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The Garden Scoop

Featuring weekly articles by Ryan Pankau, University of Illinois Horticulture Educator.
Spring Flowers
Many native Illinois plants  such as wild columbine  Aquilegia canadensis  and Virginia bluebells  Mertensia virginica   do well in cultivation  adding beauty and diversity to our home gardens

Native Plants and Biodiversity

A startling report on global biodiversity was release by the United Nations last week noting an alarming trend in worldwide species extinction. We, humans were pegged as the primary cause of an increase in extinction rates to the highest levels in human history. Specifically, around 25% of the species assessed are threatened, suggesting that one million of the eight million known species of pla...

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Photo credit  Amanda Pankau
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Spring Beauties: A True Sign of Spring

Last week the spring beauties (Claytonia virginica) in Lodge Park, near Monticello, were absolutely stunning. These tiny, ornate wildflowers adorn the forested trails at Lodge and other woodlands throughout central Illinois providing us with a sure sign that spring has arrived each year. Spring beauties are perennial wildflowers that emerge early in the year and produce tiny (1/3") flow...

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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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