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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
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ILRiverHort Facebook Page Doing Well

Analytic data from my ILRiverHort Facebook Page shows significant increases since it began in 2011. The number of people following the Page increased steadily, with a slight bump up in 2013. Currently the Page has 636 followers. The number of impressions made a dramatic leap in 2016. Impressions are the number of times a post was displayed. This increase is in part due to the in...

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Horticulture Heals

March 19 – 25 is National Horticultural Therapy Week. Its purpose is "to encourage others to help expand and elevate horticultural therapy as a profession." People who interact with plants are healthier. Thus, using plants in therapy to help improve a person's body, mind and spirit just make good sense. Horticultural Therapy is a growing profession and field of study. Although h...

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Perennial Flower Garden Design

Have you ever seen a garden that just took your breath away? You visit two months later, and the garden is again in full glory, and you wonder how do people do it? How do you design a garden that offers visual interest through the seasons? Rhonda Ferree, Horticulture Educator with University of Illinois Extension, highlights University of Illinois Extension resources that will help you create y...

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Plants for a Dry, Shade Garden

Several years ago I created a secret shade garden behind my backyard gazebo. What started as a few trees, shrubs, and a bench, has grown to a dense garden of various dry-loving, shade plants. Since I garden in the dry sand of Mason county, typical moisture-loving shade plants like hosta, fern, and azalea don't do well. Instead, here are some plants that work for me. Northern Bayberry (...

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Bush Honeysuckle Increases Tick Numbers

Now is a great time to remove invasive bush honeysuckle. Not only are bush honeysuckle invasive to native woodlands, new research shows that they also can increase the spread of tick-borne diseases. Bush honeysuckle are upright shrubs that grow 6 to 15 feet tall. Their dense growth habit is a favorite of deer and other small critters that ticks feed on. A University of Wisconsin study f...

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Pruning Fruit Trees

Now is the best time to prune many of your trees and shrubs, including fruit trees. Pruning of fruit trees is done to improve fruit quality, develop a strong plant, facilitate harvest, and control the size/shape of the plant. According to Rhonda Ferree, Horticulture Educator with University of Illinois Extension, unpruned trees and plants are difficult to maintain, produce small fruit and are m...

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Gardeners' BIG Day is April 29, 2017

Once again, University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners and their partners have rounded up a top-notch Gardeners' BIG Day. The 18 th annual event will be Saturday, April 29, 2017, from 8:00-3:00 at Dickson Mounds Museum. Attendees will hear speakers, visit vendors, and see gardening displays. Partnering sponsors include University of Illinois Extension Fulton and Mason County Ma...

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State champion Bald Cypress tree in Southern Illinois along Cache River basin. That is my husband Mark kayaking up to it. It is only accessible by watercraft. The tip of my yellow kayak is shown at the bottom of the pictures - among the duckweed and watermeal.
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Big and Historic Trees

Big trees seem to fascinate and almost mesmerize us. They bring wonderment as we surmise how old it is and what it has "seen" through its life. Here are some of my favorites. No words can describe what I felt when I saw my first giant sequoia tree in California's Sequoia National Park. They are all grand, but the grandest of all is the General Sherman tree. It...

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Ten Steps to Successful Community Gardens

Community gardens can turn stark vacant lots into productive keystones in a community. The reasons for starting community gardens are varied, and the rewards are numerous. However various pitfalls can turn noble intentions into negative neighborhood drama. Proper planning, excellent communication, simple rules, and basic garden knowledge all help reduce these problems. Here are ten step...

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lawn totalitarian

Rhonda's Top FIVE Turf Tips

Warm temperatures this winter have caused some lawns to green up early. This could impact the timing of various spring lawncare activities, such as seeding, fertilizing, mowing, and weed control. Here are a five turf tips to consider this season. 1. FERTILIZE at the proper time. Most homeowners only need one application a year, which should be done in early September. This helps the gra...

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Garden Day Events in West Central Illinois

Here are some upcoming Garden Day events in West Central Illinois in 2017. March 4  Home and Garden day - Bloomington - SOLD OUT March 11 Gardener's Palette – Quincy March 11...

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