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Chicago Master Gardener

A blog for Chicago Master Gardeners providing information on volunteer opportunities, training, workshops and resources.

Extension Holiday Websites

Posted by Ron Wolford -

As the holidays approach, many families will be faced with at least two horticulture-related challenges--how to select a Christmas tree and what to do with the gift poinsettia plant.

"Information on both topics is readily available on two University of Illinois Extension websites," said Jane Scherer, U of I Extension urban programs specialist and director of its websites.

"Christmas Trees & More" ( in a one-stop source for a broad array of information, not only about Christmas trees but flowers and greenery, tree farms, and recipes.

"Yes, recipes," Scherer explained. "There is a page that has recipes for Christmas tree cookies plus a holiday tree-shaped cheese ball and a Christmas tree cake."

"If you're wondering what to look for when selecting a poinsettia plant, another Extension website can help," she noted.

"The Poinsettia Pages" ( include a list of things to consider when shopping for a plant.

"The length of time your poinsettia will give you pleasure in your home is dependent on (1) the maturity of the plant, (2) when you buy it, and (3) how you treat the plant," said Scherer, quoting from information on the website. "With care, poinsettias should retain their beauty for weeks, and some varieties will stay attractive for months.

"Suggestions for achieving this outcome are listed on the site."

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