1. Published

    With the end of winter near, it’s time to start planning for the garden season. At the outbreak of COVID-19 last year, many people attempted to grow some of their own food, re-popularizing the concept of WWII “victory gardens.” Increase your victory garden growing capacity by planting some black currant bushes this March! 

  2. Published

    Who would have known seeds would be the latest craze in 2021? Many seed companies are finding it hard to keep up with the demand and are out of stock or delayed in delivery. If you haven’t ordered your seeds, don’t fret, some are still available and your garden centers will not let you down on offering the average fare.

  3. Published

    In 2020, there was an uptick in greening the home office with tropical houseplants and succulents, stimulated by how different some people's jobs have become. However, the houseplant craze has been building momentum for several years much to the delight of horticulturists, watching new offerings of different varieties come to market.

  4. Published

    While flowers can be gifted for any occasion, they are most popular on Valentine’s Day, a tradition that started several hundred years ago. Floriography, the language of flowers, was a common practice in the Victorian era that allowed messages and emotions to be shared with others.

    Flowers are a great way to send a special message without even saying a word. Each flower or color was assigned a special meaning (or even multiple meanings), allowing many sentiments represented in one arrangement or bouquet, from true love to friendship.

  5. Published

    Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate love in the form of flowers. This holiday excites floral designers because they know every festive flower can generate a positive emotional response.

  6. Published

    The tradition of giving flowers to family and friends to express affection on Valentine’s’ Day began centuries ago. Give your loved one a gift this year with blooms that can be enjoyed long after February 14.

  7. Published

    Like a scene from an old western: with a pair of sterilized pruners, and her boots, horticulturists Kelly Allsup walks up to the newly planted English White oak hybrid. Her sole intent of increasing the life of an urban tree. She walks around the tree, looking it up and down. The goal of pruning is to remove branches that will cause structural problems in the future, reduce competition of the central leader, and keep a balanced canopy. Kelly is ready to prune.  

  8. Published

    Believe it or not, it's never too early to start making plans for this year's garden. Knowing when to plant for your area and getting your plants started right will help you maximize the growing season.

    When to grow?

    Planting dates are determined two things: the first and last frost dates where you grow, and how much time it takes for a crop to mature. Always check the plant tag or seed packet for the recommended date.  

  9. Published

    The 2021 Garden Trends Report by Garden Media Group says, “Victory garden was spurred by the increase in home cooking in 2020. GMG says 31 percent of people would like to grow fruits in their backyard and berries are at the top of the list.”

  10. Published

    One of the simple joys of summer is picking berries straight from the bush and enjoying a sweet treat. Pruning blackberry and raspberry bushes now ensures a bumper harvest in the summer.

  11. Published

    For the past 18 years, gardeners have packed the halls of Central Catholic High school the first Saturday of March. They bustled between a plethora of classes and presentations by McLean County Master Gardeners and local professionals, then left with their hands filled with goodies for the upcoming season, their heads filled with inspiration—a day rich with shared experiences. One Saturday morning in spring would help them become better gardeners. 

  12. Published

    Patio containers will grow food and boast hues of silver and white, and I think we may even see gardeners experimenting with growing sweet potato vine towers.

  13. Published

    While winter can give gardeners a nice break from their usual garden maintenance, they undoubtedly miss the ability to harvest and enjoy the fresh garden bounty. Try growing fresh, flavorful herbs indoors this winter to add some green to your home and zest to your recipes!

    Many herbs are native to the Mediterranean and require certain conditions for optimal growth and flavor. Those that can be easily grown indoors include chives, basil, sage, parsley, thyme, oregano, mints, and rosemary.

  14. Published

    Anyone can make their holiday season a little more earth friendly with a new family tradition: recycling the tree!

  15. Published

    Creating simple, homemade birdfeeders is a great way to support feathered friends during the cold winter months when food sources are scarce. It also allows us to be creative, resourceful, and engage with nature while stuck indoors. Make your backyard more wildlife-friendly by making a few of these natural, DIY birdfeeders.

  16. Published

    Six Garden Gifts 

    Gardening is a mindful practice that can only be sourced outside in the fresh air, with your hands in the dirt, creating a pallet of flowers and fruits. This past year, many new gardeners tested their skills while experienced gardeners stretched theirs. This year, gift the must-have gardening tools of the trade. 

  17. Published

    Decorating with fresh greenery is a treat for most gardeners getting ready for the holiday festivities. Some buy greens from a local garden center, but did you know you can harvest branches from evergreen conifers to use in your holiday décor?

  18. Published

    This holiday season, buy Poinsettias from local growers, and keep them vibrant with a few “don’ts” from a previous Poinsettia greenhouse grower.

    Millions of Poinsettias are bought each year as decoration and gifts. What most consumers do not know is Poinsettias have to be grown with a lot of love and attention or they won’t make it to your holiday festivities.

  19. Published

    Being thankful for our families has a new meaning this year, and the feast should be spectacular. Let’s add a sometimes-missing ingredient this year: the love that a local grower, baker, or cook puts into their product.

    My role in the Thanksgiving meal is to procure ingredients and I challenge myself to buy mostly fresh local ingredients for the big meal.

  20. Published

    Bring the garden inside this winter with fun activities and experiments! ‘Forcing’ paperwhite bulbs is a family-friendly activity to add a touch of nature to your home this winter. The technique nurtures a winter bloom indoors by providing bulbs with favorable growing conditions similar to spring.