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Tales from a Plant Addict

Fun (& a few serious) facts, tips and tricks for every gardener, new and old.

Master Gardeners Help Others Learn to Grow

The idea for the Master Gardener program began in 1971 with two overwhelmed horticulture educators from Washington State University Extension, David Gibby and Bill Scheer. Their jobs were to bring urban and commercial horticulture programming to the major metropolitan areas surrounding Seattle and Tacoma, Washington. They soon discovered that with the rapid growth of...

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Gifts for Gardeners

In my opinion, if you have a gardener to shop for this holiday season, you will find no shortage of ideas for gifts. There are many options out there, but my favorites are items that solve some common problems experienced by gardeners of any level. A great gift for your favorite gardener is a high quality pair of gardening gloves. A good pair will cost around $20 or more. I had a hard t...

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Holly-- A Legendary Plant

As is with many Christmas traditions, the use of holly during this season has its roots in pagan customs dating back thousands of years. Many scholars believe ancient Druids revered holly because it was the plant that "sun never forgot", since it remained green throughout the winter in the otherwise leafless forest. Ancient Romans believed the plant represented good will, and often gave...

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Growing Holly

Probably the only question anyone ever asks me about holly is why theirs doesn't have berries on it. Everyone seems to plant holly because they want berries. I can see why—in an otherwise dreary winter landscape, a little splash of red is a welcome sight. The trick to producing the highly sought after red berries is realizing that holly is another one of those plants that is dioecious,...

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American Chestnut

We've all heard the familiar holiday tune that begins " Chestnuts roasting on an open fire ….", but here in central Illinois chestnuts are not a familiar site among native stands of trees. The American Chestnut, Castanea dentata , was at one point one of the most important forest trees in the...

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