cicada killer by deanna frautschi

Cicada Killers and the Great black wasp may have already started menacing gardener. However menacing they are in their façade, they are just simply trying to get some nectar from the flowers. About this time of year, inquiries from the public start to flood Master Gardener ran help desks because they start emerging from their winter homes that are nests underground.

2018 Home, Lawn & Garden Day welcomes Gold Standard Perennials
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. –
McLean County Master Gardeners welcome Susan Martin, as their keynote speaker for their 2018 Home, Lawn, and Garden Day.

Mohammed Babadoost, University of Illinois go to plant pathologist, says, "This year's processing pumpkin crop is the best it has been in the last two decades. " Babadoost attributes the success of the pumpkin crop to new varieties, more successful management of diseases like downy mildew and phytophtera by the growers and drought during the summer that does not favor some of these disease pressures. Babadoost has spent years in his career being a resource to pumpkin growers across the state.

Are you an avid vegetable gardener or maybe you just want to know more about growing food? University of Illinois Extension has brought you this new resource that is sure to be a "garden changer" for the novice and the expert! Vegetable Gardening in the Midwest is out now and available to help you with your gardening goals.

 

Vegetable Swap at Heartline and Heart House in Eureka

EUREKA, Ill. – It is officially go time and the season for tomatoes, eggplant, herbs, cucumbers, peppers, apples and more. Those who have chosen to grow these favorite vegetables are more than likely getting more produce then they can handle.

Join Master Gardeners. Teach gardening in your community.

The Master Gardener program is a volunteer organization with the University of Illinois Extension that gives back to the community through gardening and horticulture education.

Blueberries don't like most of the soils in Central Illinois. It's some of the best soil in the world, but for blueberries we have to make amendments that you can easily manage in your backyard. Our soil may be alkaline, but don't call us basic.

Blueberries require acidic soil. They prefer a pH of 4.8 to 5.2, which is below our average soil pH of 5.5 to 7.0 in most places in Central Illinois. If the soil is not acidic enough, the blueberry plants will not be able to take up the required nutrients from the soil, leading to stunted growth and yellow leaves.

Many homes are being purposefully adorned with abnormally large, scary black spiders and their webs to hinge on the fact that a large percentage of the population may suffer from the fear of spiders, known as arachnophobia.

 

EUREKA, Ill – Bring your questions to the Eureka Library on Monday, September 10 anytime between 4:30 to 6 p.m. to get your gardening questions answered by University of Illinois Extension Woodford County Master Gardeners. So far this growing season we have answered gardening questions for a plethora of Woodford County gardeners. Let Master Gardeners help you solve your gardening woes.

Fall is coming, and that means it's a great time to bring home a new tree. But before they do,homeowners should repeat the mantra"right plant, right place," according to Kari Houle, University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator.

"If you have space for a tree that can only be 30 feet tall, don't chose a tree that is 50 feet tall and hope that you can keep it pruned 20 feet smaller," Houle says. "Determine how much space you have available andwhat yoursoil conditionsare,then find a tree that is suitable to that planting space."

 

Join the Woodford County Master Gardeners on Saturday, April 21 for a morning filled with lots of fun as we unlock secret gardening tips in a celebration entitled "Gardeners' Gathering: Sharing a Growing Secret," in Germantown Hills.

Terrariums a century-old trend of bringing nature inside during the winter, terrarium gardening has had a revival gardeners as of late and would make an excellent gift for the holidays.

The invention of terrariums is attributed to English Botanist, Dr. Nathanial Ward. He used a closed bottle filled with tiny ferns and grasses growing in soil in order to observe a hummingbird moth chrysalis. Once the moth emerged, he continued to watch how the ferns and grasses continued to grow for four years, during which time he never opened the bottle to add water.

 

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Who knew your kitchen scraps could turn into a bountiful garden to enjoy again? Skip the compost bucket or garbage can, and re-grow your leftover veggies and fruits this winter for beautiful houseplants and garden additions."Kitchen scrap gardening is a great way to reinforce the concepts of recycling and reusing while experimenting with leftover plant parts to regrow," said Brittnay Haag, University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator.

Join the Woodford County Master Gardeners on Saturday, April 21 for a morning filled with lots of fun as we unlock secret gardening tips in a celebration entitled "Gardeners' Gathering: Sharing a Growing Secret," in Germantown Hills.
Universityof Illinois Extension is proud to present Patrick Murphy, horticulturist, and curator of Fell Arboretum on the campus of Illinois State University. Patrick will present his selections and best planting practices of Trees of the Midwest Landscape with our audience.

Phaleonopsis orchid flowers have awe-inspiring and long-lasting flowers that really make them an ideal gift. Look for a plant where not all the buds are open. This means you would have the maximum amount of time to enjoy the blooms. With a little affection, phaleonopsis (moth) orchid blooms can last 6-8 weeks and become a reblooming houseplant.

Why do I need fertilizer? When? What kind? How do Master Gardeners fertilize plants? The answer to this question is easy to answer: It all depends on the plant.

Now that you have been left even further mystified about fertilizers, learning some basic principles about plant nutrition can help you make a decision like a pro.

Cicada Killers and the Great black wasp may have already started menacing gardener. However menacing they are in their façade, they are just simply trying to get some nectar from the flowers. About this time of year, inquiries from the public start to flood Master Gardener ran help desks because they start emerging from their winter homes that are nests underground.

Amaryllis bulbs are commonplace in decorating for the holiday because of their bold, grand, exquisite presences drawing you across the room for a closer look. My experience in growing these show stopping flowers began in the research greenhouse at the University of Illinois. I was t in charge of growing amaryllis flowers for Diane Noland's topiary lesson. The lesson was always one of the last lessons for the semester and be close to the holidays.

Livingston County Master Gardeners Receive State Awards

PONTIAC, Ill. – University of Illinois Extension would like to congratulate the Livingston County Master Gardeners on receiving state awards at the Illinois Master Gardener Conference in Springfield this fall.

Whether you have grown potatoes for years or never grown a fresh potato in your life, growing them in a straw bale is an easy choice. Imagine pounds of beautiful fresh tubers that are crisper and tastier than any grocery store finds, all for less than the price of a bag of soil.

Growing potatoes in straw beds is not new, but growing them in a bale placed on a driveway or outside your apartment door is a novelty that can be mastered by following these simple steps.

Master Gardeners are on the Garden Beat again

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – University of Illinois Extension McLean County Master Gardeners help thousands of local gardeners with their gardening questions each year. Questions range from the identification of plant, weeds, and insects, to tree problems and tips to growing vegetables and fruits in your landscape.

Overwintering Tender Plants Indoors

Looking to save a little money on plants next spring? Have a plant that is special to you? Finally found the perfect shade of pink annual plant and want to keep it for next year? Now is the time to take action- bring your plants indoors before the cold weather returns by following a few easy tips!

 

PONTIAC, Ill. – After five undoubtedly successful "A Day in the Garden Patch' events hosted by the Livingston County Master Gardeners, we present a new opportunity for the gardening community around Pontiac: Fall Garden Patch because after all, gardening is a yearlong endeavor. This brand new Fall Garden Patch event will feature a program on spring bulbs; fall gardening tasks and a terrarium make-and-take demonstration.

Homemade gifts can be extra special during the holiday season. This season, give the gift of a succulent wreath.

Succulent Wreath Supplies: wreath form, Spanish moss, paddle wire, straight pins, and several succulent cuttings

Master Gardener Training opportunity coming to Livingston County

PONTIAC, Ill. – University of Illinois Extension and Livingston County Master Gardeners invite those eager to learn about growing vegetables, landscaping, trees, insects, or community and school gardening to join their volunteer training program this fall, for a mind-blowing garden learning experience.

Super Cool Greens!

Local Foods and Small Farms Educator, Bill Davison, says "kale is at least 30-40 percent cooler than broccoli." The reasoning behind this prevailing statement is the ease in which it is grown and how ornamental it can be.

However, horticulture educator, Kelly Allsup says, "swiss chard and beet greens are the real rock stars of the garden. " These greens are an early season delectable treat for my family, just as easy to grow and taste better."

 

EUREKA, Ill. – University of Illinois Extension would like to congratulate Woodford County Master Gardener, Tina Deetz for being recognized as a 2018 Outstanding Illinois Master Gardener.

Each season brings a different look to the garden, and some plants are uniquely beautiful in winter. Rhonda Ferree, horticulture educator with the University of Illinois Extension says that winter is a great time to see a plant's texture and form—each unique and mystical.
"Look for the differences between these trees this winter: oak, maple, and redbud," says Ferree. Oaks are the kings of the forest. They soar well above the maples and smaller redbuds.

Walking in the Illinois State University Horticulture Center garden this week, I see the hover flies (aka syrphid flies or flower flies) are covering any nectar-producing flower in droves. These flies, commonly mistaken for bees are one of our most prolific pollinators in the Illinois garden. In addition to their pollinator services, their larvae are ferocious meat eaters. Hover flies are excellent fliers, flying backwards and forwards and hovering over their beloved flowers and occasionally like to sip your sweat.

The Winter series of University of Illinois Extension's Four Seasons Gardening program, which focuses on environmental stewardship, home gardening, and backyard food production, gets underway this month. The first session of the series is titled, The Green Pathway to Invasion: Ornamental Invasive Plants. The program is offered twice – on February 27 at 1:30 p.m. and again on March 1 at 6:30 p.m. for home viewing.

Colorado blue spruce's silvery green color and perfectly placed boughs make it one of the most sought-after conifers in the industry. It was first discovered growing in the meadows and by the streams in the Rocky Mountains.

Despite the internet boasting this tree is easy to grow it requires extra attention for Illinois gardeners. Blue spruce require moist but well-drained, nutrient-rich soils and thrive in full sun but may succumb to some environmental stressors. There are major diseases that attack this tree, when it is stressed, leaving homeowners dumbfounded.

Eliot Coleman, author of The Winter Harvest Handbook, says "sweet winter candy carrots are his most acclaimed winter crop." He states "the tastiness resulting from growing in the fall weather elevates the humble carrot to another plane." Many gardeners who have experimented with spring grown vs. fall grown carrots can agree with Coleman that they taste sweeter when grown in the cooler weather.

I was going to write about preparing the garden bed, but then it snowed. Then I thought I could write about seeding in the snow, and then it melted.

This weather has been cruel keeping me indoors.

According to the Illinois State Water Survey: Illinois Climate Network, the temperature of our soil is above 40 degrees, and many crops are ready to be planted in the garden as soon as the soil dries out. One cool season crop that I have never written about is onion.

Gardening is celebrated at this year's A Day in the Garden Patch celebration with a focus on native Illinois plants and edible ornamentals.

University of Illinois Extension Horticulture Educator, Kelly Allsup says managing pests organically is easily achieved with biological pesticides.

Becoming organic does not mean that gardeners are without tools to manage garden pests; biological chemicals are commonly available in garden centers and derived from naturally occurring sources. These biological chemicals are safer for the environment because they are more selective in their activity, therefore most are safer to use around pets, wildlife, butterflies, bees and beneficial insects. Here are some examples:

Will stringing lights, making door wreaths and decorating the tree truly make you happier? For me, it brings out the nostalgia of childhood, my creative side and allows me to promote the use of horticulture during this season.

Whether you are buying a live Christmas tree, poinsettias and phaleonopsis as gifts or harvesting from the outside and bringing in, let nature be your guide to stay on trend this holiday season.

 

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – University of Illinois Extension would like to congratulate the following McLean County Master Gardeners on receiving state awards at the Illinois Master Gardener Conference in Springfield this September.

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – If your garden has a vigorous perennial that has been in the garden for more than a few years, or it has started to choke out other plants and no longer looks healthy (dead centers, floppy and unable to support healthy foliage and flowers), then it may be time to divide. Dividing is also a great way for a gardener to get more of their favorite plants into their beds.

Spring into action with Livingston County Master Gardeners Help Desk hours

PONTIAC, Ill. – University of Illinois Extension Livingston County Master Gardeners will open their Walk-In Help Desk for the 2018 growing season this week. The Help Desk is located at the University of Illinois Extension Livingston County Office (1412 South Locust, Pontiac). Volunteers are available Thursdays from 9 a.m.

to Noon this season.

The University of Illinois Extension and the Livingston County Master Gardeners invite those eager to learn about growing vegetables, landscaping, trees, insects, or community and school gardening to join their volunteer program this fall, for a mind blowing garden learning experience.

The Master Gardener training program meets every Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., starting August 23 and ending November 8 with our propagation lab. The cost of the class, including the Master Gardener training manual is $225.

 

PONTIAC, Ill. – Livingston County Master Gardeners will be demonstrating how to make yummy, spicy, garden fresh pesto at the Catherine V. Yost House Museum from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, August 18. In addition, Master Gardener, Cathy Montgomery will give an informal presentation on how to grow and use a harvest from your edible landscape.

Add a little of Sarah's Garden to your backyard landscape with exclusive Propagation Workshop
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – On Saturday, July 28 from 9 a.m. to Noon, the University of Illinois Extension McLean County Master Gardeners will be conducting a Plant Propagation Workshop at the award-winning and city treasure, Sarah's Garden at the David Davis Mansion.

I often tell people that I have a Ph.D. in watering plants. As a young professional, I spent my days deciding if I should water and then checking to see if I made the right decision. Sometimes, I spent my days racing to water before plants wilted.

I would like to say it is an art, but any gardener who learns the following water guidelines can get a Ph.D. in watering.

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Did you know that nearly 75% of the world's crops require pollination? Join University of Illinois Extension and the Illinois State University Horticulture Center as they celebrate the world of pollinators. The Pollinator Palooza: A Party for the Pollinators will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, August 9 at the Illinois State University Horticulture Center, located along Rabb Road in Normal, across from The Corn Crib Stadium.

Many who have been seeking out the McLean County Master Gardener help desk have been complaining of brown patches in the lawn. Unfortunately, most lawn ailments present themselves as unsightly browning in a sea of lush green. The following are some of the potential culprits.

If the grass is brown across the entire lawn, your lawn mower blade may have becomes dull and ripping the grass tips causing them to brown.

If the grass is brown and wilted, then it just may need to be watered.

Are you looking for more fruit on your trees this year? Try pruning.
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. –An essential strategy for producing tree fruits is yearly pruning during the dormant season. Proper pruning can increase fruit quality, reduce the occurrence of diseases, and improve the longevity of the tree, but many tree owners are apprehensive about the process. This winter, University of Illinois Extension is providing two workshops, with hands-on pruning experiences.
Get your tree pruning questions answered without even leaving the house
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Many tree owners are apprehensive about the pruning process, but pruning is an important practice to improve structure, safety, aesthetic value, and ultimately extend the life of a tree. A well-pruned tree can be worth thousands of dollars in the landscape.
A virtual clinic on Facebook will help owners make informed decisions and exactly what limbs to prune.

Boxwoods want intermediate sun or shade. In full shade, they may not be as vigorous and have a looser shape. In full sun, they may scorch in our hot summers or bronze in the wintertime.

Do not prune until after the chance of frost has past unless you are trying to control previous year's pest issues.

Boxwood have shallow roots, so instead of planting ground covers or annuals around them, mulch.

Boxwoods will not do well if planted in soggy soil, or exposed to dry winter winds.

If you are a planner, you have most likely jotted down the dishes that you plan to cook and present to your family on Thanksgiving Day. Perhaps you are sticking with traditional favorites or trying something new to shake things up.

 

EUREKA, Ill. – At the Eureka Public Library Woodford County Master Gardener information booth, there has been lots of talk about rejuvenating old dilapidated apple orchards and buzzwords such as Emerald Ash borer.

Even though the Illinois Department of Agriculture detected Emerald Ash borer in Chenoa in 2008 and Woodford County was part of the state of Illinois' Emerald Ash Borer Quarantine, residents are now starting to see damage from the insect infestation.