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Rhonda Ferree's ILRiverHort

Rhonda Ferree's Horticulture Blog
Garden Trends
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Pet-scaping Your Yard

A walk in the park or a scroll through Facebook quickly show how many people have cats and dogs. The American Pet Products Association estimated that approximately 44% of all households in the United States had a dog, and 35% had a cat in 2015-2016. These pet owners love to watch their furry friends frolic and roll in the lawn. They also cringe when the animals dig up, eat, defecate on, and som...

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Beautiful hydrangeas grace the front yard of Jim and Marcia Forquer, 229 N. 14th Ave., Canton, June 2012 Bright Spot.

Gardening Blues

The color blue is sometimes difficult to use in the garden. This is partly because there are very few true blue flowers in nature and partly because some of the most striking blue-flowered plants are challenging to grow in Central Illinois. Still adding a touch of blue to the garden appears to be gaining in popularity. Rhonda Ferree, extension educator in horticulture, provides the following ti...

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Poison Ivy has leaflets of three while Virginia Creeper has leaflets of 5 or more.

Plants Tied To Our Health and Wellness

The second trend I'm covering from the 2016 Garden Media Group garden trend report is Welltality , which is all about how horticulture is intrinsically tied to health and wellness. I've written many times about the psychological benefits of plants. Because of their simplicity, plants and natural scenes reduce physical and mental excitement and improve our health. They help us heal fast...

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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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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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Shade garden on 7-13-12
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Theme Gardens are Fun!

Theme gardens are really fun and are becoming more and more popular. I've written about various themes in the past, including literary gardens, tea gardens, reunion gardens, evening gardens, and more. Theme garden possibilities are many. They could be based on the seasons, color schemes, your favorite song title, food names, and so on. You could pick out plants that have great winter interest...

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Black-eyed Susan along the Locke's driveway.
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Frac'd Up Garden Trend

A 2014 garden trend as stated by the 2014 Garden Media Group report was called Frac'd Up: A rejection of the neat and tidy. In other words, a messed up garden is okay and maybe even preferable in some cases. I like this trend because I've always liked a really natural and loose landscape style. The Garden Trend report discusses creating gardens in sliced up spaces using explosions of...

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dragonfly with quote
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Do You Pinterest?

Pinterest is a rapidly growing social media site where you can get great ideas on many topics. Basically Pinterest is a digital bulletin board. You create board for various topics and then "pin" links and pictures you like onto that board. Personally I use Pinterest as a recipe saver. I also have boards for great garden ideas, everything tea, nature books, and more! My professi...

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aerogarden

Garden Trend 11 – Fingertip Gardens

Time for our next gardening trend of 2014: Fingertip Gardens. It's all about gardening using high tech with mobile apps and technology. It seems that every day I hear about a new garden-related app for smart phones and tablets. I post many of these on my gardening app Pinterest bulletin board at http://www.pinterest.com/ilriverhort ....

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Pothos (Devil's Ivy)
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Garden Trend 10 – Think Gardens

Time for our next gardening trend of 2014: Think Gardens . This trend is all about how plants make us smarter, more productive and less stressed and is why we need them in our offices, schools, hospitals, and more. Green is the color of peace and serenity and important for our psychological well-being. Plants play a big role in filling that psychological need. M...

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Hops
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Garden Trend 9 – Growing Hops for Beer

Time for our next gardening trend of 2014: Young Men Get Down and Dirty . According to the 2014 Garden Media Group report, men aged 18 -34 are spending $100 more than the average gardener. They are grilling, growing their own hops for beer, and taking the kids out to play in the dirt. All good things! Hops ( Humulus lupulus ) is an herbaceous perennial vi...

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Froggie among the iris on 5-18-12
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White Adds Simple Elegance to a Garden

July brings us our seventh gardening trend for 2014: Simple Elegance: Think one color flower in an elegant container . Many people think of a mono-chromatic color scheme as boring, but it can be quite impressive The Garden Trend report focuses on white as a way to make your garden beds or containers stand out. In the report Kristine Lonergan from GreenPr...

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Master Gardeners help at community gardens

Cultur-vating…connecting food and culture

May brings us our sixth gardening trend for 2014: Cultur-vating. "Taking local to the next level, people are growing the world in their gardens, mixing cultures and embracing what is local to their own region." Growing our own food is more popular than ever. Bringing culture and foods together makes it even more exciting. I first heard about using food to connect people with cul...

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Gardening Tips on YouTube

When you need advice from a gardening expert but a trip to the gardening store isn't convenient, check out the University of Illinois Extension channel on YouTube. Visit www.youtube.com/uiextension for practical advice on a wide variety of gardening topics and more. "Everything from pruning to mulching to specific...

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shade garden on 6-11-12
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Dress up Your Yard

April brings us our fourth gardening trend for 2014: Dress up Your Yard . I often talk about my various outdoor garden rooms. Outdoor spaces are truly an extension of your home. You might have a kitchen for barbeques, a dining room to entertain guests on the patio, a lawn for games, a firepit for socializing, and so on. Outdoor spaces are fashion statements that reflec...

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Drink Your Garden

This month's 2014 garden trend is "Drink Your Garden" Coincidentally I also just bought a new book called The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World's Great Drinks by Amy Stewart. Intrigued? Simply put, there are many different plants that you can grow to make your own delicious drinks. I suggest getting started with something simple (and non-alcoholic) like a smoot...

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Super Foods, Super Models

As promised I'm writing each month about a 2014 garden trend. Trend two from the 2014 Garden Media Group report is "Super Foods, Super Models." Let me try to explain what that is. My interpretation is that the trend is to grow your own highly nutritious food (super foods) using nontraditional methods (super models). The main reasons people state for growing their own food is taste, nut...

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Recycling Food Scraps

This year I plan to write once a month about one of the 12 garden trends from the 2014 Garden Media Group report. The trends are based on many facts and figures. They include technology and smart gardening techniques meant to find balance in the garden. The first garden trend is Ground Up: table to garden to table. According to the natural marketing institute, only 25%...

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Horticulture Social Media Sites

During a program today I was asked for a listing of horticulture social media sites. Here is what I came up with. This features most of our Extension sites, plus a few more. Enjoy! Blogs Current Extension Horticulture Blogs...

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Dr. George F. Czapar, Associate Dean and Director of Extension presents Rhonda Ferree with the Extension Technology Excellence Award

Ferree Wins Technology Excellence Award

Rhonda J. Ferree, University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator, was awarded the University of Illinois Extension Technology Excellence Award at Extension's annual conference in November 2013. The Technology Excellence Award goes to a staff member who has utilized technology as a tool in program delivery and content. During her 25-year Extension career Rhonda has been k...

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Horticulture Educator Rhonda Ferree's avatar

Ferree's ILRiverHort Sites Growing Quickly

Are you a friend of ILRiverHort? Rhonda Ferree, Horticulture Educator with University of Illinois Extension, uses social media sites to provide cutting edge, science-based garden writing to educate and interact with local citizens in a whole new way. Rhonda's Illinois River Valley Extension Horticulture Program Facebook Page began in March 2011. The Page provides up-to-date gar...

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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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Ferree's ILRiverHort avatar

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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Master Naturalist Trainees Explore Smartphone Apps

Our Extension Unit launched the Master Naturalist program this fall by training 20 new volunteers. Training began on August 31st with a session on the Natural Division of Illinois and another on Understand the Natural World. Since then they've explored an arboretum, prairie, and Wildlife Prairie Park. They've learned about snakes and reptiles, mammals and prairies in an up close and personal way....

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