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Rhonda Ferree's ILRiverHort

Rhonda Ferree's Horticulture Blog
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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Amaryllis

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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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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Actaea pachypoda%u2013 White baneberry or Doll%u2019s eyes
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Doll's Eyes…A Great Halloween Plant

Some plants are perfect for Halloween. Bat flowers, devils claw, and corpse flower come to mind. Another creepy looking plant is doll's eyes. I'm not sure why dolls with staring, glass eyes are so scary, but they can be truly frightening to some people. I used to have a recurring dream as a little girl about a scary doll in an old house. Weird, I know! I recently found a doll's eye plan...

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