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A young flower farmer creates a bouquet at Southside Blooms. (WTTW News)

A fresh floral arrangement is a quick way to brighten up a room, but those buds and blossoms likely came from farms hundreds or even thousands of miles away. A local organization is on a mission to change that.

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Native plants are highly beneficial for the environment, but they often get mistaken for weeds. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

The creation of the Native and Pollinator Garden Registry means Chicago gardeners now have protection from overzealous ticket writers. And plants like milkweed can take their rightful place alongside other “flowers” instead of being mistaken for weeds.

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West Lawn residents Mitzi and Gilberto Cantu won the window/planter box category in the Chicago Bungalow Association’s fifth annual garden contest. (Chicago Bungalow Association)

The Chicago Bungalow Association has announced the winners of its fifth annual garden contest, with winners spread across the city’s extensive bungalow belt.

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Mushrooms popped up in a Chicago parkway after recent rains. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

What’s up with the mushrooms that appear and then quickly disappear after wet weather? Where do they come from, and where do they go?

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The 2020 winner in the front garden category. (Courtesy of Chicago Bungalow Association)

This year’s contest is sure to be more competitive than ever, with expanded eligibility and the doubling of winners’ cash prizes.

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Nine species of echinacea are native to the U.S. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

There are natives and then there are plants known as “nativars,” and wildlife can tell the difference.

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Chrystal Whitfield gives us The Last Word. (WTTW News)

The creator of an Englewood community garden talks about the healing power of growing food as part of our ongoing series.

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White clover lawns are a buffet for pollinators, especially bees. (zoosnow / Pixabay)

Clover was once commonly included in lawn seed mixes, but then gained a reputation as a weed. It’s time, horticulturalists say, to revisit clover’s environmental benefits.

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Grass should be kept at least 3 inches high, experts said. (Suzanne D. Williams / Pixabay)

Nearly 90% of Chicago’s parks are managed without the use of weed control chemicals. We’ve got tips for how to follow suit.

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It wouldn’t be spring in Chicago without a dusting of snow. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

With temperatures expected to dip below freezing, gardeners who jumped the gun might want to consider covering tender vegetation, according to experts.

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Mid-to-late May is the safest bet for most planting in Chicago. (Lukas / Pexels)

It’s easy to forget the cruelest April Fool’s joke: The season’s last frost is likely several weeks away, meaning it’s far too early to put most plants in the ground.

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Native plants have a lot of environmental benefits, but can be hard to find at nurseries. (Sqraz / Pixabay)

Sales sponsored by Openlands and the West Cook Wild Ones chapter are now both taking orders online for native plants, including some that are hard to find at area garden centers and nurseries. 

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Native plants are highly beneficial for the environment, but they often get mistaken for weeds. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

The ongoing battle to legitimize native gardens in Chicago is about to go another round, with the introduction of an ordinance to establish a native garden registry. But gardeners want to know why they’re bearing the burden of erroneous weed law enforcement.

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Star Farm has purchased the building at 5256 S. Ashland Ave., with plans to transform it into a local foods co-op. (Background image: Star Farm; inset: Google Streetview)

Like a lot of urban growers, Stephanie Dunn of Star Farm sells her produce at farmers markets around Chicago. Now she’s about to start up a different kind of farmer’s market: her own food co-op housed in a building she is preparing to renovate thanks to a grant from the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund.

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Community events and activities are as much a part of El Paseo's mission as gardening. (Courtesy of El Paseo Community Garden)

El Paseo Community Garden is hosting an open house Saturday to celebrate its achievements in 2020, which include the city handing over a half-acre vacant lot that neighbors feared would be developed into luxury condos. 

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Volunteers at Star Farm pack bags of fresh produce, purchased from small farms, to be delivered for free to South Side residents through the Market Box program. (Davon Clark)

Each week, 200 South Side households receive a free delivery of fresh produce, thanks to a collaboration between Star Farm and Experimental Station. To keep the program running through October, organizers need to raise $20,000.