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The Garden Scoop

Featuring 'In the Garden' News-Gazette articles by Ryan Pankau, Horticulture Educator, and other horticulture articles.
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Planting Milkweed for Monarchs

For many of us, Monarch butterflies conjure cherished memories of childhood. However, this beloved butterfly once so familiar has become more and more absent from our gardens. Scientists believe a lack of habitat along with colder than usual weather patterns has caused their numbers to drop in recent years. Consider this- the monarch is the only butterfly known to migrate like a bird. They can...

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Garden Destinations

Posted by Ava Heap - Pollinators

On Saturday, June 18 Champaign County Master Gardeners hosted their 24th annual Garden Walk featuring 10 eclectic and exquisite gardens. Gardeners of all ages and stages were able to connect with one of the gardens. The theme "Garden Destinations" was elected as each garden was a retreat. Each garden held peaceful caveats allowing a person to stow away their troubles and ponder the day away. If...

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Spring Ephemerals

A co-worker was curious about a small white flower with pink stripes that showed up in her yard this month. She brought in a sample, did some research and found the answer: Spring Beauty. Spring Beauty falls into an intriguing class of plants; spring ephemerals. Ephemerals are some of the first flowers to appear in the spring. They take advantage of that brief window of time when the tr...

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Tomato Hornworms and Hummingbird Moths

After much anticipation, tomato season is finally here but something has been devouring the leaves on your tomato plant and even taken bites out of the green tomatoes. Looking for the culprit you see an enormous alien-looking green caterpillar with white stripes and red dots down its back. Tomato hornworms and their equally hungry cousins the tobacco hornworm can do lots of damage in a depressi...

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Lavishing in Lush Landscapes on Garden Walk

Posted by Ava Heap - Pollinators

On Saturday, June 20 the endless onslaught of rain ceased and the skies brightened up for the 23 rd annual Champaign County Master Gardener Garden Walk. An estimated 1400 people were inspired by the 6 homeowner gardens, University of Illinois Pollinatarium and the Master Gardener Idea Garden's. All proceeds from the Garden Walk help fund Master Gardener projects in Champaign County su...

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Swizzle Zinnias-Not just a Phase

I think as gardeners we go through phases.  Heirloom vegetables, variegated foliage, miniature hostas, climbing roses, peony trees, ornamental grasses, and so forth; I have certainly had my share of plant phases. Right now I have returned to a phase from my younger gardening days. Zinnias were one of the first flowers I ever planted. They are so easy to grow, come in all shapes and sizes and ad...

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A Primer on Pollinators, Part 3 - Pollination Syndromes

While words like phalaenophily and psychophily might sound like terms only found in a medical dictionary, pollinator syndromes are actually used to assign certain characterisitics to different flowers. According to the Pollinator Partnership, pollinator syndromes "describe flower characteristics, or traits, that may appeal to a particular type of pollinator. Such characteristics can be...

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A Primer on Pollinators, Part 2 - Why do Plants need Pollinators?

Did you miss part one? Click here to read the first entry in this series. As a refresher: A pollinator is any animal that fertilizes a plant by moving the pollen (or male p...

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A Primer on Pollinators, Part 1 - What are Pollinators?

A note from the author: This is the first part of a series of blog posts discussing pollinators. Check back weekly to read the latest entry. Before you read any further, please indulge me for a moment. Close your eyes and take a few seconds to picture your favorite garden produce. Imagine the shape, color, and even fragrance of your chosen fruit or vegetable… Done? It i...

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