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Rhonda Ferree's ILRiverHort

Rhonda Ferree's Horticulture Blog
Horticulture Resources
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Visit a Public Garden this Summer

Public gardens are a great place to get ideas for your garden. Last month I visited three gardens in Rockford with Bradley University's OLLI program. I am inspired to add more plants to our water garden and create more succulent container gardens. Here are a few ideas of places you might consider visiting this summer. Some of my favorite garden locations are the Chicago Botanic Gardens,...

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Garden Calendar 2018 photo

Gardening in April

Spring has sprung, and it is time to get out in the garden. The average last frost date for central Illinois is mid-April. Therefore I wait until about Mother's Day before planting tender plants such as impatiens, basil, tomatoes, and tropicals. Even though I can't plant most of the tender plants yet, there is still a lot to do. GENERAL Measure the rainfall with a rain ga...

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Ferree Provides Garden Tip Videos

Last year I started producing short videos on various gardening topics. They are a lot of fun to make. Currently, I have 31 videos available, covering indoor and outdoor horticultural topics. In my first educational video "Planting Fall Mums," I demonstrate from my home garden how to plant fall mums. This two-minute video has 213 views - the most views of all my YouTube videos....

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African violet
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YouTube Videos Show How to Care for Houseplants

Houseplants add life and beauty to a home. My new YouTube videos provide simple tips on houseplant care. After watching these short videos, even those with "brown garden thumbs" will know how to have healthy houseplants throughout their home. Over watering house plants is very common. Watering Houseplants teaches you how to know when to water and how much to water your...

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2018 Garden Calendar

2018 Garden Calendar Available

My 2018 Garden Calendar is now available. It provides garden tips, a calendar of events, and a picture each month spotlighting University of Illinois Extension volunteers and programs. New this year are hyperlinks to information on various topics in the monthly tips. Just click on the underlined-blue links while viewing the electronic copy and it will take you to the connecting ILRiverH...

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Soil Testing

Now is the time to take soil tests. If you have plants that are not growing the way they should, a soil test might be needed to see if soil amendments are needed. Soil amendments should be based on a soil test to know the amounts needed. Be sure the sample is representative of the area to be treated. The teaspoon of soil finally used for analysis weighs a few grams in comparison to abou...

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Help Available for All Your Garden Questions!

Do you wonder why your tomato plants have so many yellow leaves or how to deal with those pesky bugs eating your roses? If so, University of Illinois Extension is here to help answer all your gardening questions. For almost 30 years, Master Gardeners have answered home garden questions through their Garden HelpLine located in Peoria. Staffed every weekday morning throughout the growing...

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FB stats

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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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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Horticulture Educator Team Wins Excellence Award

A team of nine University of Illinois Extension Horticulture Educators was awarded an Interdisciplinary State Team Excellence Award at University of Illinois Extension's annual conference in November 2016. The Interdisciplinary State Team Excellence Award is awarded for excellence in collaborative work to address a priority issue. University of Illinois Extension Horticulture Ed...

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Videos available on YouTube /go.illinois.edu/ferreevideos

Ferree Provides Garden Tip Videos on YouTube

My new horticulture YouTube channel extends my gardening education into another realm of social media. Videos are the latest social media trend, with predictions that 74% of all internet traffic in 2017 will be video. My plan is to produce short, informational videos covering a wide variety of gardening topics and more. I post the videos on my ILRiverHort Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, I...

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Herbs growing indoors in an Aerogarden.

2017 Gardening Calendar

My 2017 Garden Calendar is now available. It provides garden tips, a calendar of events, and a picture each month spotlighting Master Gardener (MG) projects. Here is a preview. January displays MGs teaching over 2000 students about watersheds during the annual Peoria Clean Water Celebration. A tip suggests that we feed and water birds regularly. February features the Peoria MGs...

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Rhonda Ferree's 2017 Horticulture Program

I invite you to check out my video that details my vision for my University of Illinois Extension, Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell Unit horticulture program. My 2017 goals are to continue building on the successful program, support our current volunteers, and introduce new innovative ways to reach new audiences. This short eight-minute video was created with the help of Anita Wilkinson, Communication...

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Ferree YouTube

Ferree Provides Garden Tip Videos

I am now producing videos on a wide variety of gardening topics and more. Videos are the latest social media trend, with predictions that 74% of all internet traffic in 2017 will be video. My plan is to produce short, informational videos covering everything from pruning to herbs to houseplants and much more. My first video shows how mums add color to the fall landscape....

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David Robson, University of Illinois Horticulture Specialist, judges horticultural crops at the Fulton County Fair.

Horticulture at the Fair

Winning at a county fair brings great notoriety. Remember how excited Farmer Zuckerman was in the book "Charlottes Web" when Wilbur won! The county fair is meant to bring together exhibitors in many categories across the county to see who is the best. Horticulture exhibits at the fair cover everything from flowers to vegetables. Exhibitors have the opportunity to win ribbons and sometim...

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Backyard Greenhouses Extend the Garden Season

Every year my Dad (Ron Simmons) starts many annual plants for our family in his backyard greenhouse. I get most of my flowering annuals, vegetables, and herbs from dad's greenhouse. His plants are amazingly healthy and grow better than any other plants in my gardens. I see more and more hobby greenhouses and hoop-houses popping up in homeowner's backyards. What's the difference? They are both...

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Rhonda social media bookmark 2016 Page 2

Help Available for All Your Garden Questions!

Do you wonder why your tomato plants have so many yellow leaves or how to deal with those pesky bugs eating your roses? If so, University of Illinois Extension is here to help answer all your gardening questions. For almost 30 years, Master Gardeners have answered home garden questions through their Garden HelpLine located in Peoria. Staffed every weekday morning throughout the growing season,...

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ILRiverHort now on Instagram!

Instagram is an social media network where friends can share photos and videos. I'll use it to share photos and videos of plants in an educational way. Join me and learn how to garden grow your own food create a backyard paradise manage pests in the garden and much more!...

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Central Illinois Garden Clubs

Here is a listing of Central Illinois Garden club websites or Facebook Pages. Check out their upcoming events.  Central Illinois Hosta Society - http://www.cihshostaclub.org/ Heart of Illinois Beekeepers Association http://hoibees.org Irene Cull Chapter, Illinois Native Plant...

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Botany Resources for Gardeners

I am preparing to teach Master Gardeners trainees all about botany and found these useful resources. Peruse them and see how fun botany can be! Websites: Colorado State University Master Gardener Training Online (free) http://www.cmg.colostate.edu/gardennotes.shtml Scroll down to see specific lessons...

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Facebook Plant Questions

As many of you know I use social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, to spread my horticultural messages. For several months I've been posting a plant-of-the-day on my personal and ILRiverHort Facebook Pages during the 6 pm hour. Many of these posts have generated plant questions. Here are a few recent examples. Picture of a sweet potato vine tuber. Quest...

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Rhonda's Program Offerings

Need a speaker for your organization? Below are the topics that I'm currently offering. Weedy Vines . Poison ivy, oriental bittersweet, and trumpet creeper are just a few of the many vine weeds can be quite aggressive and especially difficult to manage. This session provides tips for identifying and managing common weedy vines in your home garden...

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Garden Structures

G ardens include much more than just plants. Garden structures add functionality, purpose, and beauty to a garden. However, garden structure terms and definitions can be confusing. Here is a listing of popular garden structures with their definitions. Pergola – I love my pergola at the back of our house. A pergola is an open structure, usually on regularly spaced posts or colum...

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JP CDL 2-6-10 Redbud flowers
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Plants of the Year

Many different organizations select plants of the year and this year I plan to spotlight them each month in this column. Let's start with the Garden Club of America. According to their website at http://www.gcamerica.org , they were founded in 1913. The Garden Club of America is a volunteer nonprofit organization comprised of 200 member clubs and approxima...

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2015 Garden Calendar Available

A 2015 Garden Calendar is now available. Rhonda Ferree, Horticulture Educator with University of Illinois Extension, created a calendar that provides garden tips for each month. "People often ask me what garden tasks they should be doing at various times of the year," says Rhonda. "I used information from University of Illinois and Purdue University sources and created lists that are ap...

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