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Flowers, Fruits, and Frass 2022

Male and female mallard ducks sit on a foggy pond

Notice nature’s calendar using the science of phenology 

Dawn is breaking over a quiet pond.  An early December wind sweeps through rustling Big Bluestem, Bottlebrush Grass, and seedhead ghosts of late-season blooms. A muskrat slowly retreats to a half-built lodge as the morning grows brighter. It is unseasonably cold. All is quiet, until a feint...
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Close up of a red and green poinsetta

Give someone a green holiday season with the gift of plants

If picking the perfect holiday gift stresses you out, this year visit your local garden center for a natural gift that keeps on giving. Gardening and growing plants is an experiential gift that is both rewarding and fun. If you are gifting a plant this season, remember to keep your gift recipient...
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A nest of blue bird eggs

Discover how people are working together to make science better

Children dream of being great things. With imagination and energy, children envision their futures in many professions – some humble, some in the light of fame. As adults, our jobs do not always align with our youth ambitions, but if your childhood dream involved being a scientist, Citizen Science...
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Leaves piled up near a compost bin and a faded white fence

Love the color and benefits of fallen leaves

Stepping outside on a cool fall day, I can recall the childhood joy of fall leaves and singing, “leaves are falling, leaves are falling...” as we watched the autumn scene unfold before us. The colorful fall leaves once hanging from the trees are now a patchwork of various shades and shapes...
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A child holds an small orange tomato close to the camera

Gardeners support the community as they Grow & Give Back

The gardens of Livingston, McLean and Woodford Counties grew with great pride this summer because they were deemed Giving Gardens. In 2021, amid poor economic conditions and stressors of the COVID-19 pandemic, University of Illinois Extension serving Livingston, McLean, and Woodford Counties began...
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Interesting and Brief: A History of Apples & Their Uses

When local orchard branches are laden with delicious jewels of fruit, the apple season has arrived. Before sinking your teeth into this year’s harvest, consider the rich history of this commonplace fruit. When planting America’s roots in the colony of Jamestown... John Smith was pleasantly...
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green-blue oat grass with oats maturing

Let plants do the work, it's time to plant fall cover crops

Illinois vegetable growers are entering the toughest six weeks of the year. Despite the seasonal demands, soil health depends on timely planning of a fall cover crop. A fall cover crop is planted in August, grows in fall, and terminates after several hard frosts in winter. Why plant a fall cover...
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Black and red blackberries ripen on stems in the grass

Visit a forest of food at The Refuge Food Forest

You enjoy fresh fruit and now you want to grow your own. Starting a garden requires plants and some growing knowledge. The problem is, growing your own food is a long-term commitment that can be intimidating. University of Illinios Extension believes growing your own food should be a joy, not a...
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