Signup to receive email updates

or follow our RSS feed

follow our RSS feed

Blog Banner

Rhonda Ferree's ILRiverHort

Rhonda Ferree's Horticulture Blog
Spring bloomers.
click image to view 3 more

The Pre-Spring Garden

Signs of spring are slowly emerging all around us. The grass is getting greener, bulbs are starting to emerge, early flowering plants are blooming, and tree buds are swelling. Even some of the winter annual weeds are starting to grow. Early flowering shrubs include witchhazel and forsythia. Witchhazel's colors vary from yellow and orange to red and most flowers open in February. When red, the...

Read More >

Burning Bush
click image to view 3 more

Burning Bush Becoming Invasive

Burning Bushes are very common landscape plants grown mainly for their intense fall color. Unfortunately, burning bush are becoming a plant of concern for many of us as we watch it reseed and invade nearby natural areas. I have two very large burning bush in my yard that were planted by the previous owner. The one growing in full sun usually turns a bright red in the fall, while the other one...

Read More >

click image to view 2 more

Herb Gardens

If you are a regular reader of this column, you know that I love to grow and use herbs. Herbs are easy to grow, beautiful, fun, and rewarding to use. Most of them are as easy to grow as common vegetables. Whether you use them in formal herb gardens or interplanted with your vegetables or landscaping, you can always find space in a garden for a few herbs. Botanically speaking, an herb is...

Read More >

JP CDL 3-27-10 Easter Lily Source University of California Extension

Easter Lilies Signal Spring

Easter is just around the corner. Have you purchased you Easter lily yet? If not, be sure to choose an Easter lily with lots of unopened buds for longer bloom enjoyment. The popular Easter lily is the Christian symbol of purity, innocence, and chastity. But this particular lily has been popular for eons. In the Semitic world, it is the symbol of motherhood. It was the flower of Aphrodite, the...

Read More >

view of gazebo from shade garden on 8-3-12

Tranquil Garden Mini-Series at Spoon River College in Havana

Spoon River College and University of Illinois Extension Horticulture Educator Rhonda Ferree are teaming up to offer a Gardening Mini-Series in April at the Havana campus. In the Tranquil Landscape Series, Rhonda Ferree shared tips for creating tranquil outdoor gardens that are easy to maintain. On Monday, April 13 from 3-5 p.m. Rhonda will present her "Words of Weed Wisdom" that teach...

Read More >


2015 is the Year of the Sweet Pepper!

The National Garden Bureau has named 2015 as the Year of the Sweet Pepper. Each year the National Garden Bureau selects one annual, one perennial and one edible as their "Year of the" crops. Each is chosen because they are popular, easy-to-grow, widely adaptable, genetically diverse, and versatile. For 2015 their selections include the coleus annual, gaillardia perennial, and the edible sweet...

Read More >

Front foundation planting in 2014
click image to view 2 more

Update Your Home with New Foundation Plants

Are plants around your house foundation old, overgrown and in need of a change? Rhonda Ferree, Horticulture Educator with University of Illinois Extension, provides the following tips for updating your homes foundation plantings. "Foundation plantings are the combination of plants around the front door, the front corners, and a transition area that joins them," says Ferree. Plants along the fr...

Read More >

Vernal witchhazel


Spring is on its way! Soon the silver maples will be plump with red flower buds, grass will get greener, and bulbs will begin to sprout. Often the signs of spring are subtle in plants. One such example is Witchhazel. This plant has beautiful flowers in early spring, but is sometimes missed due to their subtlety. Let's look at this plant closer. You may know witchhazel by its by-product, which...

Read More >

Hummingbird moth on honeysuckle vine on May 7, 2012
click image to view 2 more

The Good, the Bad and the Lovely Plants: Free Webinar Series

University of Illinois Extension Horticulture Educators addresses Garden Biodiversity with a free webinar series called "The Good, the Bad and the Lovely Plants." Illinois horticulturists and gardeners revel in interesting plant characteristics but do not want to cultivate plants that disrupt the biodiversity of our natural Illinois landscape. Cultivating the biodiversity of plants in the Illi...

Read More >