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Rhonda Ferree's ILRiverHort

Rhonda Ferree's Horticulture Blog
Japanese painted fern (Athyrium niponicum Pictum)

Ferns add texture to a shade garden

I love ferns. Ferns make areas greener and provide interesting texture. Let's look at a few that are commonly grown in home shade gardens. Hardy, outdoor ferns are easy to grow and are essential in the woodland garden. Ferns come in all shapes and sizes, but most require similar growing conditions. Nearly all ferns do best in dappled shade. Most ferns require a soil rich in organic matt...

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tomato grown in a container
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Alternative Vegetable Gardens

Most people grow vegetables in traditional gardens in rows. Large gardens can seem overwhelming, especially during the heat of summer or after a vacation. If you don't have space for that or just want to try something different, here are some others options to try. A larger garden is needed for certain crops such as sweet corn. Still, you do not have to plant the garden in a traditional...

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Hummingbird moth on honeysuckle vine on May 7, 2012
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A Tale of Two Honeysuckle Vines

Vines add vertical beauty to a garden. Fast growing honeysuckle vines are easy to grow. Their intoxicatingly wonderful floral fragrance attracts hummingbirds, bees, and hummingbird moths. The story of these two honeysuckle vines is a lesson in using native plants. The Japanese honeysuckle ( Lonicera japonica ) was brought here from East Asia because of its fragrant and beautiful...

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Dutchmans breeches and squirrel corn

Early Spring Wildflowers

I love exploring woods in the spring looking for wildflowers. They bring such joy after such a long winter. Here are a few of my favorite early spring wildflowers. One of the first woodland flowers to bloom is bloodroot ( Sanguinaria canadensis ). Bloodroot has a solitary white flower, with a golden-orange center that grows beside a lobed leaf. Roots and stems have a red-orange j...

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