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Native plants

humming bird feeding from zinnias

Adding more blooms to your garden invites more birds

By Jeff and Nancy Staecker, Extension Master Naturalists serving Fulton, Mason, Peoria and Tazewell counties Over the last 20 years we’ve lost billions of birds – birds that are both beautiful and play critical roles in the environment… such as eating pests. We do not know all the complex...
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The Beautiful Beautyberry

Written by Rhonda Ferree, retired horticulture educator Recently, I've had several people send me pictures asking, "What is this beautiful plant with purple berries?" My answer each time was beautyberry. The beautyberry (Callicarpa sp.) has show-stopping purple fruit in the fall. In fact...
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Aronia Berry

Written by Rhonda Ferree, retired horticulture educator I recently planted several black aronia along a new fence in my backyard. Also called chokeberry, aronia are becoming more and more popular, especially among small fruit growers. There are several reasons why I selected the black...
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Mosses…Friend or Foe

Written by Rhonda Ferree, retired horticulture educator If you look at ferns, mosses, lichens, and club moss closely, they look like something right out of a fairytale. In fact, these non-flowering plants do have their very own kingdom in the plant world. Instead of reproducing by flowers...
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