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The Garden Scoop

Featuring weekly articles by Ryan Pankau, University of Illinois Horticulture Educator.
Master Gardener Monthly Program
Leaf Cast Garden Day 2016
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Learn to Make a Leaf Cast

By the end of summer the perennials, shrubs and trees in your yard may have produced some Jurassic sized leaves. When you look out the window in January those leaves will be a distant memory. Fortunately, there is a creative way to preserve what nature has created and enjoy it for years to come. Leaf casts make unique and beautiful garden art. They also provide great gifts and also make...

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Golden Trowel

Celebrating Champaign County Master Gardeners

For the past 2 years, in the dark, dreary (and let's be honest, dreadful) month of February, Champaign County Master Gardeners take the time to celebrate volunteers at their awards ceremony. The following awards are distributed: Hour Awards Golden Trowel Making a Difference Friend of a Master Gardener For descriptions of each award, v...

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Stop and Smell the Roses

"A Rose is a rose is a rose." Gertrude Stein wrote those words in Sacred Emily in 1913. This romantic poem is interpreted to mean "things are the way they are." While I respect the deep meaning behind this phrase, it also reminds me of the beautiful complexity of a rose, which is flower like no other. Some may contest that roses are the most commonly known flower because of its associa...

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Surround Yourself with Succulents

Gardeners are avid learners who love to try their hand at anything new and exciting. On Tuesday, May 18 Vermilion County Master Gardener, Charlie Collom, presented a Make-it and Take-It Succulent program for the Champaign Master Gardener's regularly monthly program. Members from the community were invited to create their own succulent garden....

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Rosebud in Dec
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'Vernalization' Why Plants Need Winter

For those of us who mentally X out each day as January passes and proclaim the best thing about February is that it isn’t January read on... With temperatures falling, schools closing and car batteries dying you may be wondering, “Is winter really necessary?” Being a warm weather person, I would say NO, except for one little thing… without winter there are some plants that would just not perfor...

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Fantastic Fossilized Forest Found near our Hometown

Scott Elrick, a geologist with the Illinois State Geological Survey, presented "Snapshot in Time – Geologic Secrets of the Danville, Illinois, Fossilized Forrest" for the Champaign County Master Gardeners monthly program for October. Just south and west of Danville, Illinois and only 30 miles east of Champaign lays a 300 million year old fossil forest. The forest was discovered in the Vermilion...

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Keyhole Gardens

I had never heard of a keyhole garden until this past year but I quickly became enthusiastic about a garden that does not involve lots of digging, needs less water than a conventional garden and produces its own compost. Ok –a live person actually has to feed it kitchen scraps to make the compost thing happen. So what exactly is a Keyhole Garden and where do you get one? They are the br...

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Seasonal Seed Show

By Ava Heap The transition from summer to autumn brings many joys. Gardeners appreciate the reprieve from the heat and humidity. Trees reveal their true splendor, changing their leaves to dramatic dark hues. Also, thousands of seeds, whether from plants or trees, begin their journey to be planted. The dispersal of seeds is nature's way of playing hide-and-seek. Seeds run away from their...

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Embracing the Rainbow of Vegetables

By Jenney Hanrahan Eat your veggies. We've all heard the familiar phrase from our mothers, fathers, teachers etc. As children, many of us actually enjoyed those mounds of greens that appeared regularly on our dinner plate each evening. Others consumed them with the same enthusiasm reserved for math homework. Extending the dinner hour by pushing beans around the plate, cutting them into...

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Ford-Iroquois Master Gardener Plant Share

Post by Trent Hawker, Horticulture Intern On September 15 the Ford-Iroquois Master Gardeners hosted their fall plant share at the Idea Garden on the grounds of the Onarga Public Library. People from all around came to visit with the Master Gardeners, share some of the plants that had done well in their gardens this year, and take a few new things home to try out. The plant shar...

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