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Rhonda Ferree's ILRiverHort

Rhonda Ferree's Horticulture Blog
tomato grown in a container
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Alternative Vegetable Gardens

Most people grow vegetables in traditional gardens in rows. Large gardens can seem overwhelming, especially during the heat of summer or after a vacation. If you don't have space for that or just want to try something different, here are some others options to try. A larger garden is needed for certain crops such as sweet corn. Still, you do not have to plant the garden in a traditional...

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Hummingbird moth on honeysuckle vine on May 7, 2012
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A Tale of Two Honeysuckle Vines

Vines add vertical beauty to a garden. Fast growing honeysuckle vines are easy to grow. Their intoxicatingly wonderful floral fragrance attracts hummingbirds, bees, and hummingbird moths. The story of these two honeysuckle vines is a lesson in using native plants. The Japanese honeysuckle ( Lonicera japonica ) was brought here from East Asia because of its fragrant and beautiful...

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Dutchmans breeches and squirrel corn

Early Spring Wildflowers

I love exploring woods in the spring looking for wildflowers. They bring such joy after such a long winter. Here are a few of my favorite early spring wildflowers. One of the first woodland flowers to bloom is bloodroot ( Sanguinaria canadensis ). Bloodroot has a solitary white flower, with a golden-orange center that grows beside a lobed leaf. Roots and stems have a red-orange j...

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cut flower arrangement

Preserving Flowers

As you plan your summer gardens, consider adding flowers you can preserve or use in arrangements. The pleasure of growing flowers in a garden is only a portion of gardening enjoyment. Flowers and foliage that is gathered from the garden and preserved or arranged can reward you in many other ways. Cutting gardens include flowers that cut well and are long-lasting. Sturdy stems and long-l...

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tree planting

Energy Efficiency and Trees by Duane Friend

Energy costs have hit everyone hard! Certainly, there are many tips for conserving energy costs from programmable thermostats to lighting tips. One big influence on home energy costs is the home landscape. External air temperature, solar radiation, wind movement, and humidity influence your home. Proper use and placement of plants and structures can help modify these factors and thus re...

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Preen Natural Vegetable Garden Weed Preventer is made with 100 percent corn gluten.

Organic weed control: Corn meal gluten

Recent social media posts suggest using household cornmeal to control garden weeds. Looks simple enough, but does it work? Cornmeal is simply ground corn that we use in cooking. It is an essential ingredient in cornbread and corn muffins. Although it might add some nutrients when sprinkled on the garden, it likely does not have any effect on weeds. Corn gluten meal (CGM), on the...

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Post Beetles

Winter's Impact on Insects and Plants

Unfortunately, the winter has taken a toll on many plants. Evergreens are especially impacted, many showing significant winter desiccation or even death. The severe cold winter compounded plant stresses already inflicted by recent severe droughts and other weather extremes. Not only did trees likely not have enough internal reserves going into winter, but they were also not able to take up more...

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