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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
Lily Pool at Lincoln Park in Chicago
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Chicago Landscape Design Styles

Recently I helped lead a bus trip to Chicago for Bradley's OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) program. On the way to Chicago I spoke on the bus about the history of landscaping in Chicago. Although we are far from Chicago, some of the design styles are seen here too. My history lesson began about the time of the Chicago Fire of 1871. The Victorian Gardenesque Style was popular fro...

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blossom end rot on tomato


Tomatoes are the most popular vegetable grown in the United States, said a University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator. "They are probably one of the easiest vegetables to grow, but no vegetable is problem proof," said Ron Wolford. "Here are some of the common tomato problems you may encounter during the growing season." "I get calls in late July from gardeners who ha...

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propagating holiday cactus with leaf cuttings

Clone Your Plants

Do you have an annual flower in your garden this year that you especially like and want to use again next summer? You might be able to clone it using vegetative propagation methods. I have a coleus plant that I particularly like in my patio containers. Each fall I take a few cuttings from the plants and grow them on my kitchen windowsill for use next spring. If you are an avid g...

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Blue ceramic pots planted with a green spike for height and orange calibrachoa for the container%u2019s fillers and spillers.

Reunion Gardens

Summer is the time for family and school reunions. Rhonda Ferree, Horticulture Educator with University of Illinois Extension, suggests taking reunions to another level by starting a reunion garden. "School reunion gardens are especially nice to do using flowers in your school colors." "You've probably noticed that school colors typically include bright, complementary colors." "This als...

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Bee on purple cone flower

Native Pollinators Are Important for our Food Supply

When it comes to pollination, honey bees get a majority of the attention. However, many insects play a role in pollination. What is Pollination? Pollination occurs when pollen grains move between two flowers of the same species, or within a single flower. There are many ways that flowers are pollinated, including wind and animals. According to the website...

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Musk thistle
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Fall Tips for Controlling Weeds in Lawns and Gardens

Fall is a good time to think about weed control in your lawn and garden. In fact, fall is actually the best time to control some difficult weeds. Many yards and gardens this spring had winter annual weeds such as henbit, deadnettle, and common chickweed. Winter annuals germinate from seed in the fall and spent the winter as seedlings. If you had a problem with winter annuals this year, fall is...

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Spinach growing in Morton Giving Garden

Midsummer Vegetable Gardens

Are you enjoying the "fruits of your labor" from your vegetable garden this summer? With proper care, vegetable gardens provide fresh produce well into the fall. It is essential to keep plants watered consistently during the heat of summer. On average, plants need one inch of water per week and this may need to be stepped up to one inch every five days during the heat of summer. Waterin...

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Tomato on right and tomatillo on left on 7-13-12. Notice leaves go all the way to the ground on this tomato. I rotated it to a new location this year. Last year's tomatoes had lots of foliar leaf blight.
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Fresh Tomato Salsa

Over the past decade, Americans have grown to love salsa, surpassing ketchup as a favorite condiment. While there are many variations, a basic salsa recipe includes tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, cilantro and tomatillos. I make tomato salsa several times each summer from plants grown in my garden. You can too! The type of tomato used will affect the thickness and quality of the sals...

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