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…

Fragrant Solomon’s Seal

In the last two weeks besides being asked what to do about Japanese beetles I am getting bombarded with questions about what to plant in the shade besides hosta.  True enough there are only so many different types of green hosta that you can plant in the shade and this is where Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum…

Japanese Beetles 2018—Preparing for the Onslaught

Gardeners, plant aficionados and tree owners are battening down the hatches for the onslaught of Japanese beetles this growing season.  Here are some commonsense ideas for dealing with these voracious eaters. First, control measures for Japanese beetle (JB) grubs in the soil will help minimize damage to the turfgrass but does not create a force…

Fields of White & Gold

“Weeds are flowers, too, once you get to know them.” A.A. Milne Who doesn’t love dandelions?  They are the most well recognized flower anywhere you go.  Kids love them and enjoy watching the delicate seeds drift in the wind.  Well, when you grow up and have to deal with them in the lawn it becomes…

Weed Appreciation Day—In Praise of Dandelions

Weed Appreciation Day is March 28 and in recognition of this important day, I’m writing about the common dandelion. The dandelion, Taraxacum officinale, is a cool season perennial, having some of the first leaves to develop in early spring.  Leaves can be used in salads and are high in potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium and vitamins…

Rain Garden Plants

Okay so I’ve been lagging behind getting my blogs out this past month.  Getting back into the swing of things this week I wanted to talk about choosing plants for rain gardens.  When we think of rain gardens we think of plants that will be submerged all the time like aquatic/pond plants.  However, this is…

Interesting Insect Books

To cap off our library lover’s week I would like to encourage to check out the insect books your local library may have. If you go to the science section you should look for the 595 library number range. There you’ll find books on spiders, myriapods (millipedes/centipedes), insects and other arthropods. Depending on what you…

Three Must Have Books

This week on the GROBigRed Blog we are celebrating National Library Lover’s Month and the books that we love to use.  I want to share two of my go-to books and a new addition that I am excited to have this year. Field Guide to Wildflowers of Nebraska and the Great Plains (ISBN 978-1-60938-071-7) by…

Seedling Trees-An Economical Way to Purchase Trees

If you’re a fan of trees like I am, it can be frustrating to purchase the number and variety of trees you’re dreaming of without busting the budget.  Look no further than many of the state tree seedling programs to fill the gap.  Granted, you may have to buy bundles of 25 to 50 at…

Now You Have a Good Reason For Not Tidying the Garden!

My friend, Master Gardener Cheryl Gresham, wrote last week about pollinators, cautioning gardeners about the importance of not being as tidy when we ready the garden for winter. I’m going to expand on Cheryl’s idea. Of the native bees, about 30% continue their life cycle in the hollow stems of plants.  Female bees lay their…

Winter Prep for Our Pollinators and Other Friends

Nebraska Extension Master Gardeners are individuals who are passionate about gardening and sharing research-proven solutions.  Potential volunteers apply and go through an interview to be selected as an intern.  They will receive over 48 hours of initial education from experts in soils, botany, landscape design and more and give back 40 hours of volunteer service…