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U OF ILLINOIS RELEASES NEW WEBSITE, APP WITH INFORMATION ON HERBS AND ORNAMENTAL GRASSES
Source: University of Illinois news release

University of Illinois Extension is offering two new resources for both gardeners and professional horticulturalists wanting expert advice at the click of a button.

A new U of I Extension website offers in-depth cultural information about 31 popular herbs, including favorites such as dill, cilantro, lavender, rosemary, and thyme. Other lesser known herbs featured on the website include bay laurel, borage, and chervil.

"In addition, the site contains information on how to harvest herbs for top quality and includes a variety of ways to dry or freeze them," said Jane Scherer, a U of I Extension specialist. "A bonus to the site is a link to a few tested recipes to help you start using fresh herbs in cooking."

Scherer said that while herbs have traditionally been thought of as plants useful in medicinal, culinary, or fragrance purposes, they also offer a great deal of ornamental value to the garden and are great in containers by a front door, on the patio, or even a balcony, she said.

Greg Stack, an Extension horticulturist, compiled the information for the herbs website. He explained that the website is an expanded, updated version of a previous Extension site.

Extension has also introduced an Android app covering information on ornamental grasses useful for Midwestern gardens. The app includes basic information about warm- and cool-season grasses, planting and care instructions, as well as a directory of 21 different grasses that do well in the Midwest. Each grass in the directory has a photo as well as a description and growing information.

The app also includes YouTube videos pertinent to ornamental grasses. A special feature is that users can create a collection of photographs of their own grasses or grasses they are considering. This app is geared toward Master Gardeners, garden center personnel, landscapers, and others interested in horticulture.

Stack also prepared the information for the Android app on ornamental grasses. "We're trying to get this information put into the hands of folks in a format that they are comfortable and familiar with, and have access to. The website and android app are just another way to do that," he said.

"Once visitors get into the app, they can pick out the most common grasses and get more detailed information on care and maintenance, where they grow, and how to handle them. The app can allow them to get information even at a garden center when they are trying to make a decision as to what type of grass to purchase," he said.

To visit the herbs website, go to http://urbanext.illinois.edu/herbs/. Access to the ornamental grasses app is at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/state/apps.cfm, and will soon be available on iTunes.


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