are beginning to look a little picked over and the July heat puts everyone on alert to make watering a must, but there is still time to jump into the growing season or correct what has already gone terribly wrong!

Despite my complete lack of landscaping skill which I’m sure my neighbors appreciate so much, I do enjoy flipping through the newly published items that attempt to motivate the laziest of people to color up their yard. Entire publications on pruning, weeding, fertilizing and even the perfect flowerbed arrangements, but I’m still waiting for the short pamphlet style book on what to plant and just leave it to admire for years to come! I’m also still waiting for someone to publish an entire book on how to make clover weed a focal point in your outdoor living space!

Every year there is a new crop of publications and I can’t help but wander by the 635 section to find out what might be possible if my thumb wasn’t anything but green!

Recent publications include Troy Marden’s “Plant This Instead!: Better Plant Choices”. It might be a little advanced for me yet but the introduction caught my interest discussing the “glamour shots” of plants that entice us while making our annual purchases! I have long operated under the assumption that you see mums in the fall and zinnias in the summer so what a learning experience to first figure out first what “zone” the Coulee Region is in – didn’t actually fully realize there were zones! Now that I figured out we reside in zone 4 maybe I can make some better planting choices to begin with.

I couldn’t help but pick up Jessica Walliser’s “Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden: a Natural Approach to Pest Control”. Really? I’ve always been worried about getting things to grow – now I have to worry about an insect-friendly garden? Actually, it’s a fascinating book about what’s going right and wrong in your garden behind the scenes! The real story behind Pixar’s Bug’s Life!

My favorite book this season is Lisa Mason Ziegler’s “Cool Flowers: How to Grow and Enjoy Long-Blooming Hardy Annual Flowers Using Cool Weather Techniques”. It’s not my favorite because she included the great zone map that helped me figure out what I should be paying closer attention to, but my first flip through the book revealed her section on “My First Time With Flowers”. OK – here we go – someone who wasn’t born an expert! She also dedicates an entire appendix to Tools, Supplies and Seeds! OK – now we’re talking my novice level! Maybe now I’ll sound like I half-way know what I’m talking about the next time I’m lost in the gardening area of a local store!

Whether you’re a recovering black thumb or a Master Gardener, there is no better place to start your search to plant the perfect garden than the La Crosse County Library with locations in Bangor, Campbell, Holmen, Onalaska and West Salem. Uncover a new direction to take your garden yet this year or start planning for next year’s season.


Chris McArdle Rojo, MLS
La Crosse County Library Director
103 State St.
Holmen, WI 54636

608-526-9600, opt. 1


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