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Rhonda Ferree's ILRiverHort

Rhonda Ferree's Horticulture Blog

New U of I Extension report on spruce problems

In the past several years, spruce in Illinois continue to develop disease and pest problems. University of Illinois Plant Diagnostician and Outreach Specialist Stephanie Porter said that each year, the U of I Plant Clinic diagnoses hundreds of spruce samples with multiple pest and cultural issues. Spruces are generally native to cooler regions and are adapted to cold conditions. They prefer fu...

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University of Illinois Plant Clinic diagnoses plant problems

The University of Illinois Plant Clinic is now open year-round to help solve plant problems. Over the last several years, the clinic has nearly tripled their number of plant investigations. In 2012, most of their plant samples were received from Piatt, Champaign, Effingham, Cook, Livingston, McLean, Clinton, Kankakee, and Vermilion Counties in Illinois. Stephanie Porter, Univer...

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Poinsettia – More than a Potted Plant

The Poinsettia is the traditional Christmas flower. It is beautiful as a potted plant, but can be much more. Poinsettia's can be used as cut flowers and in various holiday crafts. David Robson, Extension Horticulturist with the Springfield Extension Center says that, "While poinsettias are tough tropical plants, occasionally stems break off or bend during transport or are accidentally bumped....

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Light Pollution

Some of my most memorable life moments happen at night when looking at a starry sky. For me those moments happen on camping trips, while boating down the Illinois River, and when canoeing the Canadian boundary waters. They also occur regularly in my own backyard while swimming at night or sitting in one of my favorite gardens. Especially breathtaking and memorable, are the wint...

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Garden Trends

I recently attend a Garden Writers Association symposium in Tucson, Arizona. It included educational sessions, tours, and a garden products information exhibit. Most valuable and interesting to me was the information on garden trends. Here are some of my favorites. Plant breeding is a very long, complicated, expensive process. The current trend is to create plants that...

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High Tech Gifts for the Gardener

Are you searching for the "perfect" gift for a gardener in your family? As Black Friday and Cyber Monday approach, here are some high tech garden gift ideas to consider. My favorite new garden resources are on my Smartphone and iPad. If you have an iPhone or Droid, you probably have access to these garden applications (called apps). Many are less than $5.00 and some are...

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Master Naturalists

Last week we graduated 19 Master Naturalists in our inaugural class. Students came from Fulton, Peoria, and Tazewell counties. Gayle Blodgett represented Fulton County and has great ideas for fulfilling her volunteer hours here. The Master Naturalist (MN) program is new to our Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell University of Illinois Extension Unit. It is modeled after our ex...

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Twitter #gardenchat breaks attendance record

University of Illinois Extension took Twitter by "storm" during hurricane #Sandy on October 29 th . Stephanie Porter, Plant Diagnostic Outreach Specialist at the University of Illinois Plant Clinic, hosted the hour long #gardenchat session that focused on IPM. Joining her were Extension Educators Rhonda Ferree, Richard Hentschel, Kelly Allsup, Candice Miller, and Andre...

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