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Rhonda Ferree's ILRiverHort

Rhonda Ferree's Horticulture Blog

Rhonda Ferree's 2017 Horticulture Program

I invite you to check out my video that details my vision for my University of Illinois Extension, Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell Unit horticulture program. My 2017 goals are to continue building on the successful program, support our current volunteers, and introduce new innovative ways to reach new audiences. This short eight-minute video was created with the help of Anita Wilkinson, Communication...

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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

Asters and Mums

Fall provides us with brilliant colors: orange pumpkins, yellow mums, purple asters, and bronze autumn joy sedums. The fall flower garden has a lot to offer and brings a change in flower color. Notice how the fall flowers offer deeper orange and burgundy instead of bright red and yellow. Most people think of mums as the main fall flowering plant. Mums are important, but don't rule out a...

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Blue ceramic pots planted with a green spike for height and orange calibrachoa for the container%u2019s fillers and spillers.

Prepare Now for Spring Gardening

Last weekend I walked around my gardens with a journal and took notes. I jotted down what worked and what didn't and began preliminary plans for next year. This really helps me, since I tend to forget these things over the winter. My notes this fall tell me to definitely plant a Mandeville in the blue pot by the pool, but to begin training it sooner to grow over the deck. I will continu...

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Ferree YouTube

Ferree Provides Garden Tip Videos

I am now producing videos on a wide variety of gardening topics and more. Videos are the latest social media trend, with predictions that 74% of all internet traffic in 2017 will be video. My plan is to produce short, informational videos covering everything from pruning to herbs to houseplants and much more. My first video shows how mums add color to the fall landscape....

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herbs drying

Dry herbs for winter use

I recently harvested herbs from my garden. They are drying in my kitchen so that I will remember to use them regularly. I add them to my evening tea or as added flavor to our meals. Here are some of my favorites. Lemon balm is true to its name. This plant has a very strong lemon scent and provides a nice subtle lemon flavor. My plant grew about two foot tall this year. Since this is a tender p...

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Holiday Cactus
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Prepare Now for Christmas Blooms

Although Christmas is still a couple of months away, it is time to begin preparing some of them to flower during the holiday season. This typically involves changing their environment in some way to force them into bloom. Poinsettias initiate flowers through a process called photoperiodism, which is the plant response to light levels. The colorful part we see are actually modified leave...

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Fall Bulb Planting

Start next year's flower display this fall. Now is the time to set out the spring flowering bulbs. It seems like a lot of work now, but after the long winter, you will enjoy those blooms. In addition to the standards such as tulips and daffodils, try some of the other small flowering bulbs. For example, anemones, snowdrops, and winter aconite all bloom very early and have extraordinarily beauti...

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Source: Phil Nixon in Home, Yard, & garden Newsletter, Issue 17

Boxelder Bugs

Boxelder bugs are common almost every year, but can be particularly prevalent in hot, dry years. Boxelder bugs are 1/2-inch long dark brown or black insects with conspicuous red markings on their wings. Boxelder bugs have two generations per year. The first generations adult stage is in late June to early July and the second generation matures to adults in early fall ar...

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Banana tree with Cardinal climber on 7-13-12

Go Tropical with Ornamental Bananas

For many years I've been growing banana plants around my pool to give it a tropical feel in the summer. By autumn they have large stems with four- to five-foot-long leaves that sour to heights over ten feet tall. Bananas are grown here for their ornamental value. Although some might bloom, we don't have a long enough growing season for fruit to develop and ripen. Ornamental bananas come...

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Arrangement made with fresh, dried, and recycled decorations.  Both are examples of quick and easy arrangements made at the coming Design on a Pine workshop.

Fall decorations from the garden by Martha Smith

Many of the plants in the autumn garden can be used to make decorations, said Martha Smith, a University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator. Making them can be fun for the whole family. "Autumn brings its own personality," she said. "Plant colors change in response to shorter days and cooler temperatures." "Flowers can be collected and dried or preserved. Seed pods...

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Sorghum field in Delaware. Photo by Dot Abott-Donnelly, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Sorghum Syrup and More

I remember going on the Spoon River Drive each fall with my Grandma and Grandpa Simmons. I loved visiting the old school house in London Mills and eating ham-n-beans scooped from a large cast-iron pot. Each year my Grandpa purchased his annual supply of sorghum syrup. Sorghum is a group of plants in the grass family that includes crops, ornamentals, and weeds. As a crop, sorghum ( So...

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marmorated stink bug

Why the Big Stink Over This Little Bug- The Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

New Release by Kelly Estes, Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey Coordinator for Illinois It is not uncommon to find stink bugs during the summer near tree fruits such as apples or peaches or in the garden. During the fall months, stink bugs are looking for places to hide in order to survive the winter. The Brown Marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is an invasive pest that has been detected i...

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