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Rhonda Ferree's ILRiverHort

Rhonda Ferree's Horticulture Blog

Four Seasons Gardening Program Offers Winter Series

The winter 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 winter series is titled Spring Flowering Bulbs . Spring flowering bulbs...

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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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pool view on 9-17-12

Gardening in August

While walking around our yard last night my husband Mark commented that our gardens look better than ever. We usually spend August enjoying the garden instead of working in it all the time. Still there are several activities that can be done in August. First and foremost, don't let up on mosquito control. Dump the water! Mosquitoes will grow in almost anything that holds water. Take a walk aro...

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nasty webinar

Naughty, Nasty, and Simply Annoying Plants

See YouTube webinar on this topic. University of California Ranking System Dermatitis: Plant's sap may cause a skin rash or irritation. Major Toxicity: Plants may cause serious illness or death. Minor Toxicity: Ingesting plant may cause minor illnesses such as vomiting or diarrhea...

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Spiders…Fascinating, yet Frustrating

I have a love-hate relationship with spiders. I am continually fascinated when watching a spider spin its web. However, cleaning up cobwebs can be very frustrating. Spiders are abundant (over 1,000,000 individuals per acre in a grassy field) and can be found almost anywhere from the bedroom closet to the 22,000-foot level on Mt. Everest. They are beneficial, feeding mostly on small inse...

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