Q: Our 8-year-old ponytail palm, named Dr. Seuss, has always been quite buoyant. Over the last several months, the leaves have lost many curls and droop downward instead of standing taller. We repotted it a few months ago, but its mood hasn’t improved. We water it two to three times a month, only when it’s really dry since we know the large stem is the water reservoir. Any ideas? — Kat Ramsland.
FARGO — People with houseplants fall into three personality types. First are those who coax any indoor plant into junglelike vigor and turn even sickly rescue plants into room-sized wonders. Second are those who have a minimalist relationship with their plants; the plants appear adequate as they get basic care, no more, no less. Lastly are those who have never met a houseplant they couldn’t kill, but wish to discover the secret to success.
Q: Could you please identify this vining plant that grows on our chain-link fence? It is very invasive, as it originally started two doors down and over the years eventually made its way across our neighbor's fence and onto ours. We all know to cut it back as needed. Are the berries edible? It has lovely fall color when conditions are right, but not this year. — Denice Heiser, West Fargo.
FARGO -- Did you know scientists are discovering that trees communicate with each other? They aren’t necessarily gossiping about you behind your back, and they probably aren’t sharing a joke about two trees walking into a bar, but researchers are finding fascinating ways that trees are talking among themselves.
FARGO — The autumn of 2018 will go down in history as one of the more difficult for end-of-season yard and garden work. Our own garden has been too wet to dig potatoes from the gooey clay. Instead, I’m waiting for them to float to the surface. I wonder if Martha Stewart has a recipe for herbed potatoes a la mud.
Q: The photo shows my chrysanthemum this fall. Should it be cut back now that it froze, or leave it until spring to clean it up? This was the second year for it and I was not sure it would survive the winter, but it did! — Bonnie Johnson.
Q: While digging carrots, I found one white one among all the regular orange ones. What causes one to be white? — Anne Barbee, Moorhead. A: Besides the most commonly grown orange carrot varieties, there are also carrot varieties that are purple, red, yellow and white. The original ancient carrots are said to be white and purple, and centuries of cross-breeding developed the orange type common today.
“Close your books and take out a sheet of paper.” I haven’t heard the words for decades, but I remember vividly how the teacher’s chilling words struck fear into the hearts of us poor, unsuspecting (and probably unprepared) students when a surprise quiz was announced. It’s easier to laugh about it when you’re no longer a student.
Q: Can you tell what type of pumpkin or gourd the greenish-gray one at the front of the photo is? I planted seeds for the gourds behind it and don't know where the gray or pink ones came from. Any clues? Are they edible? — Jody Bendel. A: Both the gray-green and pink pumpkin-shaped items are edible heirloom squash, and the gray-green is likely the Jarrahdale variety. Gourd seed is usually a mixture of shapes and colors, and sometimes squash or pumpkin seed is inadvertently mixed in by the supplier.
FARGO — Did you notice the heavy crop of seeds on the region's trees this summer and fall? Elm seeds fell by the millions this summer at our home in Fargo. People around the region shared photographs of buckets filled with acorns and walnuts as trees produced bumper crops of seeds and nuts. Folklore says when trees produce an overabundance of seed, it forecasts a cold, snowy winter. Is this true, or is it an old wives' tale?