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Yellow, orange, white and pink flowers

Extend the vase life of your fresh flowers with a little care

The delicate act of arranging fresh flowers is a joyful art. Each bloom and sprig of foliage receives special consideration when creating an arrangement as beautiful and unique as the recipient. Local florists are already hastily preparing arrangements for the upcoming Valentine’s Day rush. Aside...
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Two photos side-by-side: Left, little bluestem in fall; right, purple and yellow violas

Garden worthy 'Plants of the Year'

With over 400,000 species of plants in the world, one might wonder which ones are the best to grow in your garden or landscape. Many plant associations select a “Plant of the Year” using rigorous criteria to highlight plants they feel are deserving of the title. Consider these plants when planning...
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A young girl sits in grass with a pile of harvested vegetables

Garden with your kids this summer

Cultivating a love and knowledge of gardening in youth can be a rewarding experience for all. A garden offers a place to learn, play, and grow through hands-on experience in the freedom of their own backyard. Kids LOVE to dig in the soil and get their hands & feet (or even head to toes!) dirty...
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Chinese Evergreen

Favorite houseplants of a horticulturist

Growing plants indoors can add a soft green touch, create a focal piece, or incorporate nature inside, transforming any room. Houseplants vary greatly in color, texture, size, and shape—there is a plant perfect for any spot. Research has also shown plants to improve air quality, lower stress levels...
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pollinator on oregano flower

2022 gardening trends and emotional resilience

With a new year comes new gardening trends we can all get excited about. Each year, predictions are made about types of plants, colors, containers and how we utilize them. Experts use last year’s gardening purchases to make these predictions. Yet, in a world full of constant stress, this gardening...
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bush bean seeds in hand

Order your seed catalogs now; plan better for next year

Here we are, knee-deep in the holidays, and our gardens have finally been tucked in for the long winter nap. It’s a time of year many growers look forward to, a time to finally put up their aching feet, assess how the growing season went, reflect on successes, failures and what to do better next...
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Stacked pumpkins in front of a hay bale

Choose local foods this Thanksgiving

Celebrating the year’s crops with a Thanksgiving feast has been a tradition for over 400 years. Likely in 1621, individuals fed their families and communities by growing vegetables in the field. This past summer, Illinois residents went to farmer's markets despite pandemic conditions as America...
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Bright red leaves of a burning bush shrub

What you should know about Burning Bush

The glow of the intense bright red color, corky ridges on the branches, and bright orange or red berries  of your neighborhood burning bushes may entice you, but remember planting and growing them will lead to further degradation of the Illinois wildscape. The ornamental berries of this common...
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Make fall garden clean-up fun for the kids!

It will soon be time to put our gardens to bed for the year. Fall is a perfect time to get the kids out in the garden, with the cool temperatures and changing of the season. Have them help you with some garden chores combined with fun activities, engagement with nature, and even learning too! ...
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Put your garden to bed with fall/winter cover crops!

Like it or not, fall and winter will be here before we know it! During the off-season, too many gardeners leave their vegetable or flower gardens bare over winter. This can cause major problems for the following growing season, especially an invasion of winter weeds and erosion of high-quality...
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Fall garden with pumpkins

Give your front porch containers a fall makeover

Are you ready to toss in the towel on your overgrown, drab-looking container gardens for the year? Unfortunately, our gorgeous summer containers are now fading due to the stress of the summer heat, possible insects or diseases, and the changing temperatures and sunlight in fall. Don’t give up! Now...
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Chive flowers

Edible flowers can add unique color and spice to your dish

Growing up, a summer meal at grandma and grandpa’s house wasn’t complete without a giant, juicy tomato and fried squash blossoms. Squash blossoms are one example of edible flowers that are already growing in our gardens and just waiting for us to enjoy. Edible flowers can be added as the main...
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Leaves and frost damage

Help stressed trees by watering during heat of summer

Some trees may be showing damage from the late frost much of Illinois had in May for several months to come as well as diseases that pop up during the rainy, cool spring weather. Watering during the hot dry months of summer will help these trees back to being a beautiful specimen. Frost stress in...
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How do you bring an office plant back to life?

  When people walked out of their workplaces last March, most did not think it would take a year to come back.   While working from home, I missed my office. It housed my collection of horticulture books, notes from all my past programs, and my well-tended houseplant jungle. It also played...
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brilliant red-orange oriental poppy pixabay

Divide and Conquer in Fall

If you have a vigorous perennial that has been in the garden bed for more than a few years, or it is starting to choke out some other plants and no longer looking healthy, then it may be time to divide. Plants that need to be divided cannot support healthy foliage and flowers. Some perennials like...
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zz plant thrives indoors

ZZ Plant is a Tropical that Thrives Indoors

Originally published by Kelly Allsup on April 16, 2020. Most homes have insufficient light, inconsistent temperatures and tap water containing fluoride — all of which make it nearly impossible have lush foliage during the winter months. However, most tropical houseplants can be sustained...
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Aralia cordata 'Sun King' Photo credit Janet Draper

The 2020 Perennial Plant of the Year with Martha Smith

The Perennial Plant Association is proud to announce the 2020 Perennial Plant of the Year®! Aralia ‘Sun King’ is a fabulous high-impact perennial that brings a bold pop of glowing color and texture to the shade or part shade garden. It's a secret that just Perennial Plant Association (PPA) members...
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Bronze leaves of Tree of Heaven

Not All Trees Are Good Trees

In the world of landscaping, trees are the backbones of the landscape. They are permanent structures that have stately features, shade our homes, provide spring floral displays, and some amazing fall color. There are, however, some trees that just behave badly. You’re likely familiar with maples...
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brandywine viburnum

Ornamental Fall Berries Provide Year-Round Awe

Have you ever heard a horticulturists encourage the use of plants having “multiple seasons of interest”? This might be said in response to someone’s complaints about forsythia, for example. Forsythia blooms in spring, an explosion of lemon-yellow blossoms covering the plant. But the rest of the...
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