Q: Is there a difference between garlic and garlic chives? My neighbor told me there is no difference between the two. Is he correct?
M. K. of Fairview Heights
A: True garlic (Allium sativum) is grown from a bulb usually divided into several cloves within a membranous coat. This is usually planted in the fall as the spring produces too much rain and the cloves rot before they begin to grow. You would plant them similar to planting onion bulbs. If the soil is too rich, you may need to break over the tops to prevent too much top growth. The bulbs are planted four to six inches apart.
Garlic chive (Allium tuberosum) is grown from seed. In fact, this plant is in flower at this present time and is one of the most useful plants to keep pollinating or beneficial insects around as it attracts more families of insects that you can find: flies, bees, wasps, butterflies and others. The white flowers are edible and used in seasoning butters. It is also different from onion chives, which have a hollow stem. Garlic chives have a solid stems and are also a different flavor.
Q: We were traveling in Springfield, Illinois and we noticed some trees that were planted on Toronto Road. They were about 30-feet tall and had single seeds with a three or four winged that were dried and brown. The bark was reddish brown with whitish striped. Could you possibly tell us what they are?
C. S. of Mascoutah
A: Your description sounds like the Silver Bell or Halesia carolina. This tree receives the common name from the description of the flower that it produces in April with one-inch, white bell-shaped flowers which has a silvery look to the bell and a gold clapper. It is found in nature from Virginia to Oklahoma, south to Texas and east to Florida. It is also native to the two most southern counties in Illinois – Massac and Pulaski. It is hardy in plant zones four to eight. This species transplants well in rich, well-drained, moist acid soils (pH 5.0 to 6.0). In the wild it is found usually as an understory specimen. This is one of my favorite small trees but is scarce to find in the nursery business. There is also a pink color variety.
Q: We are finding many smaller trees dropping leaves which are usually yellow or dried up right now. Does this mean that they are dead?
K. T. of Breese
A: This is the indication of how dry our soil is right now. You want to apply water to root zone from the trunk to the outer edge of the branch tips. You should apply water at the rate of at least one inch of water soaking into the soil per week. This will not prevent more leaves from falling off, but will keep the root hairs of the tree alive. You should do this weekly watering at least until winter begins and the soil begins to freeze. Next spring you will want to begin the watering especially if the spring starts without much precipitation.
Any time next spring that we have a dry spell can cause death to stressed trees remaining from this year. So be sure to give them plenty of water of one inch per week if Mother Nature does not provide this required amount.
Charles Giedeman is a local contributing writer. Send your gardening questions to Lifestyle Department, Belleville News-Democrat, P.O. Box 427, 120 S. Illinois St., Belleville, IL 62222-0427, or email them to email@example.com.
Things to do this week:
- Begin to move houseplants inside.
- Divide peonies, daylilies, iris, and phlox now and make sure to water these plants thoroughly as the soil is dry.