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Rhonda Ferree's ILRiverHort

Rhonda Ferree's Horticulture Blog
PrairieFire crabapple on 4-3-12
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Edible Landscapes

We can grow edible plants in many ways beyond the traditional row-type vegetable garden. Many food plants are beautiful and work well integrated into the landscape. By combining fruit and nut trees, vegetables, herbs, edible flowers or berry bushes in aesthetically pleasing ways, edible landscapes can be just as attractive as ornamental ones. In addition to providing flavorful and nutri...

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JP CDL 8-27-11 Bridal bouquet
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The Meaning of Flowers

Valentine's Day is just around the corner. Do you have flowers ordered for your loved one? Flowers are a great way to communicate your love and affection. Over the years, flowers have developed meaning and are known as a way to convey a special message. Flowers can represent everything from friendship to true love. Chrysanthemums show friendship. Gardenias represent secret love. Lilies...

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IMG 0988
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Just What Is Flax?

I have been enjoying trying new foods using recipes that often call for ingredients I'm not familiar with. Last week I learned that quinoa is a grain-like seed with high protein value. Now, let's take a closer look at flax. Flax is thought to be native to the Mediterranean region of Europe. Early uses utilized the plant's fiber to make linen cloth. Linen cloth was found in Egyptian tomb...

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Connecting Greenery Uses Technology to Connect with Nature

Eight trends are featured in this year's 2016 Garden Media Group garden trend report. I'll write about each trend sometime this year. The 2016 trend report is titled Syncing with Nature . I agree with the report's findings that people are connecting with Mother Nature in natural ways as well as in a connected state using technology. I use technology every time...

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Botany Resources for Gardeners

I am preparing to teach Master Gardeners trainees all about botany and found these useful resources. Peruse them and see how fun botany can be! Websites: Colorado State University Master Gardener Training Online (free) Scroll down to see specific lessons...

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Illinois Audubon Society birding adventure
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Birding to use binoculars

Each winter our garden pond attracts many different types of birds. We keep a small area of open water in the pond, which the birds love. The past couple of weeks we have been inundated by robins. We also commonly see Eastern bluebirds, cedar waxwings, finches, and various sparrows each winter. Occasionally a coopers hawk swoops down to eat frogs. Although some birds stay year...

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Bee on purple cone flower
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Bee-nificial Bees!

Beekeeping is an increasingly popular backyard hobby. It also fits the growing trend to protect pollinators, which are so important to our food supply. There are many different types of bees. Bumble bees are the only truly social bees native to the United States. They are important pollinators and according to a University of Minnesota entomology website, are used commercially to pollin...

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