Ryan Pankau

Ryan Pankau

In the Garden | Make your own 'black gold'

One of the single best things you can do to improve your garden soil is to add organic matter. By adding significant amounts of organic matter, you are putting fuel back into the nutrient cycle, which naturally adds plant nutrients to our soil and lessens (or eliminates) the need for fertilizer.

In the Garden | Live horticultural advice

The world of horticulture is ever changing with an increasing interest among plant lovers for more and more digital media.

In the Garden | Helping feathered friends on their long haul

Autumn is not only a time of brilliant fall colors, but also a time to observe the annual bird migration that spans our continent.

Many of our feathered friends travel amazingly great distances to reach warmer climates with abundant food for winter. This lengthy journey spans thousands of miles, requiring birds to expend a ton of energy in the effort.

In the Garden | Other fall colors

Most of us think of tree leaves when we think about beautiful fall foliage, but many ornamental grasses provide wonderful fall color that often extends well into the winter season.

Right now is an excellent time to observe these grasses in the landscape and consider how we might integrate them into our own gardens.

In the Garden | Protecting an herbal mainstay

In recent years, herbs have gained a larger presence in my home gardens. Not only do these plants provide wonderful, fresh garnish for many of our favorites recipes, but they can also be a source of ornamental value, as well as great pollinator plants when in bloom.

In the Garden | Fall colors galore

Illinois forests are dominated by a mixture of eastern deciduous forest trees, and many of our urban areas mirror this forest composition, creating a wonderful palette of fall colors each year as the growing season concludes and tree leaves senesce, giving way to winter dormancy.

In the Garden | A valuable native plant

This week marks the halfway point for the 2018 Illinois ginseng harvesting season, which runs from the first Saturday in September through Nov. 1. Did you even know that ginseng grows in Illinois, let alone the fact that there is a regulated harvest of this valuable native plant?

In the Garden | Idea Garden at UI getting picked over

Since its beginnings in 1997, the Idea Garden has been maintained by the Champaign County Master Gardeners and ever-improved throughout the years. This beautiful yet educational community garden has grown to occupy more than 15,000 square feet of the University of Illinois Arboretum, near the corner of Lincoln and Florida avenues in Urbana.

In the Garden | Identifying a common outdoor enemy

Among the plants that grow in the Illinois landscape, poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) is perhaps the most notorious. This plant is certainly well known by name among most gardeners, naturegoers and outdoor folks, but many are unable to identify it correctly in the field.

In the Garden | Natural approach to lawn care in spotlight

During the growing season, questions about lawn or turf care are quite common at the Champaign County Extension office. Among the many questions we receive, there is growing interest in natural or more sustainable lawn-care practices.

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