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Chicago Urban Gardening

The day to day experiences of a University of Illinois Extension Urban Horticulture Educator in Chicago, Illinois
Soil

Life in the Soil: A Guide for Naturalists and Gardeners

Posted by Ron Wolford -

James B. Nardi, a University of Illinois biologist has written a book, Life in the Soil: A Guide for Naturalists and Gardeners that introduces you to all the creatures that live in our soil. Lavishly illustrated with nearly three hundred color illustrations and masterfully-rendered black and white drawings throughout, Life in the Soil invites naturalists and g...

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Bird Winter

Not Just Birds Go After Bird Seed

Posted by Ron Wolford -

When you try to provide food for the birds, the rest of nature considers itself invited to the feast that you have provided. Here are some suggestions for reducing problems from squirrels, mice and other creatures that can be a problem to people feeding birds. Probably the biggest problem that you are likely to face when trying to feed the birds is squirrels trying to take the...

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sweet potato

Difference Between a Sweet Potato and a Yam

Posted by Ron Wolford -

One of the questions that I frequently get during the holidays is "What is the difference between a...

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Ice Storm

Ice Storm Damage: What to Do

Posted by Ron Wolford -

One cannot appreciate the damage ice causes to trees until they've experienced a heavy ice storm. Normally major ice storms do not occur on a regular basis. According to the Chicago Tribune this four day stretch of frozen precipitation hasn't occurred in the Chicago Metro region since 1924. If our warmer winters continue, ice storms may be a more common occurrence in Chicagoland....

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Poinsettia

Poinsettia Cut Flowers

Posted by Ron Wolford -

While poinsettias are tough tropical plants, occasionally stems break off or bend during transport or when accidentally bumped. If caught soon enough, you can use those bloom stems for decorations. Poinsettias are members of the Euphorbia family, characterized by milky sap in the stems. To use the flowers in arrangements, it's important that the stems are sealed. Whether you ac...

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amaryllis

Amaryllis: A Holiday Favorite

Posted by Ron Wolford -

Popular during the holiday season, the spectacular amaryllis can be enjoyed throughout the winter, said a University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator. "The amaryllis has a single flower stalk with four-inch blooms at the top," said David Robson. "The blooms resemble lily flowers and come in an array of colors from red to pink, coral, and white. The foliage is bright...

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Christmas Cactus

Thanksgiving Cactus, Christmas Cactus, Easter Cactus: What's the Difference?

Posted by Ron Wolford -

Around the holidays, we often see blooming plants that are members of the cactus family. The Thanksgiving cactus ( Schlumbergera truncata ), the Christmas cactus ( Schlumbergera bridgesii ), and the Easter cactus ( Rhipsalidopsis gaetneri ) all look alike. The Schlumbergera species are...

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