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Rhonda Ferree's ILRiverHort

Rhonda Ferree's Horticulture Blog
Horticulture Educator Rhonda Ferree's avatar

I Love Poppies!

As I wrote last week, I retire on October 1 after 30 years with University of Illinois Extension and am focusing my last couple columns on my favorite plants. Although I love many flowers, the poppy is probably my favorite. I am not sure why, but I have a fascination with poppies. I collect antique Hall China in the orange poppy pattern and have my kitchen decorated in poppies. There ar...

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tea pot

Herbal Teas for Relaxation

I retire on October 1 after 30 years with University of Illinois Extension. I've decided to focus my last couple columns on my favorite plants. I'll start with herbs. As most of my regular readers know, I grow a lot of herbs and use them to make a variety of tea blends. Over the years, I've found that teas are much more than just a beverage. Sitting down to a cup of tea is a great way t...

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Go Tropical with Ornamental Bananas

While enjoying coffee in the garden, I noticed that my largest ornamental banana is starting to flower. For many years I've been growing banana plants around my pool to give it a tropical feel in the summer. By autumn they have large stems with four- to five-foot-long leaves that sour to heights over ten feet tall. Bananas are grown here for their ornamental value. Although some might b...

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Harvesting Grapes

I love the taste of Concord grapes. As a child, I remember eating grapes directly from the vines. TO me, there is no flavor comparison between concord grapes and store-bought grapes. Concord grapes grown in central Illinois are quite different from most store-bought grapes. They are different types. Our native Concord and Niagara grapes are slip-skin types, which means that the skin eas...

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Start Your Spring Bulb Display This Fall

Begin your spring flower display by planting bulbs this fall. It seems like a lot of work now, but after the long winter, you will really enjoy those blooms. In addition to the standards, such as tulips and daffodils, try some of the other small flowering bulbs. For example, anemones, snowdrops, and winter aconite all bloom very early and have especially beautiful flowers. Snowdrops are...

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fall 2018 4S

Four Seasons Gardening Program Offers Fall Series

The fall series of University of Illinois Extension's Four Seasons Gardening program, which focuses on environmental stewardship, home gardening, and backyard food production, gets underway soon. As always, programs are available live or on YouTube following the live presentation. The first session of the fall series is titled Spring Flowering Bulbs . Spring flowering bulbs are...

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Musical garden in the Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden, 2015

Garden's Make Beautiful Music

I love sitting in my backyard listening to the many garden sounds. Wrens sing. Frogs croak. Grasses rustle. Bees buzz. The longer I listen, the more sounds I hear. In addition to natural sources, you can design music into the garden. Are you drowning out neighborhood noise or looking for a soothing respite? Loud sounds gently cover up unpleasant noises, while soft sounds sooth and mesme...

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