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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

ILRiverHort now on Instagram!

Instagram is an social media network where friends can share photos and videos. I'll use it to share photos and videos of plants in an educational way. Join me and learn how to garden grow your own food create a backyard paradise manage pests in the garden and much more!...

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The July 2015 Bright Spot Award goes to Dick Jones, West Vine Street, Canton, for his stunning vegetable garden. Photo by Terry Meade
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Plan Your Vegetable Garden Around Your Family

Growing your own food is easy and fun. This year I will write more spotlights on backyard food production in this column. To get us started, here are excerpts from an article written by my colleague Richard Hentschel. Richard writes that a well-planned vegetable garden is easy to care for and harvest. They are also more productive and, in the long run, less expensive that the unplanned...

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living with wildlife website

Choose Treatment Properly for Moles

Moles become active each spring, with tunnels appearing as raised areas of soil in lawns and garden beds. "Questions about mole control are probably the most common question I've received in my 27 years with University of Illinois Extension," says Rhonda Ferree, Extension Educator in Horticulture. "Mole damage is frustrating and unfortunately homeowners sometimes resort to costly, ineffective,...

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Dandelion with pollinator next to white clover
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Microclovers…A New Lawn Alternative

I enjoy the focus on green, shamrocks, and clovers that St. Patrick's Day brings each year. It reminds me of the hours I'd spend as a kid searching for four leaf clovers in our yard. There are many different types of clovers that grow in Central Illinois. Technically, clover is the common name for plants of the genus Trifolium . All clovers are in the legume (pea) family. Many a...

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Silver maple flowers in the spring.
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Not so Obvious Springtime Flowers

Spring flowering plants make an impressive display at a time of year when we need it most. Redbuds, magnolias, forsythia, tulips, and so many more are a welcome sign that we are finally past the long winter. But, if you look closely you will find some less obvious spring displays that are just as welcome and impressive in their own way. One of the earliest flowering shrubs is witchhaze...

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Poison Ivy has leaflets of three while Virginia Creeper has leaflets of 5 or more.

Plants Tied To Our Health and Wellness

The second trend I'm covering from the 2016 Garden Media Group garden trend report is Welltality , which is all about how horticulture is intrinsically tied to health and wellness. I've written many times about the psychological benefits of plants. Because of their simplicity, plants and natural scenes reduce physical and mental excitement and improve our health. They help us heal fast...

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Tillandsia (Air Plant) growing in light bulb shaped terrarium.

Air Plants Grow Well in Terrariums

On a recent trip to Ft. Myers, Florida I visited the Edison & Ford Winter Estates where I toured their homes, gardens, laboratories, and museum. The plant collections there are fascinating, especially all the rubber trees they tested as possible sources for tire materials. Obviously, Edison is most famous for inventing the light bulb, so I took advantage of that by purchasing a smal...

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