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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
POST orchids

Orchids make elegant houseplants

I have a couple orchids at home but have not had great success with them. Sandy Mason, Illinois Master Gardener Coordinator, writes the following about orchids. She also teaches a webinar about moth orchids. I'm hoping that Sandy will show me how to make my orchids grow better. Not all orchids enjoy the temperature and humidity commonly found in homes; therefore, some may require specia...

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2017 garden calendar

Gardening in February

February often gives me the winter blahs. When that happens, gardening tasks help perk me up. Consider these various February gardening activities to reduce the winter blues. GENERAL Repair and paint lawn and garden tools, window boxes, lawn furniture, tools and other items in preparation for outdoor gardening and recreational use. Continue planning for the sum...

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Grow Your Own Hops

Gardeners have been growing hop as an ornamental vine for many years. Recently, I have seen more hop grown in backyards for home brewing. This is especially popular among younger male gardeners aged 18-34. Hop is a herbaceous perennial vine that grows well in central Illinois. Two types of hop grow here. Our native American hop ( Humulus lupulus ) comes in various cultivars used...

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A friend of mine recently vacationed in Florida and purchased a bromeliad at a flea market. I can see why she picked it out since bromeliads are especially eye-catching. Bromeliads are in the pineapple family. There are many different types of bromeliads, each with a different exotic look. They are curvy or straight, large or miniature, dense or light, but all are bold and colorful. Mos...

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Ella Maxwell receives Illinois Outstanding Master Gardener award in 2015.

Date Set for 2017 Gardeners' BIG Day

Get ready, here it comes - the 18th Annual Gardeners' BIG Day! University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners in Fulton and Mason County sponsor this event, which is set for Saturday, April 29th, at Dickson Mounds Museum in Lewistown. The days keynote address will be given by Ella Maxwell. Ella is a Certified Arborist with the International Society of Arboriculture, an Illinois Certi...

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POST houseplants

How to Have Healthy Houseplants Webinar and YouTube

Having houseplants in our homes make them come alive. In fact, studies indicate that houseplants help keep people happier and healthier. Plants fill an important psychological function, while also cleansing indoor air, and making us more productive. Houseplants add life and beauty to a home. I will provide simple tips to select and care for houseplants in this webinar/video. After viewi...

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Master Gardeners Provide Gardening Tips at Various 2017 Events

In 2016, 169 Master Gardener volunteers contributed 13,920 hours in the Fulton, Mason, Peoria, and Tazewell Counties. Their volunteer service is valued at $328,000. Master Gardeners have several large events scheduled in our four county Extension Unit. Stop by their informational booth at the Peoria Home Show on February 24-28 in the Peoria Civic Center. They will answer general...

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Display of seeds at the Native Seeds/SEARCH facility in Tucson, Arizona.

Test Seed Viability

I recently found some old seed in my office and wondered if they were still viable. If you save leftover seed to use the following year, here are some ways to find out if they are still good. Seed viability is a measure of the number of seeds that are still alive to produce plants. Some seeds stay viable for many years, while others might only last a short time. For example, parsley and...

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