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I am a Master Gardener through the University of Illinois Extension.I can answer questions about pest control, especially voles, rabbits, chipmunks and slugs, and have done so on Dave's Garden Watchdog under the name DonnaMack since 2002. I have a lot of expertise with ornamental grasses, hardy roses and old garden roses, minor bulbs such as ornigothalem, chionodoxa and allium as well as most types of lilies. I lived in a conservaton community and have great familiarity with native plants. I am knowledgeable about organic methods and I grow perennials, annuals and vegetables from seed.

Experience in the area

I have been gardening since 1998 and have raised roses, peonies, annuals and perennials (the latter two from seed), and numerous shrubs and trees, many of which I have planted. I am familiar with many organic techniques and use as many as I can but know the chemical solutions, which are most benign and how to use them. I LOVE gardening, and I get great satisfaction with helping others so that they reach the state of joy that gardening can bring to those inclined to it.


The American Lily Society and the Wisconsin Illinois Lily Society


I have numerous entries in Garden Watchdog under the name DonnaMack. I write three to four columns a year for the Kane County Chronicle. I also write articles for Daves Garden Watchdog.


I successfully completed the University of Illinois Master Gardening Program in March of 2013 and have maintained my certification every year since. I did this to augment extensive self study through books (I've probably read 100) and an arts degree, which helps with aesthetics. I am purely an amateur, but one who studies, reads, and documents extensively. My gardening log began in 2000, and has hundreds of entries, so that I can use my successes and failures to assist other gardeners.

Awards and Honors

The University of Illinois created a Team with Work Award for master gardeners who work together to create what they regard as an outstanding project. I won this award as part of a group that created "The Idea Garden", which suggests plants for home growers to attempt to grow. My personal contribution was salvias - ornamental and culinary hardy and tender perennials, which I grew from seed and tended through the season. I have recently been asked to join the Speakers Bureau, which would require me to present topics to various groups under the auspices of the Master Gardening program.

Past/Present Clients

I am currently overseeing and performing the maintenance of ten gardens in a suburbs of Chicago.

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Recent Reviews from Users

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    K = Knowledgeability    C = Clarity of Response    P = Politeness
Mary10/17/16101010Very quick response to my question. So .....
Lynn08/10/16101010Thank you sooo much! I will purchase .....
larry03/22/16101010Thanks Donna; you allayed my fears that .....
Jennifer T.03/14/16101010Thanks so much for your quick reply .....

Recent Answers from Donna Mack

2016-12-05 PLanting Azalea Under Large Trees:

Hi again, Jack.    My biggest concern about putting azaleas under your trees is that on the one hand digging too close to tee roots can be bad for the trees, and on the other hand the trees may out compete

2016-12-05 PLanting Azalea Under Large Trees:

Greetings, Jack.    Please let me address your last question first. I have had enormous success discouraging voles (I used to have terrible problems - once losing 50 lilies) by simply planting very small

2016-10-17 Weird looking insect:

Oh, my goodness. I think that he is right!  It's an absolute match to your creature.    It just proves that you were smart to go to someone in your climate.    Kudos to him, and to you!    Thankfully,

2016-10-16 Weird looking insect:

Hello Mary,    It's not a caterpillar. It's a SLUG! Some are brown, some are green, and some are an almost florescent yellow!;_ylt=A0LEV7o3EQRYBx8Ab2gnnIlQ?p=Brown+slug&fr=yhs-mozilla-002&fr2=piv-web&hspart=mozilla&hsimp=yhs-002

2016-08-12 Brown and black spots on 2 Jasmine Madagascar plants:

Hi Lynn,    Actually, I was after insecticidal soap, which was the product for which I sent you the link. The main ingredient in the product you purchased is Neem oil. Neem oil is supposedly an insecticide


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