This is the season of the collective sigh. The stitch in the solar plexus releases and shoulders drop as gardeners let go of the bad memory that was winter.
For every flower-wrangler, patio-dweller, mower-jockey and trowel-crusader, the new challenge arises: how to make the most of this favored season before shadows grow long and frost once again savages the salvias.
Question: The blue spruce trees in my yard look like they are dying. Part of the needles and some entire branches are brown. The trees are about 20 years old and seemed to be doing OK before last summer. I noticed many other evergreens seem to be dying, too. Is this because of the drought last year? Is there anything I can do? D.E., L.W. and others
Answer: The severe to extreme drought of 2012 killed a large number of moisture-loving arborvitae by the end of summer. The effects of the drought will continue to appear over the next few years in other types of evergreen and deciduous trees. Drought can be partly, but not completely, blamed for dying spruces. In Wisconsin spruces are prone to stress-related diseases such as Cytospora canker, Rhizosphaera needle blight and spruce needle drop. Spruce spider mites can be problematic in hot, dry weather.
Question: I sprouted some cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes inside. They appeared to be doing fine. I started putting the tomatoes outside a few days ago. Yesterday I put the cucumbers and peppers out for the first time. Apparently I left them out too long. Some of the leaves on the cucumbers turned white. They look terrible. Is this from cold (it was in the 60s) or too much sun or what? The peppers and tomatoes seem fine.
The important question is what should I do next? So far I’ve opted to give them water and leave them inside under the fluorescent light. Any thoughts? S.L.
With the “interesting” weather we’ve had this spring, it’s a good time to stop and think about how to weather-proof our gardens and yards.
We can be continually frustrated at too much or not enough water, too much or not enough cold, or simply dry windy days. Or, we can do some simple planning that will help our garden plants withstand these extreme conditions, which, by the way, we can do absolutely nothing about.
Looking for a fresh way to liven up your garden walls? Think plants, not paintings.
Living pictures — cuttings of assorted succulents woven together in everything from picture frames to pallet boxes — have caught on among garden designers and landscapers this spring as an easy, modern way to add color and texture to an outdoor space.
Question: Last spring, hundreds of small green caterpillars ate my columbines. The plants looked fine one day and the next the leaves were almost completely gone. I looked up the problem and think it was the larva of columbine sawfly. Is there anything I can do to keep my columbine from being eaten this year? D.K.
Answer: Based on your description, I think you are correct in identifying the insect as columbine sawfly larvae. Although these larvae look a lot like caterpillars, they develop into a tiny non-stinging wasp instead of a moth or butterfly.
About seven years ago, Kenosha resident Steve Schneider held a family vote to determine whether he should keep or sell his 1968 Chevrolet Chevelle SS, which he had owned for more than 30 years.
PLEASANT PRAIRIE — Ever since his childhood, John Serzynski has been a big fan of John Deere tractors and riding mowers.
“My stepfather (George Paulausky) owned a landscaping business, and I used to play out in the sandbox all the time, all day long, with my cousin,” said Serzynski, a Waukegan, Ill., native who moved to Kenosha County in the late 1990s.
A bit of nostalgia prompted Peter Wenglowsky to obtain his 1961 Rambler Classic about 20 years ago.
BY JEREMY REEVES
If there’s anyone who appreciates having a luxurious car like a black 1999 Mercedes-Benz S420 more than David Gregorski, good luck finding him.
Gregorski, 56, was a local barber for 28 years who was forced to retire about a decade ago because of back problems. He’s since had eight back surgeries.
Jim Masi, his older brother Jeff Masi, Dennis Curnes and Butch Funk were all Kenosha teenagers in the early 1960s. And their passion was cars.
Whenever John Munson gets behind the controls and lifts off in his 2006 AMD Zodiac CH601XL factory-built, special light-sport aircraft, he experiences emotions unlike any other.
“As soon as the wheels leave the ground, it’s exhilarating,” said Munson, 66, a Kenosha resident. “You’re airborne, and it’s a whole different feeling. It’s the most enjoyable recreational activity I’ve had. I like it a lot.
KENOSHA — What started as a gift for his wife, Mary, more than 30 years ago has evolved into a type of extended relative for Kenosha resident Jim Hawkins.
Kenosha resident Jason Beiser, 30, has been welding for about seven years and started his own business, “Skully’s Welding,” a couple years ago.
SALEM — It took Mike Vandeville about 25 years but he finally made true on his pledge to himself.
PLEASANT PRAIRIE — When it came to his first car, Eric Nelson Jr. didn’t have many options.
Kenosha resident Florian Kreft, 84, has owned about 25 cars in his lifetime, covering most American manufacturers (Chevy, Ford, Buick, Chrysler and Dodge).
Whether on Lake Michigan, inland lakes or even the Gulf of Mexico, Jeff and Mary Albrecht have been boating enthusiasts since they were kids.
PLEASANT PRAIRIE — Wayne Walker isn’t the type of person you’d immediately expect to own a Mercedes Benz, especially one imported from Germany.
SALEM — Judy Grasser said her husband of 26 years, Mike, isn’t much of a sentimental type.
A resurfacing project will bring more lane closures to Interstate 94 in Kenosha County starting next week.
Aldermen must keep most of their requests and directives away from rank-and-file city workers, under a measure the Kenosha City Council adopted Monday night.
Last week’s question: Where was Lamb School located in Pleasant Prairie?
A joint effort among three community entities has seen success in a new approach to a traditional emergency medical service training program.
Real estate sales in Kenosha County are up strongly over last year, but the median sales price continues to decline.
After numerous delays over the course of nearly eight years, jury selection began Monday for the murder trial of James Ealy, accused of killing a Trevor woman seven years ago.
PADDOCK LAKE — A BloodCenter of Wisconsin blood drive will take place 7 a.m. to noon Friday at Fulmer Dentistry, 7137 236th Ave., Paddock Lake.
An attorney charged with drunken driving has been unable to abstain from alcohol, police say, racking up four bail jumping cases after being caught drinking when he had been ordered not to drink.
RANDALL — Several staff members put their hair on the line as an incentive for Randall School students to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
An alligator was found loose in Kenosha late Sunday night and was captured.
As part of the North-South Freeway Project, Interstate 94 will be resurfaced from Highway 142 to Highway KR in Kenosha County.
BURLINGTON — ChocolateFest 2013 will be both gooey and groovy.
A driver who was taken to Froedtert Hospital in Wauwatosa by Flight For Life on Friday has been identified.
Bob Wilson is a field supervisor Kenosha Department of Public Works’ Street Division, overseeing the city’s yard waste drop-off site, 4071 88th Ave. He has worked for the Street Division for 22 years.
After 50 years of her commitment to her faith, Sister Lucille Puntillo was recognized by multiple generations of her community on Sunday.
Each Monday, the Kenosha News takes a look at the life of a Kenosha County resident who recently died. We share with you, through the memories of family and friends, a life remembered.
KENOSHA — A behind-the-scenes look at the Dinosaur Discovery Museum begins at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the museum, 5608 10th Ave.
Sam Ali’s pain this summer will be the rest of Kenosha’s gain, come fall.
What’s it take to get a license to carry a concealed and loaded gun in Wisconsin?