Henbit, Ground Ivy, and Speedwell

Three weeds we see at this time of year resemble each other so closely that it is often confusing as to which is which. Henbit, ground ivy, and speedwell are flowering right now so it is easy to notice them.  I’ll admit, conversations about weeds are some of people’s least favorite, but talk we must…

Snap, Crackle, Pop

Though this phrase might conjure up images of a certain breakfast cereal, it should also communicate thoughts of a durable, widely adaptable flower for the landscape – the snapdragon.  It might also bring back fond memories of gardening with your grandparents; snapdragons have been around forever and are popular across the generations.  This worthy species…

How to Become a Nebraska Extension Master Gardener

(Part 3 of 3) Nebraska Extension Master Gardeners are Extension-educated volunteers who make a difference in their communities, reaching people from all backgrounds and ethnicities about research-based gardening information. Knowing lots about gardening before joining the program is not a requirement.  Becoming a Master Gardener involves a love of learning and the ability to volunteer…

Saving Seeds

Long before the advent of seed catalogs, gardeners saved seed from their prettiest, tastiest and most promising flowers and vegetables of the gardening season, discarding the seeds from the blah, the unattractive and the poor producers.  In essence, gardeners have helped mold the shape of gardening selections, making them some of the earliest purveyors of…

Two More Weeds

I have a soft spot for weeds.  I get asked on a weekly occurrence if a plant is a weed or a flower.  I know it is frustrating to answer a question with a question but I like to ask the client if it is growing where it belongs.  When you think about it bluegrass…

Goldenrod & Ragweed

Most of you know that goldenrod (Solidago sp.) is Nebraska’s state flower.  A late summer perennial that thrives in full sun with some species doing well in dappled shade.  Goldenrod is a beacon for many of our pollinating insects feeding on the nectar and collecting the pollen.  It isn’t uncommon to see a wide array…

Two Weeds

Common names are misleading.  I often talk to clients about planting regionally native plants and two standouts are Joe Pye weed and western ironweed.  Both plants are great additions to the late season garden and benefit pollinators.  However, the first question I get after recommending them is “. . . but why do I want…

Japanese Beetles—They’re Colorful, They’re Hungry and They’re Here

The most important thing to understand about Japanese beetles is their feeding doesn’t kill trees, shrubs and flowers.  Granted, it isn’t fun to see the lacy leaves they’ve created, but pesticide management options require thought and planning before you set out for revenge. Systemic insecticides, for instance those containing the active ingredient imidacloprid, are taken…

Echinacea tennesseensis

As I write this I am far behind on my daily to-do list and was wondering what I should blog about this week.  Over the weekend I was walking through our pollinator garden and was admiring the coneflowers that are currently blooming.  We all know and love the purple coneflower, Echinacea purpurea and is probably one…

Pollinators and their Health

One third of our food supply exists because a pollinator moved pollen from one flower to another. Their quest for nectar and pollen means we reap the benefits by harvesting fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Despite the necessity of pollinators for a reliable food supply for humans, pollinator habitat is in jeopardy because of reduced food…