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Rhonda Ferree's Horticulture Blog
ameren bees

Don't Panic over Honey Bee Swarms

Ameren Illinois workers found a hive a nearly 1,000 honeybees during a recent substation inspection in Pekin. Thanks to the work of their employee, also an avid beekeeper, the hive and bees were safely removed and relocated. A picture is shown on their Facebook page at . Bee swarm and hive discoveries...

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Bur oak leaves
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Spoon River Drive in OAKtober

Every year I do a Spoon River Drive article highlighting natural items for you to look for while on the drive. In honor of OAKtober, this year's spotlight is oaks. According to the Morton Arboretum, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed a proclamation designating October 2015, "Oak Awareness Month." With support from 42 partners across Illinois, including forest preserve districts, comm...

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propagating holiday cactus with leaf cuttings

Clone Your Plants

Do you have an annual flower in your garden this year that you especially like and definitely want to use again next summer? You might be able to clone it using vegetative propagation methods. I have a coleus plant that I particularly like in my patio containers. Each fall I take a few cuttings from the plants and grow them in my kitchen windowsill for use next spring. If you ar...

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A tall row of elephant ears grow against the front of Becky Poindexter's home at 1028 E Chestnut, winner of the September 2011 Bright Spot award.
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Giant Elephant Ears Accent the Garden

I love the tropical feel of big leaved plants around my pool. This year I planted four different types of elephant ears in addition to nine large banana plants. Elephant ears make a statement in the garden with their larger than life leaves. In my garden, they are at one end of my pool in front of a picket fence, which is the direct line of sight from our main sitting area....

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Musk thistle
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Fall Tips for Controlling Weeds in Lawns and Gardens

F all is a good time to think about weed control in your lawn and garden. In fact, fall is actually the best time to control some difficult weeds. Many yards and gardens this spring had winter annual weeds such as henbit, deadnettle, and common chickweed. Winter annuals germinate from seed in the fall and spent the winter as seedlings. If you had a problem with winter annuals t...

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This compost is almost ready - at GoodEarth in Peoria
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Composting: Like Making Lasagna

Do you compost? Composting is the ancient art of mixing by-products from your yard with water, air, and time. What better way to dispose of leaves in the fall, grass clippings throughout the summer, and kitchen vegetable scraps than to turn them into compost? Composting is fun and simple. Simply take by-products from your yard, and layer them thinly and uniformly; the same way lasagna i...

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Lightning Bugs on the Decline

I hear a news report about the decline of the monarch butterfly almost every day, but there are other insects in decline as well. One that is a favorite of all ages is the lightning bug, which some folks also call a firefly. As a kid I remember catching lightning bugs on warm, summer nights. We put them in empty canning jars or pickle jars, poked holes in the lids, and watched the bugs...

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