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    Seed Packets

    Growing a plant from seed can be a very rewarding experience.  Here are a few tips to consider when shopping for seeds.

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    When a plant has “rattlesnake” in its name, there has to be a

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    Monarch butterflies are beautiful and their migration journey is inspiring. Monarchs need milkweeds because they MUST lay their eggs on milkweed leaves.

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    Colorful, sweet and juicy blueberries are a summertime treat.

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    Leafy greens such as lettuce and spinach are one of the first things harvested from a vegetable garden.

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    There aren’t very many plants that come in a wider range of color than iris. In the past 50 years, thousands of

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    A drive through any town or park in central Illinois and you will notice that most sycamore trees are void of any green leaves. So, what is causing this problem?

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    For the past several years, the decline in monarch and honey bee populations has spurred great interest in these two insect pollinators. It is important to continue to focus on their needs; however, a host of other fascinating pollinators are also working in the yard and garden. As summer winds down, there's still time to observe many of them.

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    What usually comes to mind when thinking about herbs is a low bushy plant with fragrant leaves and blooms, like basil or thyme. It's a much broader category, however. An herb has been defined as "...any plant or plant part that has historically been used for medicinal, culinary or fragrance purposes" and also, simply, as "a useful plant." Gardening with Herbs | Herb Gardening | U of I Extension

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    Japanese beetle adults may be munching on roses, lindens, raspberries, birch trees, crabapple and apple trees in your neighborhood. The beetles are voracious foliage and fruit feeders of nearly 300 species of plants. Feeding on plants generally lasts for about six weeks.

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    Earth Day is Sunday, April 22. Join the fight to end plastic pollution by visiting Earth Day Network website and calculate your plastic consumption and make a pledge to reduce your amount, www.earthday.org .

    Plastics are a problem mostly due to their un-biodegradable nature, and the challenges behind properly discarding them.

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    University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener volunteers can choose from a variety of volunteer opportunities.Some plan and care for demonstration gardens. Others present programs on a variety of horticultural topics or answer gardening questions from the public. For the past 15 years, Master Gardeners have visited St. Joseph's Home on Thursdays from Spring through Fall, talked with residents and their family visitors, and spend time with residents doing a garden-related activity.

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    Don't let recent cool temperatures make you think that the gardening season is over. Fall is a great time to get a few last chores done and get a head start on next spring. Here are a few items to add to your fall garden "to do" list.

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    Pollinators are crucial to the pollination of more than 150 food crops in the United States. Many of these being fruits, nuts and berries which wildlife depend on and humans enjoy eating.

    Pollinators include bees, butterflies, moths, beetles, hummingbirds, flies, wasps and bats. As gardeners, we can provide pollinator-friendly gardens that provide valuable habitat to insects and wildlife. Consider including native plants in gardens. Native plants once established need less water, don't need fertilized, require less maintenance and are better adapted to local growing conditions.

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    Happy National Honey Bee Day, August 19, 2017. In 2009, the first National Honey Bee Day was celebrated, this day continues annually on the third Saturday in August. This national day was started by grassroots minded beekeepers to build community awareness of the bee industry, through education and promotion.

    Most beekeepers are considered hobbyist. According to the Illinois Department of Agriculture, there are currently 3,930 beekeepers in Illinois with 28,586 colonies.

    A few facts about honey bees:

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    On the first day of the Illinois State Fair, University of Illinois Extension master gardener volunteers observed a monarch butterfly. This butterfly could have been the same one that emerged on August 6, but no way to know for sure. Monarchs are easily recognized by their orange and black wings.

    A few quick facts about monarch butterflies.

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    University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener volunteers are thrilled to report the emergence of the Monarch Butterfly from the chrysalis. Volunteers have been observing the chrysalis inside the bean teepee within the Idea Garden on the Illinois State Fairgrounds!

    The chrysalis has been observed and photographed daily from July 29 to August 5, and we can hardly believe our good fortune to be there immediately after the Monarch emerged from the chrysalis and while it's wings were still drying!

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    Treasure Found in Nature's Hideaway

    Nature's Hideaway is one of five "Idea" gardens within the University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener Demonstration Gardens in Springfield.. Nature's Hideaway encourages family gardening using readily available, inexpensive materials and seeds that are fun and easy. This garden features a bean teepee surrounded by zinnias, a small vegetable bed, and flanked by sunflowers in each corner.

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    Plant a Row for the Hungry (PAR)is a national program that encourages gardeners to plant and donate produce to those needing food assistance in their communities. In Springfield, the University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener volunteers have led a local effort to share fresh produce. For the past 19 years, volunteers have worked with the Central Illinois Food Bank and local food pantries.

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    Five years ago, University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener and Master Naturalist volunteers started a demonstration garden to feature sun-loving native plants. The Native Wildflower Garden (NWG) demonstrates the use of native plants in home landscapes and how these plants are beneficial to pollinators, particularly struggling Monarch butterflies. Fittingly, the NWG is located at Lincoln Memorial Garden's Ostermeier Prairie Center.