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Rhonda Ferree's ILRiverHort

Rhonda Ferree's Horticulture Blog
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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) http://www.cmg.colostate.edu/gardennotes.shtml Scroll down to see specific lessons...

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Illinois Audubon Society birding adventure
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Birding Equipment...how 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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Norfolk Island Pine
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January Garden Tasks

Believe it or not, there are actually a lot of gardening tasks you can do in January. Here are some to consider. For those of you who received poinsettias or other flowering holiday plants, be sure that they are near a bright window and water as the top of soil becomes dry. Most holiday plants will last many years with proper care. The most obvious January gardening activity is...

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Rhonda's 2015 Horticulture Year in Review

Posted by Rhonda J. Ferree -

University of Illinois Extension horticulture programs inspire citizens in local communities to grow their own food and improve their home landscapes. Here are a few examples of how our programs impacted the residents of Fulton, Mason, Peoria, and Tazewell counties in 2015. We achieved media success using print, radio, television, and social media outlets to reach a broader and more div...

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Community Gardening Toolkit

If you are planning a community garden, this toolkit from the University of Missouri will be a big help. http://web.extension.illinois.edu/fmpt/downloads/45968.pdf...

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Bark of the Day Featured on ILRiverHort

My January Plants of the Day will all be of tree bark, which is more visible and often times even more beautiful in the winter. These will post daily in the 6 pm hour on my ILRiverHort Facebook and ILRiverHort Twitter Pages. Enjoy!...

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Illinois Farm to School Network

Farm to School is more than a program – it is a people-powered movement that seeks to teach students where food comes from and how delicious it can taste when eaten in season. There are three basic elements to farm to school: Local food procurement School gardens Food and nutrition education (including farm field trips) A farm to school program can...

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redtwig dogwood in winter
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Trees in Winter

Each season brings a different look to the garden. I enjoy each one, but I must say that plants are uniquely beautiful in winter. Now is a great time to see a plant's texture and form - each unique and mystical. Look for the differences between these trees this winter: oak, maple, and redbud. Oaks are the kings of the forest. They soar well above the maples and smaller redbuds. Oaks are...

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Farmers Markets

Visit the University of Illinois Extension Local Food Systems and Small Farms website for Farmers Market resources at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/smallfarm/farmersmarket.html...

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