1. Published

    There is a growing body of research supporting the use of native plants in landscaping to preserve local biodiversity and sustain native wildlife populations.  Currently, much of our urban plant composition is not comprised of native species, based on the general public’s historical preference for non-native, exotic plant materials.  Numerous studies have found that these non-native plants outnumber native species in US landscape settings from urban to suburban

  2. Published

    Broad-leafed and evergreen holly species have long been a symbol of Christmas and other winter holidays and traditions.  The dark green, prickly foliage combined with contrasting bright red berries can really be a show stopper in the winter landscape providing both ornamental beauty and food for wildlife as berries persist into winter.

  3. Published

    Are you searching for the perfect holiday gift for that plant lover on your list?  Hoping to inspire a new plant enthusiast with the ideal plant-related gift? Houseplants are one of the best and most affordable gifts for someone interested in a plant-themed gift this holiday season. 

  4. Published

    Recently, an Illinois Extension colleague of mine was gracious enough to share an extremely rare find from the early days of horticulture extension and outreach at University of Illinois.  The publication dates back to 1915 and is focused on gardening with native prairie plants.  I found it utterly fascinating to read this piece of literature and think about the context to which native and perennial plants were presented to the early 20th century a

  5. Published

    So many foods are epitomized by their annual appearance in Thanksgiving feasts, with sweet potato often right alongside the turkey and stuffing. This plant also has an interesting world history as both a food-security and subsistence crop in developing countries as week as a delicacy if Thanksgiving Feasts in other parts of the world.

  6. Published

    Winter is a stressful time for many plants in the landscape, given the drought conditions brought on by freezing temperatures and the effects of extreme cold.

  7. Published

    Not all trees shed their leaves in coordination during fall. You may have noticed that some trees are still holding their leaves this week, and many of those will likely hold them until spring.

  8. Published

    Ready for some tips to lighten the load with fall garden cleanup?  Breaking a few old habits can make a big difference for native wildlife by leaving some winter habitat elements in place. 

  9. Published

    Although our Halloween snow provided a beautiful wintry accent to autumn leaves, it marked a stark end to the growing season for most plants. Many area gardeners were tuned in, harvesting the last of their still-viable vegetable crops ahead of the snow.

  10. Published

    When I mention ripe beets coming out of the ground this time of year, I don't get much excitement out of my kids, but they are certainly a favorite of mine. I have fond memories of fresh beets from my grandmother's garden. She served them pretty regularly as a side, fresh when possible and canned the rest of the year, and I actually liked them quite a bit when I was a kid. The hearty root crops are edible top to bottom, relatively easy to cultivate and quite productive for the garden space they occupy.

  11. Published

    Winer injury is a common problem among fruit trees grown in our area and this year's up and down spring temperatures resulted in damage to flower buds across central Illinois. Cold weather in some years can bring damage to many ornamental tree species as well, impacting much anticipated spring blooms. In fact, injury from cold weather is likely the most important limiting factor in plant species distribution around the globe, which is why most gardeners pay careful attention to cold hardiness maps.

  12. Published

    Last week the spring beauties (Claytonia virginica) in Lodge Park, near Monticello, were absolutely stunning. These tiny, ornate wildflowers adorn the forested trails at Lodge and other woodlands throughout central Illinois providing us with a sure sign that spring has arrived each year.

  13. Published

    Rain gardens are one way for homeowners to use garden design as means to mitigate storm runoff by capturing and detaining water before it leaves our properties. Although these carefully designed gardens function as tiny rainwater detection areas, you wouldn't know it unless they were inundated with storm water. When it's not raining, they are attractive gardens filled with pollinator habitat and native plants with beautiful blooms.

  14. Published

    'Creating a Holiday Wreath' featuring Master Gardener Mary Stonecipher

  15. Published

    Are you searching for a unique gift for a friend who just retired? Would you rather be outside in your garden than anywhere else? The University of Illinois Extension Office will be holding Master Gardener Training Classes starting in January 2019. Master Gardeners are volunteers who have a love of gardening and a passion to share it with others, but despite the title, don't claim to know everything about gardening. The program focuses on learning for the love of learning.

  16. Published
    For many of us, Monarch butterflies conjure cherished memories of childhood. However, this beloved butterfly once so familiar has become more and more absent from our gardens. Scientists believe a lack of habitat along with colder than usual weather patterns has caused their numbers to drop in recent years.

    Consider this- the monarch is the only butterfly known to migrate like a bird. They can fly 100 miles in a day and travel up to 3000 miles to reach their winter habitat in Mexico.

  17. Published

    Everyone likes a sale and gardeners are no exception. The Vermilion County Master Gardeners will hold their annual Plant Sale on Saturday, May 13 at The First Presbyterian Church, 100 North Franklin St. Danville from 7am - 2pm.

    The event will take place inside the First Presbyterian Gymnasium. As always there will be a wide selection of annuals, perennials, heirloom tomatoes, herbs and even some house plants to choose from. Having the opportunity to talk with the gardener who grew the plant you wish to purchase is a unique experience.

  18. Published

    The landscape is drab and we impatiently await the first tulip. But hang in there, because the University of Illinois Extension Garden Day Workshop and Spring Festival is right around the corner! For over a decade, local gardeners have celebrated the arrival of spring by attending this yearly event. Garden Day features everything plant lovers enjoy: speakers who entertain and educate, a wide variety of vendors to shop, a delicious made-from-scratch lunch, a silent auction, door prizes and a raffle room.

  19. Published

    Winter in Illinois is long for gardeners and by late February I start looking outside -desperate for any sign of plant life. Tired of waiting for the first crocus to appear, I have become somewhat addicted to forcing bulbs. It's not difficult and you can enjoy hyacinths, tulips and daffodils from late January thru March. It makes those months significantly less dreary and you will enjoy every petal of your indoor garden.

  20. Published

    When I am in the company of Master Gardeners I never cease to be humbled by their versatility and the sheer amount of knowledge and talent they possess. They come from all walks of life and are passionate about all aspects of gardening. Their interests cover everything from flowers and vegetables to herbs, gourds and beekeeping. There are novice and experienced gardeners in the program and all are there to learn. Perhaps, the biggest benefit to being a Master Gardener is having the opportunity to constantly discover more about a subject one can never know everything about.