Ryan Pankau

Ryan Pankau

In the Garden | Aggravating black walnuts have redeeming qualities

Anyone with a mature black walnut (Juglans nigra) tree on their property is likely aware that fruits are ripe now, and the baseball-sized green bombs are beginning to fall with each slight gust of wind or, at times, seemingly at random.

In the Garden | Vegetable-garden harvesting do's and don'ts

Harvesting vegetables from your garden can sometimes be tricky. Each individual crop has specific considerations for harvesting the best-tasting and most long-lasting produce.

In the Garden | Landscaping with blueberries

Landscaping with edible plants is my second-favorite gardening theme, next to "going native." Today, there are a wide variety of plants available that will not only provide your family food but also offer many other desirable attributes. In addition, it reduces your footprint by growing some of your own local food.

In the Garden | Try going native

Native plants offer a whole suite of ecosystems services that are often taken for granted.

In the Garden | Shedding light on bark loss

Our native sycamore tree (Platanus occidentalis) is known for its extraordinary exfoliating bark that peels off to expose the beautiful creamy white and greenish colors beneath, creating a camouflage-like appearance.

This summer, many area sycamores are shedding bark at alarming rates, which has prompted folks to question the health of their trees.

In the Garden | Supporting the monarchs

The iconic monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) has become somewhat of a poster child for the plight that many pollinators face, and for good reason. Monarch populations have experienced drastic declines in recent years for a variety of reasons, some of which researchers are still trying to explain.

In the Garden | Watch out for voracious cabbageworms

Recently, my wife, Amanda, noticed that something was chewing on the nice stand of kale she planted in our vegetable garden.

In the Garden | Beetles are back

Last week, I noticed the first of an annual pest in our area that is always unwelcome to anyone that gardens.

In the Garden | Roll out welcome mat for pollinators

Eleven years ago, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved the designation of a week in June as National Pollinator Week, marking a huge step in recognizing both the value of our pollinators and the plight they have faced nationwide.

In the Garden | Fighting invasive plants

Visitors to the downtown Champaign area last month may have noticed an odd addition to the One Main Development landscaping. Over the course of May, an increasing number of mysterious white trees appeared out of nowhere. Who placed these ghost trees? Where did they come from?