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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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Harvesting Grapes

I love the taste of Concord grapes. As a child, I remember eating grapes directly from the vines. TO me, there is no flavor comparison between concord grapes and store-bought grapes. Concord grapes grown in central Illinois are quite different from most store-bought grapes. They are different types. Our native Concord and Niagara grapes are slip-skin types, which means that the skin eas...

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Start Your Spring Bulb Display This Fall

Begin your spring flower display by planting bulbs this fall. It seems like a lot of work now, but after the long winter, you will really enjoy those blooms. In addition to the standards, such as tulips and daffodils, try some of the other small flowering bulbs. For example, anemones, snowdrops, and winter aconite all bloom very early and have especially beautiful flowers. Snowdrops are...

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Four Seasons Gardening Program Offers Fall Series

The fall series of University of Illinois Extension's Four Seasons Gardening program, which focuses on environmental stewardship, home gardening, and backyard food production, gets underway soon. As always, programs are available live or on YouTube following the live presentation. The first session of the fall series is titled Spring Flowering Bulbs . Spring flowering bulbs are...

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Musical garden in the Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden, 2015

Garden's Make Beautiful Music

I love sitting in my backyard listening to the many garden sounds. Wrens sing. Frogs croak. Grasses rustle. Bees buzz. The longer I listen, the more sounds I hear. In addition to natural sources, you can design music into the garden. Are you drowning out neighborhood noise or looking for a soothing respite? Loud sounds gently cover up unpleasant noises, while soft sounds sooth and mesme...

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The covering on the forest floor on the Bartell streambank in Peoria is almost entirely made up of garlic mustard.  Photo credit:  Adam Davis
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Plants That Inhibit Other Plants

Some plants don't seem to play well with others. In particular, a few plants release chemicals to try to keep other plants from growing too near. This botanical war tactic is known as allelopathy. Excerpts from University of Illinois Extension State Master Gardener Coordinator Sandy Mason's The Homeowners Column blog explains this further....

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Planting black tupelo tree

Fall is a Great Time to Plant Trees, Shrubs, and Bulbs

Fall is known for planting spring flowering bulbs such as tulips and daffodils. According to Rhonda Ferree, Horticulture Educator with University of Illinois Extension, fall is also an excellent time to plant woody plants and some perennials. "Most plants prefer a particular season of the year to be moved," says Ferree. Deciduous plants are most easily transplanted in the fall after the...

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