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Flowers, Fruits, and Frass

Local and statewide information on a variety of current topics for home gardeners and market growers.
Horticulture News

Winter tree protection by Candice Hart

URBANA, Ill. – Winter can be a tough time for trees—especially evergreen trees and shrubs, says University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator Candice Hart. When the ground freezes, evergreens are left to survive on the moisture they have stored up in their leaves, as well as any moisture they are able to take up from the ground when it's not frozen.Since these leaves are still livin...

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Tillandsia Kelly Allsup
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Tags for Holiday Plants

Are you like me and wish for a holiday plant as a gift this year? Gifting holiday plants are nostalgic, unique and very affordable. Some of the most popular are poinsettia, Christmas cactus, cyclamen and mistletoe. However, air plants and succulents can make excellent and trendy holiday gift plants, too. If you are kind enough to give your favorite plant lover one of these holiday treats, print...

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A winter experiment for youth: Forcing paperwhites by Brittnay Haag

A winter experiment for youth: Forcing paperwhites URBANA, Ill. – Even though it is cold outside and snow may be covering our gardens, we can still exercise our little ones' green thumbs. Bring the garden inside this winter with fun activities and experiments! Winter is the perfect time for kids to learn basic plant concepts and develop an interest in the garden."A great family-friendly acti...

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The Legend Mistletoe with Chris Enroth

URBANA, Ill. – Decorating with mistletoe has been a holiday tradition for many centuries in North America and Europe. It begs the question: Why do we have this strange tradition that prompts friends, family, and even enemies to kiss when they meet underneath mistletoe? "Perhaps you have been one of the lucky—or unlucky—few that have found yourself under the mistletoe for a kiss," says U...

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Climate change may confuse plant dormancy cycles

Perennial plants in the Midwest are well attuned to their surroundings. They hunker down all winter in a dormant state, just waiting for a sign that it's safe to unfurl their first tender leaves or flower buds. For many plants, the cue is a sustained warming trend, but day length also factors into the dormancy equation. Day length is governed by our trip around the sun each year – that...

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Perennial Plant of the Year is Allium 'Millenium'

Allium 'Millenium' has been awarded the 2018 perennial plant of the year. I actually just heard about this plant at a pollinator conference in October from Steve Foltz, Director of Horticulture at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, calling it a must have plant for the pollinator garden. The zoo has placed it on their Zoo's Best Perennials for Pollinators list where they promote plants thr...

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Rabbits and Richard

Colder weather, frozen soil, fallen and windblown leaves, and later any accumulated snow, all will force rabbits to take shelter and begin to look for food anywhere they can. Once the ground is frozen, rabbits will have fewer places to take shelter or hide. Foraging for food will mean staying a lot closer to the protection of their winter home. While the weather remains favorable, rabbi...

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bird cover crops

Cover crops provide bed and breakfast layover for migrating birds by Cassandra Wilcoxen

After harvesting a corn or soybean crop, farmers may plant a cover crop for a variety of reasons—to reduce soil erosion and nutrient runoff, increase organic matter in the soil, and improve water quality. Now there's another reason. University of Illinois research shows that migratory birds prefer to rest and refuel in fields with cover crops. "Here in the Midwest, we're in one of the m...

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Start the Holiday season off with Nature inspired crafts in Eureka

Universityof Illinois Extension and Heartline and Heart House are teaming up to celebrate the holiday season by offering a free make and take Holiday Nature Ornament Program. Not only are these type of ornaments trending this holiday season but also they can be very affordable, easy to make and a fun family affair. These small ornaments can adorn any tree small or large to fulfill that great...

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Putting the Pollinator Garden to bed by Karl Hedding

Regardless if you have a pollinator garden or not, that is, for any type of garden, waiting until the spring to cut back plants and cleanup dead plant material provides a hotel for insects to overwinter in and can be a source of seeds for the birds. However, always remove diseased plant material in the fall. Don't compost the diseased material. For example, Bee Balm may have powdery mildew by t...

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Fall Nature Scavenger Hunt for Kids

We read in the news all the time that we are a generation of phones and internet. Any question is answered with a quick tapping of fingertips, amounting to instant gratification. I personally am grateful that I can look up anything anytime because my job requires me to answer a barrage of gardening questions that has been backed up by research. However, my childhood was spent in the pin...

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Karlton Allsup

Turning of seasons, in nature and life

The yellow leaves of the sugar maple, the reddish purple leaves of the ash and the multi-colored leaves of the sweet gum have begun to litter the ground, foreshadowing the end of a season and the celebration of the natural cycle. These fallen leaves will insulate the trees and plants while providing hiding places for insects, providing shelter materials for wildlife and building up the soil....

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Chrysanthemums: A flourish of fall colors : Tips and Tricks for the Illinois Gardener

Chrysanthemums: A flourish of fall colors BLOOMINGTON, Ill. –Chrysanthemums come in a myriad of colors and flower forms, just in time to spruce up a tired flower garden or create a festive fall display. The garden centers are overflowing with these must-have bursts of color. Some gardeners have tried and failed to overwinter these mature mums bought from the garden centers....

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Saffron Crocus University of Florida

Should we grow saffron crocus in Illinois?

Just yesterday, I began thinking about the fall bulb-planting season. I already have designs to plant early flowering spring bulbs for the bees like crocus, snow drops, siberian squill, winter aconite, hyacinths and grape hyacinth. However, I keep coming back to fall crocus. Wouldn't it be nice to have a fall blooming bulb in my garden and harvest saffron? Saffron crocus (Crocus sativus...

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McLean master gardeners are awarded by Brittnay Haag

The University of Illinois Extension would like to congratulate McLean County Master Gardeners, Tracy Burr, Carolyn Erwin, Tudy Schmied, Pat Warren, Bob Williams, and Rose Yahnig for being recognized with the 2017 Outstanding State Master Gardener award. The Outstanding State Award was established to honor the best of Illinois Master Gardeners. Only the top 2% of Illinois State Master Gardeners...

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Livingston Master Gardeners Awarded by Brittnay Haag

The University of Illinois Extension would like to congratulate Livingston County Master Gardeners, Sandy Knight for being recognized as a 2017 Outstanding Illinois Master Gardener, and Dee Woodburn for being recognized as s 2017 Sustained Excellence Award Winner. In her six years as a Master Gardener, Sandy's volunteer services and contributions to the Master Gardener program have more...

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Woodford Master Gardeners awarded by Brittnay Haag

The University of Illinois Extension would like to congratulate Woodford County Master Gardeners, Nancy Carls for being recognized as a 2017 Outstanding Illinois Master Gardener, and Jack Pfaffmann for being recognized as s 2017 Sustained Excellence Award Winner. In her four years as a Master Gardener, Nancy's volunteer services and contributions to the Master Gardener program have more...

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Identifying Butterflies with Kelly

Four Seasons Gardening Program Offers Fall Series The fall series of University of Illinois Extension's Four Seasons Gardening program is about ready to get underway on a computer near you. Four Seasons Webinars focus on environmental stewardship, home gardening, backyard food production and more. The first session of the series is What's That Butterfly in my Gard...

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Leaf Casting Class at Eureka Library on August 22

Grab the leaves from your garden and cast them BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Join us to see how you can make new gardening décor from the leaves laying in your garden right now. Through this exclusive demonstration, you can learn just how to cast and paint concrete leaves. Maybe you have never heard of leaf casting before this…well then please join our Woodford County Maste...

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Too much mulch can kill your tree

Around town, piles of mulch are built up like volcanoes around the bases of trees. Perhaps it is because there is extra mulch: If a little is good, than a lot must be great. Perhaps it is an artistic statement. Perhaps it is learned from watching others in the neighborhood. The reasoning dumbfounds horticulturists because the practice kills the trees slowly. University of I...

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Herbs at Heartline Hearthouse in Eureka on August 22

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – University of Illinois Extension - Woodford County Master Gardeners are adding some celebration to their summer with the sweet aroma and culinary delight of herbs from the garden in a program entitled "It's a Culinary Delight!" This program is from 7 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, August 22 at the Heartline and Heart House in the Community Room in Eureka. Our Woodford...

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Plant Propagation Workshop at Sarah's Garden on July 29

On Saturday, July 29 from 9 A.M. to Noon, the University of Illinois McLean County Master Gardeners will be conducting a Plant Propagation Workshop at the award winning and city treasure, Sarah's Garden at the David Davis Mansion. Many of the plants propagated will be of heirloom origin and a plant that Sarah Davis grew over 100 years ago. Sarah's Garden is an original, restored 144-yea...

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Herb Festival at Unity Community Center on July 27

University of Illinois Extension McLean County Master Gardeners would like to invite you and your family to a festival of herbs at the Unity Community Center, 632 Orlando Avenue Normal, on Thursday, July 27 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Bring the kids to participate in garden festivities while tasting delectable dishes made out of the tasty herbs grown in the garden. University of Illinois Extension Hort...

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A message from Extension Pollinator Garden Writer Sally Whaley

Extension Pollinator Gardens By Sally Whaley Hello, all you grateful gardeners! Well, you now have the warmer, dryer weather that you requested to have your garden flourish. In our Extension Pollinator Garden, our plants are starting to make the landscape colorful. This month we will talk about the Butterfly Weed ( Asclepias tuberosa ) and Autumn Joy Sedum ( Hylotelephium...

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Confessions of a new homeowner- Landscape Design

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Creating a new landscape or renewing an old can be a daunting task for homeowners. However, if one looks at it as painter's canvas and envisions the design, it can be energizing at the prospect of creating his or her own garden oasis. University of Illinois Extension Horticulture Educator and brand new homeowner, Kelly Allsup, is excited to transform a bland landscape into t...

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