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Rhonda Ferree's ILRiverHort

Rhonda Ferree's Horticulture Blog
Sunflower
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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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Sugar cane in Dominican Republic
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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...

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Holiday Cactus
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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...

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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...

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