News source/writer: Ron Wolford, 773-233-2900,


URBANA, Ill. – We may put up a Christmas tree every year, but few of us are aware of their history and significance. University of Illinois Extension educator Ron Wolford enlightens us.

In 1856, Franklin Pierce, the 14th President of the United States, was the first president to place a Christmas tree in the White House.

News source/writer: Kim Ellson, 847-818-2905,


URBANA, Ill. – It is hard to think of the holidays without conjuring up images of red poinsettias and a snowy landscape. These beautiful plants are easy to care for, with a few simple tips.

Join University of Illinois Extension for their annual Horticulture for the Holidays workshop! Participants will participate in a make-and-take workshop that demonstrates how to incorporate the garden into seasonal celebrations and gift giving.

Source/writer: Jennifer Fishburn, 217-782-4617,


A holiday cactus in full bloom is a great holiday gift. Easy to care for, holiday cacti generally are long lived and will easily bloom year after year. In fact, they are often passed down from generation to generation as family heirlooms.

News source/writer: Candice Hart, 815-732-2191,


URBANA, Ill. – Longing for a bit of spring during the winter months? A University of Illinois Extension educator suggests "forcing" bulbs indoors to create a beautiful and long-lasting flower display for your home.

News source/writer: Ron Wolford, 773-233-2900,


URBANA, Ill. – Choosing the perfect Christmas tree this holiday season is simply a matter of following a few simple steps, according to University of Illinois Extension educator Ron Wolford.

"Choosing the family Christmas tree can be a memory-filled tradition," Wolford says. The following tips can help you select a fresh tree for your home and keep it looking its best.

News source/writer: Jennifer Fishburn, Extension Educator, Horticulture,

There are many types of plants available for purchase during the holiday season. Poinsettias are the number one potted plant sold and for good reason, they are beautiful, they come in the traditional red and a variety of other colors, and if properly cared for they last a long time. Chances are that you will either purchase a poinsettia as a gift or receive one as a gift. Following are some tips to help you choose a healthy poinsettia and keep it looking good throughout the holiday season and beyond.