Ask the expert

Wisconsin State Farmer
Not only are dandelions attention getters in providing color to the landscape early in the growing season but they also can serve as food for humans, bees, and some insect species.

Q: What are some colorful annuals for shade?

A: There are many great annuals especially for shade that feature colorful blossoms. Impatiens, both single and double bloomers, are available in a number of bright colors. Coleus feature stunning patterns and designs in a number of bright colors including hot pink, purple, red, lime green and yellow. Begonias are profuse bloomers that are available in shades of pink, red, yellow, white and apricot.

Q: I'm creating an alphabet garden and am having problems with the letters X and Q. Can you help me?

A: How about the cute little Hosta X-Rated and native wild Quinine.

Q: Is there a natural way to get rid of dandelions?

A: If you have a regular crop of dandelions each year, have a soil test done to determine what exactly is causing the invasion. Dandelions love to grow in calcium depleted soil and compacted soil. They also take over when lawns are too thin and mowed too short. If your soil needs calcium, spread lime. Thicken your lawn to keep dandelions out by over seeding, and mow higher, 3 to 4 inches, to keep weeds out.

Q: Can I trim my forsythia shrub now?

A: Forsythia can be pruned a few weeks after the flowering is completed.