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ILRiverHort 2017

Food Garden Safety Begins with a Lead Test Soil

Written by Rhonda Ferree, retired horticulture educator The garden season is in full force, and I'm excited to hear about all the food and community gardens happening in our area. As we begin growing food and other plants this summer, please consider some potential health hazards. A...
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Gardening in February

Written by Rhonda Ferree, retired horticulture educator February often gives me the winter blahs. When that happens, gardening tasks help perk me up. Consider these various February gardening activities to reduce the winter blues. GENERAL Repair and paint lawn and garden tools, window...
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Hardy Pampas Grass

Written by Rhonda Ferree, retired horticulture educator After 30 years of being a horticulture educator with University of Illinois Extension the towering pampas grasses still amaze me each fall. What energy and power that plant must have to grow over 12 feet tall each summer, just to die...
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Doll's Eyes…A Great Halloween Plant

Written by Rhonda Ferree, retired horticulture educator Some plants are perfect for Halloween. Bat flowers, devils claw, and corpse flower come to mind. Another creepy looking plant is doll's eyes. I'm not sure why dolls with staring, glass eyes are so scary, but they can be truly...
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Twenty-one New Master Gardeners Trained in Fall 2017

Written by Rhonda Ferree, retired horticulture educator A new crop of volunteers completed University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener training on November 7, 2017. Twenty-one energetic trainees culminated their ten-week Master Gardener training course by advancing to intern status...
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Free Summer Gardening Webinars also on YouTube

Written by Rhonda Ferree, retired horticulture educator The summer series of University of Illinois Extension's Four Seasons Gardening program focuses on environmental stewardship, home gardening, and backyard food production. The first session of the series is titled, Using Essential...
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Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit!

Written by Rhonda Ferree, retired horticulture educator Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit! Elmer Fudd from The Looney Tunes said it right, "Bugs Bunny?! You're a pesky wabbit!" I have replanted my tomato plants three times this spring. The first two times the plants were gone by...
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Roadside Flowers

Written by Rhonda Ferree, retired horticulture educator Recently I had a friend ask me what the blue flowers were along the roadside. Have you noticed the beautiful flowers blooming along our roadsides right now? Illinois roadsides are quite beautiful in late summer. She was referring to...
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Purple Vegetables are Beautiful and Delicious

Written by Rhonda Ferree, retired horticulture educator I have several purple vegetables and herbs growing in my garden this summer. Botanically, purple plants are fascinating to me. We all learn in science class that plants get their green color from the chlorophyll in their leaves,...
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How do Plant's Decide What Color to Wear?

Written by Rhonda Ferree, retired horticulture educator Most plants have a very strict dress code, donning the same colors and style every year. When colors vary, the plant is simply named something else, or it indicates that there is a problem. Botanically, plant colors are fascinating...
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Free Spring Gardening Webinars Announced

Written by Rhonda Ferree, retired horticulture educator The spring series of University of Illinois Extension's Four Seasons Gardening program focuses on environmental stewardship, home gardening, and backyard food production. The first session of the series is titled, Growing...
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Rhubarb

Written by Rhonda Ferree, retired horticulture educator I love rhubarb! Also known as the pie plant, rhubarb is a very hardy perennial garden vegetable that grows extremely well here. Although considered a vegetable, rhubarb is used as a fruit in pies, tarts, cakes, and sauces. Rhubarb...
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Fun Garden Gifts

Written by Rhonda Ferree, retired horticulture educator I made my first miniature garden at a recent Master Gardener meeting in Canton. It's such a pretty, fun little garden that I smile every time I see it. Are you searching for the "perfect" gift for a gardener in your family? As Black...
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Plants That Move

Written by Rhonda Ferree, retired horticulture educator No plants do not have legs, but they do move. Although I don't see it happen, each week my African violet leaves lean toward the light requiring me to straighten them with a quarter turn. I also don't see the prayer plants fold their...
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Perennial Flower Garden Design

Written by Rhonda Ferree, retired horticulture educator Have you ever seen a garden that just took your breath away? You visit two months later, and the garden is again in full glory, and you wonder how do people do it? How do you design a garden that offers visual interest through the...
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Interesting Plants Around Canton Lake

Written by Rhonda Ferree, retired horticulture educator I was fortunate enough to camp at Canton Lake twice this summer. While enjoying peaceful kayak rides along the shoreline I found two plants that I'd never seen before. It's always exciting to find new plants, but these were...
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Don't Raise Mosquitoes in Your Yard

Written by Rhonda Ferree, retired horticulture educator Be sure to look for mosquito breeding sites in your yard. The first step to fighting mosquitoes MUST begin in YOUR backyard. West Nile Virus is most frequently transmitted through the house mosquito. Since it can only fly about 1-½...
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