2024 Spring Home & Garden

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Page 3 2024 Spring Home and Garden LINCOLN DAILY NEWS April 2024 04. Another Spring is upon us! 06. Baby proofing your home 10. Creative way to fill that “Empty Nest” 14. Re-imagine those garage sale finds into something you will love 18. Fences make good neighbors and so do trees and shrubs 24. Spice Up Your Life with Herb Gardening 28. The cicadas are coming! 34. Flowers, shrubs, and bugs, OH MY! 38. Trends in gardening: When you’re hot you’re hot, but when you’re not you could be cool 42. How to Become a Master Gardener Table of Contents

Page 4 2024 Spring Home and Garden LINCOLN DAILY NEWS April 2024 Another Spring is upon us! Welcome to spring! It seems as though it was just a few weeks ago that we made a similar statement at the beginning of spring 2023, but the truth is a year has passed. The winter of 2023-24 was mild and we began feeling the warmth of spring earlier than is typical for central Illinois. Because of this, we’re already biting to get outside, the lawnmowers are already running, and some of us are thinking about green growing things in our yard, and the pleasures and pains that will come with them. The biggest “pain” we may experience this year is insects. While we all know that there are good insects such as pollinators that we want to see in our gardens there are going to be others that don’t make us all that happy. A mild winner will have made for good “over wintering” survival rates for larvae of some of our least favorite insects, so be prepared to take action when needed. In this edition of the Lincoln Daily News Spring Home and Garden magazine you’ll find a few different stories about how to control insects and what to expect that is exceptional this season. The 2024 edition is also going to provide you with information about trendy garden plants, planting natural windbreaks and living privacy fences. Then we take you inside the home for a while. Spring is a great time to think about painting and refinishing projects. Taking on such projects in the early part of the season has benefits such as being able to open windows to allow ventilation from noxious fumes, and less likelihood that your hard work will be marred by flies and other flying insects. Putting this magazine together for LDN readers is a great pleasure for our staff and stringers because we often find that we choose to write articles that interest us or are impacting us personally. We have a wide variety of interests in our group including furniture refinishing, gardening, trees, shrubs and other woody plants, herbs. We also have new parents and parents who are seeing their kids leaving the nest. Those personal experiences are what we share with you in this edition and we hope you will enjoy reading! [Nila Smith]

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Page 6 2024 Spring Home and Garden LINCOLN DAILY NEWS April 2024 As a new father, the topic of this article is all too real for me. My son, now about three and a half months old, is hitting all of his milestones. Before my wife and I know it, he will be crawling, then walking, then running. All of the information in this article is written to and for you, LDN reader, but I have also written it to myself as a father. Being a parent is one of the most rewarding things you can do. This is likely a statement you have heard before, or maybe even said yourself. While this is true, it also gives one the impression that parenting is simple, maybe even making it seem easy. A more appropriate quote, when read with parenting in mind, may be the following quote from Arnold Palmer, according to brainyquote. com: “The most rewarding things you can do in life are often the ones that look like they cannot be done.” When someone is expecting to become a parent, they must consider how to keep their child safe at home. At first, while there are a ton of rules, they mostly seem simple enough to follow. Make sure your baby sleeps on their back, don’t put anything in their crib with them, feed them Baby proofing your home Continued --

Page 7 2024 Spring Home and Garden LINCOLN DAILY NEWS April 2024 at regular intervals, etc. As soon as your little bundle of joy realizes that the four limbs they have can be used to crawl, however, the task of keeping them safe becomes anything but simple. This becomes even more true when your child realizes they only need the bottom two of those limbs to move around. Once your child learns about the amazing concept known as “running,” all bets are off. If these are thoughts you’ve had, whether you are a parent, are expecting, or are just thinking about what being a parent would look like, then read on. One of the earliest things you can do to start baby proofing your home is to make sure that you have all of the proper detectors. Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are two of the most common and needed, according to Pampers’ baby proofing checklist. They encourage readers to check these devices each month and, of course, change the batteries regularly. Electrical outlets are also very important to baby proof. Outlets are a source of many potential hazards like fires and electrocution. Children should never be left unattended near open outlets, or even ones with things plugged into them. According to Pampers, “children love to stick their tiny fingers and toys into any small spaces they can find.” Seeing as how the outlets in the average home are not far off the ground, this can be a problem as early as your child beginning to crawl. Outlet covers are readily available to buy at most retailers and are simple to install, only requiring them to be plugged into the wall. These covers can be nearly impossible for children to remove. In addition to these covers that plug directly into the outlet, you can also purchase a box that covers the entire outlet. This allows you to keep your electrical items plugged in and your child out. This is a more expensive option and requires more time to install. These boxes keep your child from unplugging whatever is plugged in themselves. If this is a problem you’re having, or just something you don’t want to have to contend with, consider this option. Another common issue you may have across your home is the threat of furniture toppling over if it is knocked into. Many children develop the ability to run before they are able to be fully aware of their surroundings, making this threat very real for any family with tall or wobbly furniture. China hutches, bookcases, or televisions are all hazards. The website Babylist has an article on childproofing written by Seran Kim, an ER Physician. Dr. Kim lists this as her third suggestion to childproof your home. Continued --

Page 8 2024 Spring Home and Garden LINCOLN DAILY NEWS April 2024 With a television, the answer to keeping it from toppling over can be as simple as a wall mount. This option, while requiring you to drill into your wall, will keep your television secured to it. While many wall mounts fit televisions of varying sizes, it must be a flat screen. This option can also be a bit on the pricier side. You can also get furniture straps instead, allowing you to strap your television to the back of whatever kind of stand you have it on. This option will only keep the television from falling forward, however. In the case of bookcases, China hutches, or other taller furniture, the straps mentioned above are also an option here, though you will likely have to drill into your wall if using them in this way. Another option is a wall anchor. This option may be the most secure of all your options but will require you to drill a bit into the back of your furniture to secure the anchor to it. If you would rather not drill into either your wall or furniture, there are no drill options that use strong adhesives instead. Another great piece of advice in Dr. Kim’s article involves the use of baby gates to protect your child from the stairs. Dr. Kim recommends using them at the tops and bottom of your stairs. This will keep your child from climbing up the stairs only to come to a baby gate and then try to navigate back down themselves. Pampers’ website also states an additional advantage of baby gates is using them to keep your child out of rooms you do not want them in. Choosing what baby gate to purchase is another difficult task, as there are so many brands, styles, and even materials that the gates are made of. The New York Times has an article from 2023 that reviews and gives recommendations on different models of baby gates based on criteria such as ease of use/ installation and security. You can read that list for yourself here. (The Best Baby Gate | Reviews by Wirecutter (nytimes.com)) Continued --

Page 9 2024 Spring Home and Garden LINCOLN DAILY NEWS April 2024 Dr. Kim’s list, like most childproofing lists you’ll find, is extensive, and should definitely be read (Childproofing Checklist: 20 Tips from an ER Doctor (babylist.com)) for yourself. The website What to Expect also has an extensive list, but this one, like the Pampers list mentioned previously, is broken down by room of your house. Lists such as these help to navigate the vast amount of information available on baby proofing to find the room you are working on. One of these rooms, the nursery, may be one of, if not the most important rooms to baby proof, as the entire purpose of the room is to have the baby in it. What to Expect recommends things such as having an open top toy box to reduce the risk of pinched fingers, and cordless window blinds to eliminate the risk of strangulation on the blinds’ cords. All in all, there is too much information on baby proofing to recount in this article, but here are a few final tips. Go through each room of your house and baby proof them one at a time. While there are whole house issues that should be addressed, such as smoke/ carbon monoxide detectors and outlets, taking on the task in this manner will help you stay organized and reduce the likelihood that you will miss something. Secondly, use your common sense as a parent. There may be things that you may not think of when baby proofing your own home, but you know your child better than anyone else. Address the issues you think are the most hazardous to your child first. A parent’s intuition is a powerful thing. Lastly, make sure to do research for yourself as well, seeking out credible sources such as articles written by doctors or trusted brands. The amount of information on baby proofing available to the average person is absolutely overbearing. Finding several trusted sources is the way to go. Also, don’t discount the experience of friends and family that have already raised kids. Someone who has already been through the headache of baby proofing might just be the best source of advice and inspiration. Keep a sharp eye on your child and learn everything you can to help you in your effort of keeping them safe. [Matt Boutcher] Resources: 1.https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/arnold_ palmer_386349 2.https://www.pampers.com/en-us/baby/ parenting-life/article/baby-proofing-your-home 3.https://www.babylist.com/hello-baby/doctorchildproofing-checklist 4.https://www.whattoexpect.com/nurserydecorating/childproofing-basics.aspx#nursery 5.https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/ reviews/best-baby-gate/

Page 10 2024 Spring Home and Garden LINCOLN DAILY NEWS April 2024 Becoming empty nesters may fill you with a rollercoaster of emotions, and that is totally normal. Try to give yourself the space to feel “all the feels” and know that you aren’t alone. Chris and I have three children: Christian (26), Kacey (23), and Peyton (19). Peyton was the last one to fly the coop, moving to Missouri for college in August of 2023. Christian moved in and out a few times, attended a few different schools, and worked summers at home. When he finally moved out after getting married in August 2021, we decided that the space that used to be his room would make a great dining room area, so his entire room was torn down and replaced with a beautiful, open dining area big enough for our growing family. Kacey graduated from ISU in May of 2023 and is now a nurse in Gallatin, TN. Her room has become the “guest” bedroom for when they come to visit. I haven’t been able to bring myself to change Peyton’s room yet. I still leave the door open and leave her neon lights on so I can pretend she’s fast asleep in her bed across the hall from us. I am sure that as time ticks away, her room too will become a place for her to “visit”. One thing will never change, this will always be their home, but changing the décor and layout of the house is something that Chris and I are enjoying during this new season of life. Creative ways to fill that If you are settling into the empty nest and ready to make some changes, there are loads of ideas for you on how to repurpose the kids’ rooms in the best way possible. The hardest part of this whole process is deciding how you want to use the space. Think about your lifestyle, career, habits, hobbies, and any issues you have with the current space. Is there something you always wish you had in your home, but never had the space to do it? Now is the time! Here are a few ideas to get you thinking about how to change it up and get the most out of the space. 1. Guest room Although this seems like the obvious choice, it really is necessary for some people. This space can become a cozy place for your almost grown children to visit without preserving all of the aesthetic of their childhood room. This renovation can be as simple as refreshing the paint and bedding or can go as far as a complete reset. The basics of a guest room apply: a comfy bed, spot for hanging clothes and stashing bags or suitcases, a nightstand with lighting, a place to charge electronics, and possibly a chair or bench. To ease the transition, you can incorporate your child’s favorite colors, patterns, or repurpose some of their original room décor. “Empty Nest” Continued --

Page 11 2024 Spring Home and Garden LINCOLN DAILY NEWS April 2024 2. A Home Office A bedroom space is the perfect size for a home office. The square footage is usually enough to fit a desk, storage space, supplies, and a chair or two. You can revamp the space to include french doors or a glass door to really open up the space. If the closet isn’t going to be used for clothes you can opt to remove it to add extra square footage or continue to use it for storage. 3. Media Room/ Hangout Space You might already have a central location to watch television, but wouldn’t it be nice to have a separate space if you and your partner want to watch different things? Empty nesters have spent years watching family programming while raising their kids, you deserve a place to chill out and relax, watch a movie, or catch a baseball game. This renovation could be as simple as upgrading Continued --

Page 12 2024 Spring Home and Garden LINCOLN DAILY NEWS April 2024 your TV or surround sound or you could go all in and put in plush theater seating, a popcorn bar, and better acoustics for those movie thrills. 4. Artist’s Studio/ Craft Room If creativity makes you happy, this might be the perfect renovation for you. Crafters can make this room into a place to store plenty of bobs and bits, yarn and ribbon, stamps, and thread. This would certainly free up space from wherever those crafting totes have been hiding. The same goes for photographers, music lovers, collectors, and hobbyists. Having a dedicated space to create just might help you find joy in something you once loved but had little time for while raising children. With the proper lighting, shelving, desk space, and supplies, you’ll be creating in no time! 5. Home Gym There is so much you can do if you have an entire room to devote to your workout equipment. More and more people are choosing to workout at home, especially since Covid. A lot of homes don’t have space where you can lie flat and stretch your arms and legs out without hitting a coffee table, a dresser, a bookshelf, or another obstacle. If yoga or light strength training is more your speed then all you’ll need is a clean room, proper lighting, a mat, some light weights, and maybe a mirror or two to ensure proper form. That treadmill that’s been collecting clothes in the corner of your room can finally have its own space. Having a dedicated space to work out might get you up and going and focusing on the future. 6. Closet/Dressing Room If your child’s room is adjacent to your room, you could opt to create a walk-in closet or a closet/dressing room combination. This would be a lovely space for someone who enjoys fashion. New shelving units could be added to the walls, a lovely couch or island could be placed in the middle, and a chandelier might give the space just the right touch of elegance. 7. Bathroom remodel If the bedroom is adjacent to a bathroom, the greatest way to utilize the space is to expand and remodel that bathroom. This is a significant remodel in terms of both time and finances, but it’s definitely worth it. It would involve knocking out walls, plumbing, and electrical work. If you are fortunate enough to have a partner that is proficient in those skills or if you have that skill the project would be a great way for the two of you to create something new. You might even be able to get that free standing tub you’ve been dreaming about. 8. Sports/Recognition Room Even though your child may not sleep in their bedroom every night, the room can still be about them. Hanging their sports and/ or academic awards on the wall in their old bedroom is a way to still make the room theirs. You can choose to leave the bed in there for a guest room or you can choose to remove the bed and make a gaming room equipped with a TV, video game consoles, and maybe even a table and chairs for board or card games. Continued --

Page 13 2024 Spring Home and Garden LINCOLN DAILY NEWS April 2024 No matter what you decide to do with your child’s room when they are no longer under your roof, remember that home is where your MOM is. As you experience this stage in your life try not to think of it as an empty nest, but as a chance to spread your wings as you learn how to navigate being a free bird. [Lesleigh Bennett] Resources: https://www.bobvila.com/articles/renovationsfor-empty-nesters/ https://www.robinhearddesign.com/post/thebest-renovations-for-empty-nesters-how-torepurpose-a-spare-bedroom

Page 14 2024 Spring Home and Garden LINCOLN DAILY NEWS April 2024 Re-imagine those garage sale finds into something you will love Whether you call it thrifting, repurposing, secondhand shopping, makeovers, garage saleing, or refinishing it is the latest craze that has blossomed into a part-time hobby or part-time and full-time jobs and has led to many pop-up businesses. It may also be called giving new life to old things, particularly furniture.

Page 15 2024 Spring Home and Garden LINCOLN DAILY NEWS April 2024 Many people look at this as a way to personalize a gift, make something unique and special for yourself, have a keepsake or reminder of your grandmother's buffet, giving a new lease on an old, solid piece of wood, saving an old piece of furniture from being destroyed or not paying an outrageous price for a cheaper type of wood or particle board that will not test the time. There are multiple books from, you guessed it thrift store shopper experts, videos, and articles on how to become a thrift store junky. The idea is to guide those who like the thrill of the hunt to finding those heavily discounted used items at rummage sales, estate sales, thrift shops, antique stores, dumpster diving, and even the neighbor's curb. This new hobby has reached new heights and reaches a wide range of ages, locations, styles, and costs. This hobby can not only add extra money to the family budget it can also add quality time with a loved one or be a way to teach a youngster the value of repurposing, how change can be invigorating, and how to breathe new life into older items. One such avenue to refinishing furniture is by repainting, reupholstering, or using it as a base or accent for something greater. In recent years, this has become a passion for anyone wanting to save a few bucks, add to the vacation fund, or supplement their retirement. One thing is for certain, this is an art that takes patience, space, and time. When it comes to repurposing furniture there are a few steps that should be taken into consideration. 1. Search for that piece that speaks to you. This is where the creative juices should come into play when you can visualize that piece in a different color, shape, or purpose. Don’t limit yourself, if you have an idea go with it, you just might start a new trend. And remember if you like it that is all that matters. 2. Pay close attention to the condition of the piece. Are there any cracks, holes, rot or mold, soft pieces, pieces missing or broken? What does the underneath side look like, do the drawers or cabinet doors move well, are all the inside rails included? After assessment, weigh the overall condition of the piece against your level of knowledge of repair work. If you are a beginner, it would be best to start with minimal repair work and concentrate more on learning how to sand, stain, or paint the item. 3. It is wise to do your homework and know the difference between solid wood, laminate, veneer, plyboard, and particleboard. Broadly, wood comes in three categories, solid-wood, soft-wood, and wooden boards. Understandably, solid wood is the most expensive and the best to sand, stain or paint. Laminate, veneer plyboard, and particleboard are good choices for specific items. Laminate Continued --

Page 16 2024 Spring Home and Garden LINCOLN DAILY NEWS April 2024 is paper/plastic and veneer is a thin layer of wood quality wood overlaid on to perhaps solid but less attractive wood. Plywood is made up of thin sheets of veneer or a combination of soft and hardwoods. Particle board is made from wooden particle waste from sawmill shavings. If you are working with any furniture items that are not made from solid wood, it is more difficult to repair sand, stain, or paint to achieve a more even, natural look. 4. Shop with a budget in mind and be knowledgeable of what that piece would cost brand new and what the piece is worth now. Be sure to add up the piece, the supplies needed, and the time that it will take to get it to the way you envision the finished piece. 5. Be realistic! Negotiation skills are always good to have but don’t be insulting to the seller and try to get a low price for a solid piece. Keep in mind that piece might just be a good piece of wood to you, but it might be a reminder of the last Christmas dinner at Grandma’s house to the seller. 6. Even though the cost of re-doing a piece of furniture the way you want will usually be cheaper than shopping around for that new exact, already-made piece, it could still be a little more costly than what you think to get started, so plan, but don’t go overboard buying stain and/or paints until you see the natural wood. Still, the most costly and valuable piece of refurbishing is your time. Sanding or stripping is the only way that you can get the old paint or stain off that furniture so that you can start with a clean slate and paint-stripping chemicals are easier than sanding. If the item is previously painted and you want to show off the wood grain underneath, the best option is to use a paint stripper rather than sanding to make sure that every drop of paint is removed. However, to effectively use a paint stripper your work area needs to be a consistent 65-75 degrees. You will need to exercise patience, as it takes time for the chemicals to dissolve the finish, especially if shellac or lacquer is involved. Paint strippers come in either liquid or gel form or you can use a heat gun by softening and loosening varnish and paint, but you will still need to scrape off the excess. Regardless of which you choose to use, ensure the full safety of you and your family by blocking off the area where you are working to keep pets and children from touching or breathing the fumes, and work in a wellventilated area. Sanding comes into play when the wood is uneven, to remove imperfections, or if you are going to paint the piece to rough up the wood a little for adherence. If you decide to do any sanding, make sure you are wearing the proper face protection as wood dust can pose health hazards, and some paints before 1978 can contain lead. Sealing is the most important step. Whether you decide to color the piece of furniture or not, sealing will help preserve, polish, and protect that piece of furniture. For beginners interested in a step-by-step guide, the below link will help get you started. How to Refinish Wood Furniture 7 Easy Steps for Beginners https://www.thespruce.com/mistakes-to-avoidwhen-refinishing-wood-furniture-1391598 [Jay Ruppel]

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Page 18 2024 Spring Home and Garden LINCOLN DAILY NEWS April 2024 Fences make good neighbors and so do trees and shrubs The old adage says, “Good fences make good neighbors.” But fences are not the only mode of defining borders and protecting privacy to make better and safer neighborhoods. Many people are realizing planting trees, shrubs and hedges can not only provide a privacy border, but also make good windbreaks. Plus, the cost may be lower. In Illinois, the high winds we experience throughout the year can make it cold and miserable outside. An article by Christopher Enroth says, “this is why many Illinoisians plant windbreaks around their homes to keep that biting wind from causing a drafty house, prevent drifting snow, and make being outside tolerable.” Enroth provides suggestions for creating successful windbreaks such as spacing out plants, removing wrapping around the root ball, not planting too deep and having diverse plants. In the article, “Consider Installing a Windbreak,” John Woodmansee has Fences make good neighbors, and so do trees and shrubs more advice. Woodmansee says, “the location of the windbreak is not just determined by prevailing winds and the space to buildings. Consider power lines, road visibility, snowdrift patterns (e.g., windbreak should be at least 100 feet from a driveway), buried power lines, septic absorption fields, and other uses of land that may conflict with the windbreak.” Something else Woodmansee says you should think about is spacing. The spacing varies depending on the species of the tree. For example, Woodmansee says, “In-row spacing for most species is from 8 to 16 feet, with a between-row spacing of 12-20 feet. Twin-row high-density spacing should have a between-row spacing of 4-12 feet. Each row should have trees planted so that they align with the center open space of the prior row.” When plants are used to create privacy, screening plants can help define and give purpose to a space. Homeowners may wish to screen a particular area or transparency in the landscape, creating interest in what lies beyond. Continued --

Page 19 2024 Spring Home and Garden LINCOLN DAILY NEWS April 2024 Before setting up the landscape, create a wish list of what you want to accomplish. Identify areas where you want to relax, entertain, or create a private space. The landscape’s function is important and should not be neglected in the design. Think about where the focal points will be from both inside and outside the residence. Ways Native plants and shrubs can be used in the landscape include: • Creating privacy or a sense of enclosure • Defining boundaries • Screening unwanted views • Using native shrubs in the landscape, or in combination with cultivated plants, enhances natural surroundings. In creating privacy, you may want to shelter some items from view, like a poolside or an outdoor eating area. Using diagrams, overlay your base map and think through design aspects. Consider what you want to conceal in the landscape. The view of the neighbor’s house may be a consideration. To be a good neighbor, before planting, investigate if plants are invasive or have a spread that may encroach on their side of the property line. Investigate what plants are available in your area according to your hardiness zone and create screened views with the right plant in the right place. Select plants based not only on their hardiness and cultural requirements but also their function. A variety of plant sizes can be used to screen a view. The palette of plants available may go beyond the usual thinking. Enjoying the outdoors with a background of well-planned plants creates a nice surrounding of seclusion and offers opportunities for exploration. Additionally, creating privacy can be an important consideration especially in more built up environments. High walls and fences are not the only option. Choosing the right plant is also important. The fastest growing shrubs and bushes for creating privacy include cypresses, arborvitae, pines, privets, laurels, cotoneasters and holly. However, each shrub or bush has advantages and disadvantages that must be considered when deciding whether they are the best option. Cypresses can grow so quickly, they can get out of control, so they might not be the most suitable long term choice for smaller residential gardens. Continued --

Page 20 2024 Spring Home and Garden LINCOLN DAILY NEWS April 2024 Since they can grow up to 40 meters tall, natural native cypresses may be the better option. The arborvitae is a popular hedging or border plant for privacy. These are hybrid plants and can grow up to three feet per year in the right conditions. While it can be the right choice for privacy, use it with caution when you have a smaller space. With pines, some are fast growing, while others are considerably slower in growing to maturity. Pines are a great option for a mixed privacy border or windbreak. Fast growing pines include the Alepo, white pine and loblolly pine. Like with other evergreens, fast growing pines should only be planted in the appropriate environment since they can grow to very large sizes. Privets were once a very popular hedging choice. In recent years, they have decreased in popularity but can still be a good option for privacy. They are relatively easy to keep in check and can be a good choice when a neat and orderly hedge is required for privacy. Laurels like the cherry laurel are another popular hedging choice that grow quickly. They can create a hedge up to five meters high. Other laurels that could be considered for hedging are the Laurel Etna and Laurel Caucasia. Cotoneasters provide excellent options for informal privacy borders or formal hedging. They are dense and attractive, growing quickly to provide a screen and interest with blossoms and red berries. Some varieties work well as hedging but can also work well as stand alone plants in mixed varieties. Others spread over walls or fences to provide additional privacy. A wide range of Hollies works well for providing backyard privacy. Some traditional hollies provide spiky leaves, which can enhance garden security and red berries in winter. However, not all hollies are spiky. Some create neater planting or hedging. It may be worthwhile to look at the variety available. For example, a popular option for privacy hedging or screens is Nelly Stevens Holly. See these examples at https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=cLYy_W_fK_c Whether you decide to create a windbreak or provide privacy around your house or yard, remember that plants, trees and shrubs may be a good option. [Angela Reiners]

Page 21 2024 Spring Home and Garden LINCOLN DAILY NEWS April 2024 Sources: Enroth, Christopher. “Picking the Right Tree for your Windbreak.” 17 June 2022. https://extension.illinois. edu/blogs/good-growing/2022-06-17picking-right-tree-your-windbreak Holsinger, Andrew. “Build Privacy With Plants for Secret Gardens.” https://extension.illinois.edu/newsreleases/build-privacy-plants-secretgardens 21 Aug. 2023. The Morton Arboretum. “Native Shrubs of the Midwest for the Home Landscape.” https://extension.illinois. edu/sites/default/files/native-shrubsmidwest_morton_arboretum.pdf Woodmansee, John. “Consider Installing a Windbreak.” 1 Sept. 2023. https://extension.purdue.edu/news/ county/whitley/2023/09/considerinstalling-a-windbreak.html#

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Page 24 2024 Spring Home and Garden LINCOLN DAILY NEWS April 2024 Herbs! Beauty, fragrance, health, flavor! Herbs offer so much! Packed with nutrients, beautiful in a landscape, used for millennia for healing, easy to grow, and great for pollinators! Are herbs the perfect plant? They are certainly perfect for any garden. For anyone new to gardening, herbs are an ideal place to begin. For anyone already gardening, herbs are an easy addition to the home vegetable or flower garden. For anyone already gardening with herbs, there are so many more to try out! How Does Your Garden Grow? Getting started with herbs is quite easy, particularly for anyone who has ever grown a flower or vegetable. Even without experience, as long as herbs have plenty of sunshine and water when the soil feels dry, herbs are unfussy. They do not typically have pests and rarely need fertilizer unless grown longterm in pots. Herbs will happily grow in pots of plastic or clay, in raised beds, or in the ground. Drainage is important wherever they are planted as herbs, along with most plants, will succumb to root rot if left in overly wet areas. Most herbs can be either sown directly from seed or transplanted from starts when the soil is warm enough, although some, such as lavender, do best as cuttings in order to grow true to type. Grown in pots, many tender herbs can even over-winter inside near a bright window. There are also a wide variety of perennial herbs, meaning plant them once and enjoy for years! Spice Up Your Life with Herb Gardening Consider garden design when beginning an herb garden. Do you want a dedicated herb garden or herbs interspersed throughout existing beds? Herbs can be interplanted with vegetables as natural pest repellants and to encourage healthy growth as companion plants. Dedicated herb gardens can revolve around a theme such as culinary or medicinal herbs, or a similar or contrasting color palate. Herbs grown in pots can be moved throughout the season to showcase the best looking plants or to find the sunniest spots. No matter where or how they are planted, herbs can grow successfully without chemicals or poisons. Herbs can provide a variety of rich colors to the landscape and when allowed to flower add additional interest, as well as food for bees and butterflies. If left to go to seed, herbs will provide winter food for birds, a place to hibernate for beneficial insects, and add visual interest to the winter landscape. Many herbs are so easy to grow, they make a great horticultural project to do with kids and grandkids. Herbs may be annuals, perennials, or biennials. Annuals complete their life cycle of growth, flower, and seed within a one growing season. Annuals are replanted every year. Biennial plants complete their life cycle over two growing sessions, flowering and setting seed in the second season. Perennials are plants which die back in winter, but sprout new growth from the same root system in the spring. Continued --

Page 25 2024 Spring Home and Garden LINCOLN DAILY NEWS April 2024 Favorite Culinary Annual Herbs Basil- Basil is best friends with tomatoes for both eating and planting. It can be used to enhance any vegetable, egg, or meat dish in addition to pasta, soups, and salads. Basil can be found in many delicious varieties including sweet, lettuce-leaf, purple, cinnamon, anise, spicy globe, and ruffled. Cilantro- Cilantro is a flavorful addition to salsas, curries, and chutneys. Plant in succession for best harvest, as cilantro is quick to bolt in hot weather. Seed heads of cilantro are called coriander (sometimes the whole plant is, as well) and used as a spice. Borage- Featuring a beautiful and delicate blue flower, borage leaves are used fresh and have a cucumber-like flavor. The leaves are added to soups, salads, and drinks, and the flowers can be candied to adorn baked goods. Nasturtium- Nasturtium is a flowering herb that is an excellent companion plant for vegetables as it acts as a natural pest repellent. The peppery leaves, stems, and flowers are used fresh in salads. Nasturtium prefers a bit of shade and can be harvested all season. Summer Savory- Aromatic and compact, summer savory is easy to grow and is selfseeding. Tasting like a cross between thyme and mild pepper, summer savory is used to flavor fish, beans, eggs, stews, poultry, stuffings, and sausage. Harvest from the top to prevent the plant from becoming top-heavy and to encourage bushier plants. Continued --

Page 26 2024 Spring Home and Garden LINCOLN DAILY NEWS April 2024 Favorite Perennial Herbs Chives- One of the earliest plants to emerge from winter hibernation, chives come in onion and garlic varieties and feature an edible spring flower that pollinators love. Plant once and keep harvesting for almost the whole year round. Chives are delicious with potatoes, fish, salads, soups, eggs, and dips. Mint- A very hardy herb, try mint in fruit salads, added to ice cream and cold drinks, or make your own refreshing mint tea. There are a variety of flavors of mint, all of which have an aggressive rhizome growth habit, so should be grown in a manner to be contained. Lemon balm- A member of the mint family, lemon balm is a hardy plant with a lemonscented leaf. The leaves can be used for tea or iced drinks and may be added to fruit and lettuce salads for a hint of lemon flavor. Lemon balm has an aggressive growth habit similar to mint, so growers should plan for containment. Rosemary- A tender perennial which grows like an evergreen shrub, rosemary survives best grown in containers that are brought indoors for the winter in Illinois. It is most easily grown from cuttings. This fragrant herb may be added to soups, fish, lamb, and game, and the stems may be used as skewers. English lavender- Aromatic with a lovely flower, English lavender is the most fragrant and dependable of the garden lavenders. Lavenders prefer well-drained soil in a sunny location. Harvest and dry flowers just as they are opening for use in potpourri and sachets. Lavender of the Lavandula augustifolia cultivar may also be used in jellies, lemonades, and baked goods. Favorite Culinary Biennial Herbs Parsley- Popular parsley, both curly and flatleaf varieties, completes its growing cycles over two seasons. Curly parsley is often used as a garnish and makes a nice garden edging. Flat-leaf or Italian parsley has a stronger flavor and enhances other herbs as well as meat, vegetable, and salad dishes. Parsley is traditionally also consumed for its mild diuretic properties. Using Fresh and Dried Herbs Whether preserved or used fresh, herbs are best harvested in the morning before they set flower for the most abundant oils for fragrance and flavor. Fresh herbs are best added to dishes after cooking is completed or sprinkled over top. Try a generous handful of basil over pasta, parsley in soup, and chives mixed with mashed potatoes or potato salad. Dried herbs work well added in the beginning or during cooking. Use your homegrown dried herbs to make your own dried herb blend for soups, roasted vegetables, meat and eggs, or even create your own salt replacer by adding dried garlic and onion to favorite dried herbs. Make your own tea and tea blends from fresh or dried herbs, such as lemon balm, chamomile, or anise hyssop. Reduce chemical exposure from synthetic air fresheners by making fragrant sachets and potpourri with dried lavender and lemon balm mixed with flower petals. Use favorite herbs such as lavender, mint, or rosemary to make soothing foot soaks or bath salts by mixing these fragrant dried herbs with epsom salts. Add herbs to dried or fresh arrangements for home decor. Continued --

Page 27 2024 Spring Home and Garden LINCOLN DAILY NEWS April 2024 Preserving Homegrown Herbs Dry. Herbs can be easily dried for storage. Wash herbs and dry with a paper towel before utilizing any drying method. A dehydrator will quickly dry herbs and make the house smell great in the process. An oven set no higher than 180 degrees with the door left ajar is another option for heat drying. Perhaps the easiest option is to let the air do the dehydration for you. Tie long-stemmed herbs in bunches of 3 to 5 stems and place in a brown paper bag with the stems extending out of the top. Hang the bag in a dry place away from sunlight for 2 to 4 weeks. For high moisture herbs such as basil, tarragon, and mint, drying on trays or screens is preferred. Remove any stems from the herbs and do not crush or grind herbs until ready for use to preserve optimal flavor and aroma. Store dried herbs in an airtight container in a cool, dark, and dry place. Freeze. Fresh herbs can be successfully frozen. Wash and dry whole herbs and place into sealable freezer bags. Puree fresh herbs in water or chop and mix with olive oil and freeze in ice cube trays. Remove from ice cube trays when frozen and store in freezer safe containers until ready for use. Basil and parsley, and even carrot tops and other greens can be made into delicious pesto to eat fresh and also to freeze in ice cube trays for a burst of summer flavor. Chives freeze well when snipped into quarter inch pieces and placed on a baking tray or silicone mat. Allow to freeze on the tray in the freezer. When frozen, store in a container in the freezer. The frozen chives should be easy to portion out by the spoonful. There are so many herbs to grow and so many ways to use them. Certainly there is an herb for every palate and every gardener! The previously mentioned herbs are a brief list of possible herbs to enjoy, and the ideas for use are just a taste of what is possible. Herbs are versatile, healthy, and so easy to grow! What are you waiting for? This spring, spice up your life with herbs! [Stephanie Hall] Resources: https://extension.illinois.edu/herbs

Page 28 2024 Spring Home and Garden LINCOLN DAILY NEWS April 2024 The cicadas are coming!

Page 29 2024 Spring Home and Garden LINCOLN DAILY NEWS April 2024 This is going to be an unusual year in Illinois, so unusual that it probably won’t happen again until the 2040s. Though this may sound familiar, we are not talking about the total solar eclipse that occurred on April 8, 2024. We are talking about the invasion of two broods of cicadas. Brood XIII (13) and Brood XIX (19) will both be emerging at about the same time in Illinois, and for four to six weeks afterward our days and nights will be filled with the weird sound of the bug as the males release their mating call, bringing the ladies to the party. The first brood (19) is said to emerge from the ground every 13 years. The second brood (13) is a 17-year emergence. It is rare for two such significant broods to emerge in one year, which is why we are going to see unusually large populations of the bug in Illinois this year, but only in certain places. According to experts, brood 13 will be prominent in the northern part of the state while brood 19 will be more prevalent in the south. However, there is one little caveat to that statement. There is an overlap of north and south, and guess where it falls? Right in the heart of Central Illinois. It is predicted that in our part of the state the double dose of cicadas may occupy an area from Sangamon to Peoria and McLean counties, putting Logan County right in the middle of the noisy mess. Throughout history there is a bit of confusion about what a cicada is. Some recall the locust of biblical times. There was also an invasion of locust in the United States in the late 1800s. In both cases the ugly bugs wreaked havoc on agricultural crops and created terrible hardships everywhere they invaded. Cicadas and locusts however are not the same thing, thankfully. Cicadas are not harmful to agriculture thus they will not destroy food crops. However, they can be harmful to young trees. Locusts are reported to be swarming insects, which cicadas are not, therefore one should not fear running into large swarms like we often see in those tiny little buffalo knats. What one can expect is to find dozens if not hundreds of the crusty outer skin shells lying around the bases of trees and other woody plants. So where do these bug bugs come from, and where have they been for the last 13 or 17 years? View this video by the Weather Network https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=2NKHNG0i_W4 The life cycle of the cicada is someone lobsided. It spends its first 13 or 17 years submerged underground. While there in its larval stage, it feeds on the nutrients found in the roots of trees and shrubs, growing until it reaches that pubescent stage that we see above ground. When the time is right, large Continued --

Page 30 2024 Spring Home and Garden LINCOLN DAILY NEWS April 2024 bugs emerge from the soil, typically this is a nighttime event, so we seldom see the bugs coming up out of the ground. We just know that one day we don’t have any and the next day we have hundreds. Once these “teenagers” arrive above ground, they seek out woody plants, primarily mature trees where they attach themselves to the surface. This provides the bug with an anchor as the young adult breaks out of the crusty shell of the teenager. The young adult emerges from the crusty shell as a white almost translucent insect with translucent wings. While the wings remain relatively clear, the body of the insect will darken to become what we often see habituating trees and feeding on their leaves. At this point it is mating time for the bugs. While they are munching on leaves, this is not necessarily harmful to trees. They are consuming nutrients, maturing, and beginning their next cycle. The male bug calls to the female utilizing a vibration in the belly side of the body that creates that crazy loud sound that we will hear throughout their mating cycle. The ladies are drawn to that sound and thus the mating process begins. When the time is right, the female will then lay her eggs, and here comes the point in time when we should be concerned for the health of our trees and shrubs. The females will choose their egg location, seeking out younger trees and shrubs with small twigs. This will be living green twigs no larger than an old school number two yellow pencil. The insect pierces the skin or bark of the twig and implants its eggs. This piercing causes damage to the twig. With heavy infestations, a twig will be pierced multiple times by a variety of females during the season. Those punctures, commonly called “flagging” will eventually cause the death of the twig. On small young trees, this can mean the loss of the tree altogether. The bugs are not terribly picky about the trees they select. They will not choose an evergreen tree or shrub, but other than that, any tree in your lawn is capable of being an attractive incubator for the next generation of cicadas. So, the question becomes, how do we save those young trees and shrubs from these insects. Once the damage is done, the answer is, you don’t. So the key to successfully protecting your trees is to be prepared ahead of time. Insecticides have proven to be ineffective with cicadas, so don’t waste money and time on bug sprays. The best method of prevention is going to be tree netting. Tree netting can be found at garden centers where trees are sold or can be purchased online. Cover the trees early this spring and don’t uncover them until the cicadas have completed their life cycle, about six weeks after they come on the scene. The netting should be put on to cover the tree and touch the ground all around the tree to help avoid the invasion. If you are thinking about planting new trees and shrubs this year, unless they are evergreens, you might consider putting it off for another year. And, to protect yourself, you might want to consider buying a set of earplugs or noise cancelling headphones. At the peak of their mating season the sound let off by the male Continued --

Page 31 2024 Spring Home and Garden LINCOLN DAILY NEWS April 2024 cicada will reach 90 decibel’s, about the same as a push lawnmower. When it first starts it is a bit of a romantic sound, reminding us of the fact that we are enjoying the warm nights of spring and summer, but after all those weeks, the sound may become a little irritating, so be prepared with something that will muffle that sound other than covering your head with a pillow at night. So we know that these bugs can cause inconvenience and some tree damage, but what do they do that is beneficial. First, they are good food for other critters. The crusty shells are nutritious for birds and small wildlife such as squirrels, so they will eat the surplus happily. They are also a source of nitrogen for the trees as the shells decay, so you can leave the shells on the ground around the trees and allow them to self-compost around the base of those trees. The act of boring underground to find their nesting spot offers aeration for lawns and helps breakup hard soils. And finally, if you are brave, they are edible by humans. Not many people we know are anxious for a nice fried cicada or a cicada stew this summer, but the fact is they are known to be a delicacy and have even been featured on Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmerman. So, watch out for the cicadas this year, and be prepared for those noisy nights because indeed, indeed they will come! [Nila Smith] Resources: The cicadas are coming! Periodical cicadas in Illinois in 2024 | Illinois Extension | UIUC periodical_cicadas_2024_brood_fact_sheet.pdf (illinois.edu) Do Cicadas Damage Trees - Learn About Tree Damage From Cicada Insects | Gardening Know How How to protect your smaller trees from cicadas (wcpo.com) Cicada Brood XIII, Brood XIX damage to trees and shrubs: How to manage (usatoday. com) What is the purpose of cicadas? - Cicada Mania

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Page 34 2024 Spring Home and Garden LINCOLN DAILY NEWS April 2024 As spring approaches many are dreaming of how and what they are going to grow in their yard with the hopes of drowning out the leftovers from the dreary months past. Everywhere you go, retail stores have doorways full of flats of bright flowers, ground cover, trees, shrubs, and vegetable bins. So where do you start? One has to take into consideration how much shade or sun, drainage options, kids, dogs, maintenance, funds, and location. Not necessarily the location of where are you going to plant in the yard, planters, or garden, but what type is best for your geographic location and what type of insects do you want to attract or deter? Certain insects and critters will flock to whatever they can to survive and multiply, even to the most carefully cultivated gardens. It can be one of the most frustrating ventures to put long hours into a flower bed or vegetable garden only to have it infested by pests. Knowing that every garden will always have some form of enemy, one must realize it will also have some form of adversary. One way to control the ‘pesty’ side effect of a beautiful yard is to use a multitude of poisonous chemicals on and around your lawn, which can become costly, time-consuming and some will argue not safe for kids, animals, or the environment. Some will say to use floodlights or noisemakers, but returning intruders are Flowers, shrubs, and bugs, OH MY! smart and in time will grow wise and not see those as a threat. Regardless of what you want your home to reflect using flowers, shrubs, trees, or mulch, your choices will be a huge factor in whether pests end up in your home and take flight around your patio. A couple of considerations to keep in mind: 1. Place all plants and mulch two to three feet away from the foundation and use crushed stone or pebbles between the foundation and plants. 2. Don’t go deeper than two inches for mulch. Deeper mulch will result in a damp, moldy wood that invites pests like sowbugs, earwigs, millipedes, and springtails. 3. Don’t use thick ground covers or dense low shrubbery and plant shrubs singularly and not in dense grouping. Choose shrubs that are wine glass shaped to keep the base of the shrub off the ground and open. This will help prevent rodents from hiding and making burrows. 4. Keep fruit, berry, and nut trees far from the house. The ripe and rotten produce will attract rodents, flies, and bees. Keep all other tree branches no closer than four feet from the house. Continued --