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Horticulture Educator Comments

The most common questions to our MG HelpLine continue to be about trees. Here are some resources on these topics to read and share with others. The Home, Yard, and Garden Pest Newsletter provides updates throughout the growing season. The Plant Clinic has factsheets on Spruce Problems, Oak Problems, and much more.

It is with great pride and joy that we announce the 2017 Outstanding Illinois Master Gardener Award has been given to May Bach, Jennifer Bass, and Kathy Edwards. We are further delighted to announce that the Wildlife Federation Mayor's Monarch Habitat, a Tazewell team initiative, has been selected to receive the 2017 Illinois Master Gardener Teamwork Award. A hearty congratulations to one and all! We look forward to the award ceremony Friday September 8th during the Illinois Master Gardener Conference in Normal as well as local recognition events.

Congratulations to Sue Grabb for advancing to active MG status! Sue trained with the 2016 class. The majority of Sue’s volunteer time has been done at the Peoria 1st Church of the Brethren children’s courtyard where she helps kids grow and harvest tomatoes.  

Welcome to our 20 new trainees. They come to us from Canton, Peoria, Cuba, Bartonville, Hickory Hills, Washington, Dunlap, Hanna City, Tremont, Bryant, Pekin, Farmington, and Morton. We also have one out-of-state transfer attending a few training sessions. Training begins September 5 in Peoria and runs weekly through November 7. As always, active MGs are welcome to join us at any training session to earn volunteer and/or educational hours. Since seating is limited at some venues, please let Ian know if you plan to attend.

Your Master Volunteer Advisory Committee meets November 6 in Peoria. Both outgoing and incoming members attend this meeting. Agenda items include year-end paperwork and reporting, 2018 events and training, and more. Please let your local rep know if you have items that need discussed.

Here are the topics for the fall Four Season Gardening Series. We encourage everyone to participate from home via the live webinar or you can watch the YouTube video any time after the live session. These are not only informative but a great way to get continuing education hours. Contact us one week prior if you need to view these from an Extension office.

  • Therapeutic Hort, Candice Hart- Sept. 7 @ 6:30
  • Carnivorous Plants, Ken Johnson- Sept. 19 @ 1:30 & Sept. 21 @ 6:30
  • Butterfly ID, Kelly Allsup- Oct. 3 @ 1:30 & Oct. 5 @ 6:30

More information on these and other events is available in our online google calendar.

The 2018 annual volunteer agreement and other required paperwork will be mailed in early October. It will also include paperwork for those that need to update their background checks, which must be done every five years. Agreements, background check forms, and 2017 online hours to-date are all due on November 17.

Please let Ian, Paula or me know if we can help you in any way as you “Help Others Learn to Grow” in your local communities. Reach us at 309-543-3308,,, or


Have a wonderful fall!

Rhonda J. Ferree


Master Naturalist Updates

Master Naturalist Quarterly Meeting - Save the date!

October 16 is the next Master Naturalist quarterly meeting in Fulton County. Final details are being worked on and will be announced soon.


Lick Creek Restoration

The Pekin Park District and the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission are looking for volunteers. Volunteers are needed to assist in removing non-native Bush Honeysuckle Friday, September 15; Saturday, October 7; and Wednesday, October 18 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. each day.

On Saturday, November 4 and Friday, November 17 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. each day, volunteers are also needed to help plant native shrubs, plugs and seed. Food and drink will be provided.

This volunteer work is part of an Illinois American Water Environmental Grant Program project to improve a portion of the Lick Creek corridor within McNaughton Park off IL. Route 98. Volunteers can be individuals, families, scout groups, church groups, businesses, anyone interested in helping to improve the environment and water quality. For more information about this volunteer stewardship program, or if interested in taking part and signing up to help, please contact Cameron Bettin, Executive Director of the Pekin Park District, at 309-353-4328, or by e-mail at


Space is still available for the St. Louis Zoo - Bus Trip

Since its inception in 1910, the St. Louis Zoo has been renowned for its beautiful naturalistic exhibits and its diverse collection of animals from the major continents and biomes of the world.

The mission of the Saint Louis Zoo is to conserve animals and their habitats through animal management, research, recreation, and educational programs that encourage the support and enrich the experience of the public.

Located on 90 acres in Forest Park, the Saint Louis Zoo is home to more than 603 species of animals, many of them rare and endangered. The Zoo annually attracts 3 million visitors, who can see more than 14,840 wild animals, not including the thousands of leafcutter ants and butterflies at the Zoo.

Bus Trip Itinerary - Peoria Charter - Thurs., Oct. 5, 2017

  • 6:00 am pick up at Peoria Extension office, 4810 N Sheridan. Bus will leave when fully loaded or depart at 6:00 am
  • 7:00 am pick up at Hardees, 401 W Dearborn St, Havana. Bus will leave when fully loaded or depart at 7:10 am
  • 9:45 am arrival at St. Louis Zoo
  • 10:00 Tour of the Conservation Research Lab & discussion conservation efforts coming out of zoo research
  • Lunch is on your own, or you may bring a sack lunch, coolers will be available
  • 3:00 - 3:15 pm board bus to head home. Bus will leave at 3:15 sharp
  • 6:00 pm return to Hardees, 401 W Dearborn St, Havana
  • 7:10 pm return to Peoria Extension office, 4810 N Sheridan, Peoria

$85 7/22 - 9/7, and late registration after 9/8 is $90. Registration includes bus charter, a tour of conservation research lab, water & snacks. Lunch is on your own at the zoo, or you may bring a sack lunch. 

A detailed itinerary will be handed out the day of the trip.

Please direct all questions to Christine Belless at


Fulton/Mason Master Gardener Updates

The Fulton and Mason County Master Gardeners are excited about hosting our next four-county MG meeting. It will be November 2 at Big Creek Park in Canton. Join them to meet MGs from other counties, reconnect with friends, and learning something new. Click here for more information.

The July 6 Master Gardener meeting was held at the home of Terry Meade. Terry demonstrated for to make a “draped hypertufa planter” which is a concrete flower planter, made from just an old towel and some concrete.

Kathy Phillips presented a volunteer opportunity to help the school district, city of Canton, and the Canton park district to plant plants that will attract pollinators. For more information please contact Kathy.

Janice ask if the garden club could take over the “bright spot” activity, Terry agreed this was a good idea. Janice will look to expand the program.

Mary Lou reported that MG training was on schedule. Fulton and Mason will host the training on October 3rd (Vegetables), October 10th (Annuals & Perennials), and October 17 at Spoon River College (Botany & Landscaping). Sessions start at 9:00 AM and end at 4:00 PM. If you can help please contact  Mary Lou.

The August 28 meeting was hosted by Art and Jeff in Havana. Master Gardeners joined the Mason County Fairgrounds Junior Master Gardeners and their families for a garden tour a potluck. Art and Jeff led the groups in fun flower judging and food crop identification activities.

The next meeting will be September 25 at 5:00 pm at Janice’s house where she and Kathy Edwards will discuss dry flowers.

For complete monthly meeting minutes, click HERE and go to the bottom of the Page.

Peoria Master Gardener Updates

The Peoria MGs met on August 16 with a program by Master Naturalist Mike Contratta about the Coal Creek Project. For minutes from that meeting and detailed project updates on the following projects, click HERE and go to the bottom of the Page.

Peoria Riverfront Farmer's Market Master Gardener Information Booth. We have experienced a beautiful summer at the booth this 2017 season.  It rained the very first day, but no worries, as we were under the shelter of the parking garage.  We had two - yes, only two - Saturday mornings that were a little steamy, but the rest of all our Saturdays from the beginning of May into August have been beautiful. Click above to learn more. ~ May Bach, Project Chair

ICC Landscape & Garden Day. Click the link above for the flyer. Please help promote this great event. ~Phil Adams, Project Chair.

Prospect United Methodist Church Memorial Garden. The summer was spent grooming the garden, planting, weeding, and trimming.  Many of the plants such as sedum, lambs ear, and tiger lilies have begun to fill in and give the garden color throughout the growing season. Click above to learn more. ~Barb Wickness, Project Chair

Sterling Garden. Just a quick update on the Sterling garden.  I had a bit of time last Friday to stop at the garden.  Everything looks fabulous.  There were 2 inches of rain in the rain gauge. The Japanese beetles are still around, but haven't killed anything.  I picked zucchini, a few jalapeños, and some burgundy bush beans.  No tomatoes yet.  I'm going over this afternoon to pull weeds.  There are several!  I'll also water if necessary. Click above to learn more. ~Kathy McLaughlin, Project Chair

Butterfly Habitat at Wildlife Prairie Park. Mel Anderson, Patricia M, Bonnie H and I had a good day at the habitat today. It was overcast and in the 70s all day so only a few butterflies were flying. Fortunately the Giant Swallowtails were posing for pictures. We also saw about 200 people and people were very interested to see the Silvery Checkerspot eggs, the Swallowtails, and Pipevine caterpillars. Kids enjoyed holding the dead swallowtails...we also showed the Spicebush Swallowtail chrysalis that was in the shoe box and never enclosed. Click above to learn more. ~Louise Bassett, Project Chair

Jubilee Butterfly Garden. The Open House at Jubilee College Historic Site on Saturday, August 5, 2017 featured tours of Jubilee College, the Jubilee Butterfly garden, the Jubilee Churchyard Cemetery and the Jubilee Prairie.  In addition, twelve guests were featured to contribute their interests and expertise to the day's events. Click above to learn more. ~Patricia Melaik, Project Chair

Jubliee Prairie Dawgs. The 3200 acres of Jubilee College State Park have recreational, historic and conservation value. Click above to view more facets of Jubilee College State Park. ~Doug Franks, Jubilee Prairie Dawgs

Our next meeting will be Wednesday, September 20. The program is “Spotlighting Our Gardens,” where panel members show highlights of their own gardens for 5-10 minutes each. If you would like to be on the panel, see Pat or Jane. Program begins at 1pm; social time begins at 12:30 in the Peoria Extension Office.  Our membership meeting will follow at 2pm.  Please join us!

Jill Meints

Tazewell Master Gardener Updates

The program for the night was “What’s Cooking?”  Members brought a dish to the potluck made with something they grew in the garden and also shared garden stories with the group.

Congratulations to Margaret Kelly for winning an Illinois State Outstanding Master Gardener award and to Susan McCabe and the Monarch Project for winning an Illinois State Master Gardener Teamwork award.

Plant Bingo-Plant Bingo will be held June 7, 2018 at the Festival Building in East Peoria. 

New Master Gardener Training-Margaret Kelly passed out sign-up sheets for help and snack donations.  Tazewell County is responsible for Sept. 19, Sept. 26, and October 25th.  She is also looking for mentors for the new interns.

Green Valley Garden-Kathy Baker reported the garden is doing well and the food is being donated to local food pantries.

ICC Garden & Workshops-Lee Maki reported there were 30 people at the last ICC workshop. The workshops have been very well attended this year and we are getting lots of positive feedback. Definitely a program we want to continue next year.

Mackinaw Garden-Dee Brown thanked Suzanne Cook for the yellow cannas. Lots of positive comments on them. All flower beds look good.

Morton Giving Garden-Trudy reported they have planted a fall planting of lettuce, spinach, radishes, beets, cucumbers and zucchini.  They have currently donated over 2200 lbs. of produce to We Care and Hope Chest.

National Wildlife Federation Mayor’s Monarch Pledge Garden-Susan has harvested over 150 caterpillars which have been donated to schools in Pekin and Peoria so the school kids can witness the life cycle of the monarch.

Pekin Main Street-Suzanne Cook reported the planters look good. She cleaned up the elephant ears last week. They will not be planting mums this year.  In about a month they will be removing the plants and preparing the pots for winter if anyone is interested in helping.

Washington Community Garden-Lee Maki reported produce is down somewhat from last year.  Their green beans and cabbage are doing well.  Cucumbers and zucchini did well earlier in the season.  Tomatoes are finally ripening.

Calendar of Events

Regular County MG meetings

Peoria – usually the 3rd Wed at 12:30 pm in Peoria office (February through November)

Tazewell – usually the 4th Monday at 6 pm in Pekin office (March through November)

Fulton & Mason –usually the 4th Monday at 6 pm in the Lewistown office 


  • September 8 – MG State Conference in Bloomington
  • September 9 – ICC's 37th annual Landscape & Garden Day on Saturday, 9am-3pm.
  • September 12 - Native or Exotic plants at Tremont library garden club meeting by Maki and Keene
  • September 19, 1:30 & September 21, 6:30 - Four Seasons Webinar: Carnivorous Plants, Ken Johnson
  • September 20– Peoria MG meeting and A panel on “Spotlighting Our Gardens
  • September 25th – 5:00 pm Fulton/Mason MG Meeting-Host Janice R. & Kathy E. - @ Janice’s house – dry flowers
  • September 25 – Tazewell MG meeting and program Jason Haupt on composting with worms.
  • 3, 1:30 & Oct. 5, 6:30 - Four Seasons Webinar: Butterfly ID, Kelly Allsup
  • October 5 – Master Naturalist St Louis Zoo Bus trip
  • October 18– Peoria MG meeting and program Nancy Cooper on Garden Therapy
  • October 23rd 6:00 pm Fulton/Mason MG Meeting-Host Jane & Bev. R. - @ Fulton Co. Ext. Office
  • October 23 – Tazewell MG meeting and program Susan McCabe on monarchs
  • Nov 2, 6 pm - Unit-wide MG meeting at Big Creek Park in Canton
  • November 6 (13) MV Advisory Committee in Peoria
  • November 17 – Deadline for MG year-end forms and data


For details call 309-543-3308 or view google calendar at