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Rhonda J. Ferree

Rhonda J. Ferree
Former Extension Educator, Horticulture

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Rhonda Ferree's ILRiverHort

Rhonda Ferree's Horticulture Blog

Mango or Green Pepper?

I grew up thinking that a green bell pepper was called a mango. It wasn't until my sister Lynn Miller moved to Florida that we realized there was also a fruit called a mango. Now that I have seen and tasted a mango, it seems odd to me that a green bell pepper could ever be called a mango. They are completely different in so many ways. A green bell pepper is a tender, warm-season...

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Pinch those Mums!

View Rhonda Ferree's MUM YouTube video at Have you ever had a fall blooming mum that doesn't look at all like what it is supposed to come September? Is it tall, leggy and flopping over with a few flowers at each stem tip instead of short, compact and full of flowers? Pinching at the right time is the an...

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Japanese maple leafing out, vinca vine in flower, Carlesei viburnum flowering on 3-26-12
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Fragrant Gardens

Spring flowers have been very welcome this year after the hard winter. "Many of those also add great scents to my outdoor gardens," says Rhonda Ferree, University of Illinois Extension educator in horticulture. "Adding fragrance to a garden excites our senses and adds another dimension to the gardening experience." Here are several examples to try in your garden. Lilacs come in...

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Bee-neficials: It's all about the bees this year

May brings us our fifth gardening trend for 2014: Bee-neficials: It's all about the bees this year . News on bee and other pollinator populations is everywhere this spring. Obviously, pollinators are an essential requirement for many of our favorite food crops. Pollination is a process that takes place in a flower to transfer pollen from the male the female flower part, thus pro...

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winter injury on arborvitae

Wait-n-See Spring

If you are like me you likely have a lot of dead plants or plant parts in your yard. Last weekend while walking around my yard I noticed that one of my redbud trees in the front yard is completely dead. Today as I drove to work I noticed a large dead branch in one of my sea green junipers. Many of my perennials and some shrubs are dead in them. Most people assume that the damage is from...

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Gardening Tips on YouTube

When you need advice from a gardening expert but a trip to the gardening store isn't convenient, check out the University of Illinois Extension channel on YouTube. Visit for practical advice on a wide variety of gardening topics and more. "Everything from pruning to mulching to specific...

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