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Rhonda Ferree's ILRiverHort

Rhonda Ferree's Horticulture Blog

Fall Lawn Care

The summer of 2013 has been much better for lawn care than last year considering the amount of rainfall this spring and milder, daily temperatures, said a University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator. "The lawns have had a good year to recover, and lawns are looking so much better, yet there will always be some areas in the lawn that could be improved," Richard Hentschel...

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This beautiful display of fall blooming chrysanthemums at the home of Ron and Joan Bankes, 826 Taylor Ct. in Canton is the October 2010 recipient of the
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Fall Garden Tips

Fall is a fun, exciting, and busy time for gardeners. Many gardening activities are done now. Think of fall as the start of next year's growing season, not the end of this gardening year. Mums (chrysanthemums to some) are a very popular fall flowering plant. They have been described as "the last smile of the departing year" because it takes a pretty good frost to discou...

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Sassafras leaves

Fall Color on Spoon River Drive

People go on the Spoon River Drive for many reasons, but fall foliage is enjoyed by all. The Farmers Almanac predicts peak fall color for central Illinois from around October 9 to 24. Due to last summer's drought and our dry late summer leaves are changing color earlier than usual. However, color intensity is always dependent on whether or not we get warm days and cool nights. While enjoying th...

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Karl Forester Miscanthus grass

Hardy Pampas Grass

After 25 years of being a horticulture educator with University of Illinois Extension the towering pampas grasses still amaze me each fall. What energy and power that plant must have to grow over 12 feet tall each summer, just to die back in the fall and start over again the next year. Also called plume grass, hardy pampas grass (Erianthus ravennae) is hardy in zones 5-...

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German Chamomile in bloom.
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Herbal Teas in the Garden Provide a Charming Respite

Tea is very important to my family since my Grandma Kinsel emigrated here from South Wales. Over the years, I've found that teas are much more than just a beverage. Sitting down to a cup of tea is a great way to lift us out of the hurrying present, even if just for a little while. Teas have been used for millennia to help with relaxation and nourishment. As a horticulturist I can't spea...

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Freshen Up Houseplants Now

Houseplants are an important feature in my house year round, but are especially important to me in the winter. I find that fall is a great time to spend some time to spruce them up a bit and give them new life. If you haven't brought your houseplants indoors for the winter yet, do that soon. First, check to see if the plant has any insect or disease problems. Over the years I've...

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Aster
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Fall wildflowers create interest

University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator Nancy Pollard recently wrote a news release on fall wildflowers. I've highlighted my favorites below. The entire release is found here http://web.extension.illinois.edu/state/newsdetail.cfm?NewsID=29630 . Goldenrod ( Solidago sp.)thrives in sun to...

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Mason County Junior Master Gardener 4-H club co-leaders Randy Bell and Glenn Fanter sow a cover crop to improve garden soil in the kids garden located at the Mason County 4-H and Jr. Show Fairgrounds. Photo by Paula Lane, Office Support Assistant

Cover Crops Trialed by Junior Master Gardeners

The sands of Mason County do not always contain necessary nutrients needed for good garden growth. To fix this problem, Mason County Junior Master Gardeners (JMG) are trying cover crops in their gardens located at the Mason County fairgrounds. Cover crops are plants grown in a garden to improve a soil's structure and fertility. They are a living mulch that competes with weeds, helps wi...

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