Mid-American Gardener

Cultivating Joy: Winter Gardening Tips and Crafty Delights


This week on Mid-American Gardener, Karen Ruckle and Ella Maxwell are back in the studio to share how they’re keeping busy in their gardens even as the winter chill begins to settle in. 


First, Karen mentions a common practice she has noticed in her neighborhood—overzealous pruning of coral bells. Instead of trimming them back for the winter, leave the foliage intact: it will give you something of interest to look at well into February on those dull winter days. Help protect those leaves from rabbits and other hungry critters with wire baskets and "u" staples.


Next, Ella shares her tips to prevent unwanted clematis seedlings and the benefits of hedge apple, a native tree with insect-repelling properties. 


Did your tomato plants do exceptionally well this year? With a surplus of tomatoes, Karen shares how she slowly dried her’s in the oven and dehydrator for a stash that will last her well into the winter. 


Ella also shares an adorable autumn craft to do with the kids. Put those fallen maple leaves to use, and create a whole wolf family! Simply press maple leaves and decorate with googly eyes, construction paper, markers, whatever you can dream up! 


They also answer your questions, offering advice on what plants to put in sections of the yard where nothing seems to thrive, how to overwinter salvias, and best practices to keep track of houseplant care.


Don’t forget to nurture your green spaces even as the winter air begins to settle in. Happy harvest!


If you’ve got any questions for our panelists, please send us an email at yourgarden@gmail.com com, or you can find us on Facebook and Instagram.

Air Dates and Times

Channel Day Time
WILL-TV, Urbana Thursday 7 pm (live)
  Saturday 11 am (repeat)
WTVP-TV, Peoria Saturday 11:30 am
WEIU-TV, Charleston Sunday 1:30 pm
WSEC-TV, Springfield Saturday 11 am
WQEC-TV, Quincy Saturday 11 am
WMEC-TV, Macomb Saturday 11 am
Lakeshore PBS, Chicago/Northwest Indiana Friday 1 pm

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