University of Illinois Extension

Rhonda J. Ferree
Extension Educator, Horticulture & State Master Naturalist Coordinator
Fulton/Mason/Peoria/Tazewell Unit
127 S High St, Ste 1
Havana, IL 62644
Phone: 309-543-3308
FAX: 309-543-6239
ferreer@illinois.edu

Rhonda Ferree provides leadership and expertise in horticulture programs for both the home gardener and commercial horticulturalist with emphasis in the area of landscape horticulture. She trains and assists in coordinating the Unit's Master Gardener and Master Naturalist programs, and is the statewide coordinator for the Master Naturalist program.

Ferree graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a bachelor's degree (high honors) in ornamental horticulture and a master's degree in horticulture. She joined Extension as a specialist in pesticide safety education on the Champaign-Urbana campus, where she served for 10 years before joining the Fulton County Extension staff as a horticulture and crops educator. Ferree later served as county director in Fulton County and as associate regional director in the West Central Region office in Springfield, IL. She is presently a horticulture educator with University of Illinois Extension serving the Fulton-Mason-Peoria-Tazewell Unit.

Rhonda has won numerous Extension awards for her innovative programming and exceptional media work, including the College of ACES Professional Staff Award for Excellence; University of Illinois Extension Excellence Awards for Units, Individual and Teams; the National Association of County Agricultural Agents Distinguished Service Award; and the National Epsilon Sigma Phi Mid-Level Career Award.

Ferree's professional affiliations include the Illinois Extension Agricultural Association, National Association of County Agricultural Agents, Epsilon Sigma Phi, Illinois Green Industry Association, and Environmental Education Association of Illinois. She is also a member of the Allerton and Emiquon Corps of Discovery.

Check out her social media pages at:

Program Offerings

  1. The Edible Indoor Garden shows you how to grow your own fresh herbs, salad greens, and more any time of the year.
  2. Energy Efficient Landscaping Sustainable and energy efficient landscapes are common buzzwords in today’s gardening circles and can be overwhelming to the novice gardener. Learn tips for how your landscape can help keep your energy costs down and make your yard more environmentally friendly.
  3. Communicating Your Garden Learn how to capture your garden’s beauty through recordkeeping, journaling, photography, and sketching.
  4. The Meaning of Flowers Should you send a red or white rose to the one you love? Through the ages, various flowers and floral arrangements have taken on subtle and secret messages that allow us to express our unspoken feelings. Learn how to send the most appropriate floral message this Valentine’s Day.
  5. Landscaping for Wildlife Whether they fly, flutter, scoot or scurry, wildlife adds an extra element of excitement to our landscape, especially in winter. Discover uncomplicated and undemanding ways to develop an attractive landscape that birds, butterflies, and other wildlife will appreciate along with you.
  6. New Plant Runway Every year new plants are introduced to fit a particular horticultural need or garden niche. The best of the best is promoted each year through the various gardening organizations and plant testing groups. See the top plants this year and select a few to try in your own garden.
  7. Create a Shady Garden Respite Rhonda covers both the art and science of gardening in the shade. She’ll discuss how to garden in the shade and give a variety of plant options beyond the usual hosta and fern. You’ll also learn other elements that are needed to round out a relaxing space that connects you with nature.
  8. Tea Gardens The tradition of making and taking tea in the garden is steeped garden history. Today tea gardens also provide enchanting outdoor spaces that are soothing, productive, sustainable, and lovely to visit. This session covers 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. 
  9. How to Have Healthy Houseplants Houseplants add life and beauty to a home. Learn simple tips to select and care for houseplants. After this program, even those with “brown garden thumbs” will know how to have healthy houseplants throughout their home. (Also available: Houseplant Propagation)
  10. Lawncare Tips Lawns are an important part of most home landscapes. The secret to a lush, green lawn is proper lawn care practices. This session provides tips for establishing and maintaining the yard of your dreams.

Tranquil Landscape Series
Rhonda Ferree shares tips for creating tranquil outdoor gardens that are easy to maintain. Her “Words of Weed Wisdom” teach you how to managing weeds in your home garden and landscape. In “Creating a Shady Garden Respite”, Rhonda discusses shade garden design that is not only beautiful, but also creates a peaceful outdoor respite. Her new “Tea Gardens” program covers several types of plants grown to make tea and discusses tea garden design components that create great spaces to enjoy tea. In “Landscaping for Wildlife” you’ll discover uncomplicated and undemanding ways to develop an attractive landscape that birds, butterflies, and other wildlife will appreciate along with you.

Indoor Gardening Series
Gardening is not limited to outside in the summer. Rhonda Ferree provides tips for growing plants indoors all year long. During “How to Have Healthy Houseplants” Rhonda explains how houseplants not only add life and beauty to a home, but also help clean the indoor air.  Learn simple tips to select and care for houseplants. Learn to propagate your own houseplants using a number of different techniques during “Houseplant Propagation,” where everyone takes home a new plant. “Start Seeds Indoors” teaches how to save money and grow varieties you want to plant in your garden next spring. “The Edible Indoor Garden” shows you how to grow your own fresh herbs, salad greens, and more any time of the year.

Whimsical Garden Fun
Have fun with Rhonda Ferree as she combines the science of gardening with a bit of art and culture. “The Meaning of Flowers” will show you how to send the most appropriate floral message this Valentine’s Day, using subtle floral messages that allow us to express our unspoken feelings. In “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, & Thyme,” Rhonda will play her guitar, sing Scarborough Fair, and discuss these four beautiful herbs, including their lost herbal meanings, how to grow them, and their common uses. In “Communicating Your Garden” you’ll learn how to capture your garden’s beauty through journaling, photography, and sketching.

Do It Yourself Landscaping
Rhonda Ferree provides tips for creating your own affordable landscape. “Energy Efficient Landscaping” gives tips for how your landscape can help keep your energy costs down and make your yard more environmentally friends. “New Plant Runway” covers current top plants to try in your garden. “Bargain Gardens” provides gardening tips and ideas that will save you money. “Landscaping Renewal and Renovation” covers how to address landscapes following a disaster.

 

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