Four-season Gardening Series Continues

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Later summer through early fall is a great time to be in the garden.  Late season vegetables are yet to be harvested, fall blossoms abound, shorter days bring on the autumn leave colors and we can review how are season went and plan for 2013!  University of Illinois Extension is presenting four programs to help you reflect and plan for next year.  The Summer/Fall series offers Beyond Ash & Maple – Tree Selection & Care, Tea Gardens, Bloomin’ Bulbs, and Coneflowers Gone CRAZY.  Each program will be offered twice for your convenience.  Both Tuesday and Thursday programs will be offered at University of Illinois Extension at 321 W 2nd. Ave., Milan IL 61264. Tuesday programs will also be offered at University of Illinois Extension at 2106 SE 3rd Street,  Aledo, IL 6123.   The presentation will be via the University of Illinois telenet system and local computer PowerPoint presentations, allowing live discussion between the instructor and gardeners throughout Illinois.   If interested please call (309)756-9978 and reserve a seat and packet of information.  Register online at

Beyond Ash & Maple – Tree Selection & Care

In the past 40 years, ash and maples have dominated the trees planted around homes, and for good reasons.  Most ash and maples are fast growers and adapted to many types of soils.  Specific named selections provided outstanding fall color and limited seed production. However, the Emerald Ash borer signaled the end to ash planting.  And maples, long a staple in the landscape, are overplanted like the ash, making them the potential next plant to suffer, just like the American elm and American chestnut did. While there is no perfect tree, there are many adapted to Illinois landscapes.  Selecting something different cuts down the risks of insect or disease problems.  Coupled with proper care, trees in your landscape should form the backbone to the garden and last for decades if not centuries.  David Robson, University of Illinois Extension Specialist will present Beyond Ash and Maple – Tree Selection and Care on Tuesday, August 28th at 1:00 p.m. (Milan and Aledo) and/or Thursday August 30th at 7:00 p.m. (Milan)

Bloomin’ Bulbs

Flowering bulbs planted in autumn add cheer to gardens from mid-winter through summer. They are very easy to grow if you know a few tips. They bloom in a rainbow of hues, and a range of sizes and shapes.  Learn about plant selection, planting, care, and how to keep them coming back year after year.  Bloomin’ Bulbs, is offered September 11, 2012, 1 p.m. (Milan and Aledo) and/or September 13, 2012 at 7 p.m. (Milan)  University of Illinois Extension Horticulture Educator, Nancy Pollard, Cook County, will instruct this class.

Tea Gardens

The tradition of making and taking tea in the garden is steeped in English and Japanese garden history. Today we know that tea gardens also provide enchanting outdoor spaces that are soothing, productive, sustainable, and lovely to visit. For a new twist on local foods, learn how to create your own tea garden. Rhonda Ferree, Extension Educator in Horticulture, University of Illinois Extension will cover several types of tea gardens and the tea garden design components that make these great spaces to enjoy tea. Various plants used to make tea will also be covered.  Tea Gardens will be held on Tuesday, September 25th at 1:00 p.m. (Milan and Aledo) and on Thursday, September 27th at 7:00 p.m. (Milan)

Coneflowers gone CRAZY!

It all started harmlessly with Purple coneflower, Echinacea purprurea.  Breeders started to discover crosses between different Echinacea species offering unusual flowers and colors and the explosion began!  ‘Razzamatazz’ was the first unusual flower shaped Echinacea with unique purple double pompom flowers.  The Chicago Botanic Gardens had their breakthrough introduction ‘Orange Meadowbrite’ in 2004 and from there the new introductions have been non-stop.  But which ones really perform up to their professionally written labels?  Martha Smith, Horticulture Educator, University of Illinois Extension will explain the recent history of this coneflower craze.  Trial gardens have been studying the different cultivars and this program will introduce you to the coneflowers that have rated very high in these trials. Coneflowers gone CRAZY! will be presented on Tuesday, October 9 at 1:00 p.m. (Milan and Aledo) and/or Thursday, October 11th at 7:00 p.m. (Milan)