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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
Rhondas Spice Surprise Te
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Spice Special Tea

Last night while making my newest favorite evening tea I got to thinking about the plants that produce these ingredients. My Spice Special tea is a blend of rooibos, anise, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, orange bitters, and honey. Let's look at each of these a bit closer. Rooibos comes from the African plant ( Aspalathus lineraris ), also called Red Bush. Traditional black and green...

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Master Gardener trainees at ICC, where they learned how to overwinter annuals using bareroot and cuttings methods.

Twenty-one New Master Gardeners Trained in Fall 2017

A new crop of volunteers completed University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener training on November 7, 2017. Twenty-one energetic trainees culminated their ten-week Master Gardener training course by advancing to intern status. Traditionally held during winter, training was moved to fall to allow for more outdoor learning activities and less missed snow days. It was also an opportu...

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Miniature Garden

Fun Garden Gifts

I made my first miniature garden at a recent Master Gardener meeting in Canton. It's such a pretty, fun little garden that I smile every time I see it. Are you searching for the "perfect" gift for a gardener in your family? As Black Friday and Cyber Monday approach, here are some pretty, fun ideas to consider for the gardener on your shopping list. Make them a miniature garden or give t...

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(Amorpha fruticosa L.) False indigo bush
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Interesting Plants Around Canton Lake

I was fortunate enough to camp at Canton Lake twice this summer. While enjoying peaceful kayak rides along the shoreline I found two plants that I'd never seen before. It's always exciting to find new plants, but these were particularly thrilling. They are both native plants, and to me represent a healthy diversity of plant life in that area. In the spring the water was high enough for...

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During the holiday season many different types of plants are available for decorating and display including the spectacular amaryllis. Amaryllis flowers make a bold statement. Borne on 1 ½ to 2-foot tall stalk, the trumpet-shaped, 6-inch blooms dominate their surroundings. After flowering, the plant produces attractive, bright green leaves, and with a little care will flower year after...

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Karl Forester Miscanthus grass

Hardy Pampas Grass

After 30 years of being a horticulture educator with University of Illinois Extension the towering pampas grasses still amaze me each fall. What energy and power that plant must have to grow over 12 feet tall each summer, just to die back in the fall and start over again the next year. Also called plume grass, hardy pampas grass (Erianthus ravennae) is hardy in zones 5-...

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Bedstraw (Gallium sp.)
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Sticky Plants are Annoying

While hiking recently I got to thinking about the various plants that stick to our sock and pants. Certainly, they are frustrating; but, as a plant geek, I wanted to know more. Sticky plants attaching to clothes, hair, fur, and feathers to disperse their seeds into new areas. They do this with hooks, spines, barbs, and burrs. Let's look at a few common examples that we find here in cent...

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