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Rhonda Ferree's ILRiverHort

Rhonda Ferree's Horticulture Blog
Post General  1

Four Seasons Gardening Program Offers Summer Series

The summer 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 series is titled Beneficial Insects: Garden Warriors . Join extension ho...

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Cherry pie rose is a show-stopper in my garden! on 7-13-12
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The Incredible, Edible Rose

Roses are beautiful, but did you know that they are also edible? Rose flower petals and fruits (hips) add color, texture, scent, and flavor to various dishes and beverages. My go-to edible rose is the rugosa rose ( R. rugosa ). It is native to Asia but rarely escapes cultivation. This small to medium rounded shrub is primarily grown for its showy white, yellow, pink, or purple fl...

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Serviceberry…Beautiful Trees with Tasty Fruit

Serviceberries are beautiful native trees with tasty edible fruit. Recently I picked several fruits to eat with cereal and freeze for smoothies. Usually, the birds beat me to the fruit, but this year my tree has such a large crop that I was able to share. Serviceberry ( Amelanchier sp.), also called Juneberry, are native here. I often see them growing along streams and rivers. T...

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strawberry

Grow Your Own Strawberries

Have you had fresh strawberries yet this year? They are great when eaten fresh from the garden, and it is easy to grow your own. If you don't grow them yet, consider planting some next spring, which is the best time to plant new strawberries. Strawberries can be grown in the ground or containers. There are three types of strawberries grown in Illinois: June bearing or spring bearing,eve...

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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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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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