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The Garden Scoop

The Garden Scoop is a collection of reflections about the Master Gardeners in Champaign, Ford, Iroquois, and Vermilion.
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Planting Milkweed for Monarchs

For many of us, Monarch butterflies conjure cherished memories of childhood. However, this beloved butterfly once so familiar has become more and more absent from our gardens. Scientists believe a lack of habitat along with colder than usual weather patterns has caused their numbers to drop in recent years. Consider this- the monarch is the only butterfly known to migrate like a bird. They can...

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MG MaryJo McDonald and Pat Sollars
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Vermilion County Master Gardener Annual May Plant Sale in Danville

Posted by Jenney Hanrahan -

Everyone likes a sale and gardeners are no exception. The Vermilion County Master Gardeners will hold their annual Plant Sale on Saturday, May 13 at The First Presbyterian Church, 100 North Franklin St. Danville from 7am - 2pm. The event will take place inside the First Presbyterian Gymnasium. As always there will be a wide selection of annuals, perennials, heirloom tomatoes, herbs and...

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Master Gardener Pat Sollars in DACC Greenhouse
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Celebrate Spring with Garden Day Workshop-Keynote Speaker Doug Tallamy

Posted by Jenney Hanrahan -

The landscape is drab and we impatiently await the first tulip. But hang in there, because the University of Illinois Extension Garden Day Workshop and Spring Festival is right around the corner! For over a decade, local gardeners have celebrated the arrival of spring by attending this yearly event. Garden Day features everything plant lovers enjoy: speakers who entertain and educate, a wide va...

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Yellow Forced Tulips

Why I Force Bulbs

Posted by Jenney Hanrahan -

Winter in Illinois is long for gardeners and by late February I start looking outside -desperate for any sign of plant life. Tired of waiting for the first crocus to appear, I have become somewhat addicted to forcing bulbs. It's not difficult and you can enjoy hyacinths, tulips and daffodils from late January thru March. It makes those months significantly less dreary and you will enjoy every p...

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Why Become A Master Gardener?

When I am in the company of Master Gardeners I never cease to be humbled by their versatility and the sheer amount of knowledge and talent they possess. They come from all walks of life and are passionate about all aspects of gardening. Their interests cover everything from flowers and vegetables to herbs, gourds and beekeeping. There are novice and experienced gardeners in the program and all...

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wine making beginners
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Making Fermented Beverages at Home

Posted by Jenney Hanrahan -

One of the more recent trends in gardening is fermentation gardens. The practice of fermenting food and drinks is nothing new. Archeologists tell us humans have been making beer and wine for thousands of years. My Italian grandfather made zinfandel wine every autumn. His wine press sits in my basement. When he was alive I was too young to appreciate his talent. Some day I hope to try and recrea...

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Leaf Cast Garden Day 2016
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Learn to Make a Leaf Cast

By the end of summer the perennials, shrubs and trees in your yard may have produced some Jurassic sized leaves. When you look out the window in January those leaves will be a distant memory. Fortunately, there is a creative way to preserve what nature has created and enjoy it for years to come. Leaf casts make unique and beautiful garden art. They also provide great gifts and also make...

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