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Flowers, Fruits, and Frass

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

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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allium walterns garden
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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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