Signup to receive email updates




or follow our RSS feed

follow our RSS feed

Blog Banner

Rhonda Ferree's ILRiverHort

Rhonda Ferree's Horticulture Blog
June 2013 BRIGHT SPOT at neighboring homes of Gerald and Bonnie Fidler and Jim and Brenda McKee. See at 1321 E Chestnut and 1313 E Chestnut.

New Year's Day Rose Parades of the Past

As most of my readers know, one of my favorite activities of the year is watching the New Year's Day Rose Parade. Every year I am amazed by the amount of work that goes into creating the floats using only natural materials. I've been writing about various plants in the rose parade floats since 2002, and this year I'm pulling some of my favorite excerpts from those articles. My first art...

Read More >

African violet
click image to view 3 more

YouTube Videos Show How to Care for Houseplants

Houseplants add life and beauty to a home. My new YouTube videos provide simple tips on houseplant care. After watching these short videos, even those with "brown garden thumbs" will know how to have healthy houseplants throughout their home. Over watering house plants is very common. Watering Houseplants teaches you how to know when to water and how much to water your...

Read More >

Fulton/Mason County Master Gardener Greenery Workshop
click image to view 5 more

Holiday Cones

Each year the Fulton and Mason County Master Gardeners hold a greenery workshop during their last meeting of the year. Attendees bring greenery and other decorations to use in their arrangements. I brought boughs of pine, cedar, and bayberry and pinecones, ribbon, and lights for decorations. This year I was fortunate to have my sister Lynn Miller and Mom Doris Simmons join me. They brought heml...

Read More >

Rhonda Ferree pulls sugarcane through a press in Costa Rica.
click image to view 2 more

Sugar-n-Spice and Everything Nice

Sugar and spice make everything nice, especially Christmas cookies. But, do you know where your sugar and spice come from? The sugar we use comes from two different plants: sugar beets or sugarcane. Worldwide, 70 percent of our sugar comes from sugarcane. Sugarcane is a tall grass that grows in tropical areas. In a tropical setting like Hawaii and Jamaica, it grows in fields and looks s...

Read More >

Sunflower
click image to view 3 more

Grow Your Own Birdseed

Feeding and watching birds has become one of America's favorite pastimes. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, nearly half the households in the United States provide food for wild birds. The most commonly used birdseed are sunflower seeds, with black-oil sunflower seeds being the most popular. It's small size and thin shell make it easier for small birds to eat. Striped sunflow...

Read More >

2018 Garden Calendar

2018 Garden Calendar Available

My 2018 Garden Calendar is now available. It provides garden tips, a calendar of events, and a picture each month spotlighting University of Illinois Extension volunteers and programs. New this year are hyperlinks to information on various topics in the monthly tips. Just click on the underlined-blue links while viewing the electronic copy and it will take you to the connecting ILRiverH...

Read More >

Source:  University of Illinois Extension

Poinsettias

The poinsettia is the traditional Christmas flower. It was introduced to the United States in 1825 by Joel Robert Poinsett, first U. S. ambassador to Mexico who obtained plants from the wilds of southern Mexico. The colorful parts of the poinsettia are actually modified leaves called bracts. The real poinsettia flower is the small yellow "ball" in the middle of the colored bracts. The r...

Read More >

Frankincense and Myrrh

Just what are frankincense and myrrh? Certainly, they are part of many Christmas stories, but do you know what those products are and why they were so valuable? Here is more information on both of these plant-based products. Frankincense and myrrh are both resins -- dried tree sap -- that come from trees of the genus Boswellia (frankincense) and Commiphora (myrrh), whi...

Read More >

Sugar cane in Dominican Republic
click image to view 2 more

Sugar – is it sugarcane or sugar beets?

Do you know where the sugar you used to bake your Christmas cookies comes from? Sugar is available in many different forms. The sugar we use comes from two different plants: sugar beets or sugarcane. Worldwide, 70 percent of our sugar comes from sugarcane. Sugarcane is a tall grass that grows in tropical areas. In tropical setting like Hawaii and Jamaica it grows in fields and looks sim...

Read More >

Holiday Cactus
click image to view 2 more

Holiday Cactus

Which type of holiday cactus do you have? There are many different types of cacti that bloom between Thanksgiving and Easter. Each is appropriately named by the holiday it blooms near. The differences between these plants are found in the leaf edges. Christmas cacti have scalloped edges while Thanksgiving and Easter cacti have pointed edges. The Thanksgiving cactus is most common, proba...

Read More >

Rosemary

Give Rosemary as a Sign of Love and Remembrance

Rosemary is a wonderful herb. It not only looks and smells great but makes a great addition to many culinary dishes. Rosemary is often found at Christmas time in wreaths and topiaries. If you follow the meaning of flowers, rosemary signifies love and remembrance, making it a great holiday gift. Rosmarinus officinalis is a tender perennial plant that is native to the coo...

Read More >

English walnut trees in California.
click image to view 2 more

Nutty for Nuts

I remember mom having nuts in the shell on the coffee table during the holidays. Although I didn't eat many nuts at that time, I liked using the little tools to crack open the nut and dig out its sweet inner meat. Let's look at the plants that give us these delicious morsels. There are two types of walnuts: Black and English. In the shell nut mixes feature English walnuts ( Juglans r...

Read More >