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…

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…