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My last article was about my favorite gardening things. If you are a gardener, I hope you got some great gardening tools for Christmas. I received a cool handmade garden sign that says "Darla's Garden" from my son and his girlfriend. I'm pretty sure she was the creative designer behind the sign, but it was a group effort! They made it from teak wood and burned the lettering on the sign with a wood burning tool.

I searched online The Wood Database for teak trees and I discovered that the wood is imported to the U.S., which would explain its steep price. Teak is cultivated on tropical plantations worldwide in regions of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Teak wood is used for ship and boat building, outdoor construction, and in outdoor furniture. It has many other additional uses because it is decay and termite resistant.

It is interesting how seemingly different plants can be in the same family. For example, teak trees are in the Lamiaceae family which includes many aromatic plants that are widely used culinary herbs. Basil, rosemary, sage, marjoram, oregano, thyme, mint, and lavender are also in the Lamiaceae family. As you can see, my Christmas gift inspired me to do a little teak research.

Now, from the Department of Youth Gardening: we won't be meeting with kids on our regularly scheduled third Saturdays in January and February. We will however, be meeting with "Kids Club" at Douglas Hart Nature Center on February 23rd. Call DHNC if you are interested in having your children participate in their event. We have a great garden themed craft planned.

In addition, if you are available on February 17th, Coles County Master Gardeners have a fantastic educational event planned at the Lifespan Center. Call the U of I Extension Center to get details and to register. I hope you can join us!

If you have other questions about your garden or landscape, feel free to contact a Master Gardener volunteer at the University of Illinois Extension office in Charleston at 217-345-7034. You can also check out the many horticulture webpages at the U of I Extension’s website by visiting http://web.extension.illinois.edu/ccdms/ . And be sure to like the Master Gardeners’ Facebook page, at www.facebook.com/ColesCountyMasterGardeners.

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