Tree Galls

Galls are structures made up of plant tissue, forming in response to the saliva of mites or small insects as they feed. The number and variety of galls found on trees in our landscapes are closely associated with the weather and how conducive it is to gall-producing arthropod populations. Galls happen every year, it’s just…

Rhubarb

Rhubarb, Rheum rhabarbarum, is an easy-to-grow perennial that lends a delightfully tart taste to pies, crisps and jams. The fact it is a perennial means there’s no extra labor to grow plants annually from seed like you do for the vegetable garden. The edible part of rhubarb, the petiole (also called a stalk), is technically…

Woodland Phlox

Woodland phlox, Phlox divaricata, also known as wild sweet William, is a shade-loving perennial that produces lavender blue five-petalled flowers in spring. It has a wonderfully long bloom season. In my garden, it has been sending out flowers for a solid month now.   Woodland phlox does best under trees in soils rich in humus….

Foraging

“Foraging” refers to the gathering of wild edibles for food to grace our table. Historically, the human race began as hunter-gatherers, gleaning food from what was found, not raised. With the growing interest in fresh and local, there has been a resurgence of interest in foraging for wild edibles.   Morel mushrooms have always had…

Putting “Earth” in Earth Day

The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970 to celebrate all things plant, water, and air. What’s not celebrated is that unsung hero—earth—not in reference to our planet, but earth, the stuff we plant in. Otherwise known as soil, dirt, land, and loam, earth supports most plant life on planet Earth. Yet earth is little…

The Northern Pecan Tree

April 14 is National Pecan Day. What better way to celebrate the day than planting your very own northern pecan tree, Carya illinoinensis. Native to southern Wisconsin and the northern parts of Illinois and Iowa and extending south to Texas, the northern pecan can handle winter temperatures as low as -35 degrees F. It has…

March’s Garden Bits

If you’re at home and practicing social distancing, the one bit of good news in all of this is that we can be outside to tinker with plants. Spring is an exciting time, full of promise and possibilities. If you’re not a gardener, no worries, learning how to garden is a trial and error process….

Gardening Projects

What really sets Nebraska Extension Master Gardeners apart from garden clubs is their dedication to learning Best Management Practices, the cornerstone of what the land grant university has to offer, whether it is an invasive insect, a tough weed to manage, or a proven plant variety to try. This dedication to learning shows in the…

February’s Garden Basket

February, March and April are busy months for the Nebraska Extension Master Gardener program. Master Gardener Interns are participating in classes, on their way to becoming certified Master Gardeners. The classes are intensive, covering botany, plant diseases, landscape design, bug boot camp, and plant management. Once coursework is complete, Master Gardener volunteers hit the ground…

The Amaryllis

Of all the holiday plants, the amaryllis boasts some of the largest flowers and can be one of the easiest to grow for next year’s re-bloom. Bulbs received as gifts can be planted right away and their fast growth will amaze everyone, even those with brown thumbs. Hybridization has greatly expanded the red-flowered offerings of…