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Ferree's Horticulture Blog
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Do You Pinterest?

Pinterest is a rapidly growing social media site where you can get great ideas on many topics. Basically Pinterest is a digital bulletin board. You create board for various topics and then "pin" links and pictures you like onto that board. Personally I use Pinterest as a recipe saver. I also have boards for great garden ideas, everything tea, nature books, and more! My professi...

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Champion Cherrybark oak (Quercus pagodaefolia). Heron Pond in Southern Illinois
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Garden Trend 12 – TREE-mendous

Our last gardening trend of 2014 is TREE-mendous! A 2012 US Forest Service research study found that urban tree cover has been declining at a rate of about 20,000 acres per year or about 4 million trees per year. This greatly impacts the numerous benefits trees provide related to air and water quality, air temperatures, energy use, social well-being, and human health. Let's look at a few benef...

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JP CDL 12-12-09 Poinsettias numbered for judging at U of I  s Winter Wonderland Poinsettia Open House
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Poinsettia History

Many plants are holiday symbols, but few say Christmas as well as the poinsettia. Did you ever wonder why this came to be? If you've done much traveling, you've probably noticed that poinsettias grow naturally as large shrubs in tropical locations. The history of how this tropical plant came to the US and became a holiday symbol is quite interesting. The plant's common name came from J...

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IMG 1886 - Copy  ferreer@illinois edu

Christmas tree know-how: Choosing the best variety

News source/writer: Ron Wolford, 773-233-2900...

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Hawthorn Trees

I was recently asked to identify a hawthorn tree growing on the Bradley campus in Peoria. Hawthorns are among the groups of small trees that are noted for their wintertime berries. Washington hawthorn ( Crataegus phaenopyrum ) is a hawthorn for all seasons. The flowers, foliage, winter berries, and dense growth all make it an attention getting tree. The Washington hawtho...

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Just What Is Quinoa?

I have been enjoying trying new foods, especially those I prepare from scratch myself. Recently I made homemade granola and several types of bread. Recipes called for ingredients that I wasn't familiar with: quinoa, flax seed, wheat germ, and wheat bran. That, of course, made my plant geek mind want to know more about the plants that produce them. For the next few weeks I'll share what I learned w...

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Gifts for the Gardener

Every year I try to provide ideas for those of you who are searching for the "perfect" gift for a gardener in your family. This year I'm highlighting some new gardening books that I recently read. Entomologist Doug Tallamy has two books that have changed the way I think of gardening and landscapes in general. "Bringing Nature Home" in many ways is a plea for using natives in the landsca...

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