Forcing Flowering Branches

In the drab, grey days of February and early March, indoor color is welcome.  Most Nebraskans get a sort of “cabin fever” after being forced indoors for several months.  Fight back with some blooming branches. Simply prune off several branches from spring flowering trees and shrubs and plunk them in a large vase of water. …

My Favorite Gardening Books

In recognition of February as National Library Lovers’ Month, I’m going to share my favorite gardening books with you.  The Undaunted Garden—Planting for Weather-Resilient Beauty by Lauren Springer (ISBN 1-55591-115-3) has everything a gardener wants—colorful pictures of great gardens, a directory of tough plants (also with great pictures), and Springer’s straightforward narrative. The single best…

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…

National Plan Vacation Day–Include A Botanical Garden!

It’s National Plan Vacation Day! In recognition of a gardener’s favorite vacation site–the botanical garden–we’re running this article that appeared in the December 2017 Master Gardener newsletter Roots & Shoots from Master Gardener Connie Lowndes. Enjoy! Horticulture Traveling on a Dime: Nebraska Statewide Arboretum Pass by Connie Lowndes, Master Gardener We love our Nebraska Statewide Arboretum…

Seed swapping and understanding seed packets

This time of year is the perfect time to think about swapping or buying seeds to get ready for the coming year.  But many people are often confused about some of the language used on seed packets.  What exactly does hybrid mean? or heirloom?  What a bout non-GMO?  

Winter Interest in the Landscape

As an arborist, horticulturist, etc. I always get the question – “what should I plant in my landscape?”….to which I answer, “First, take an inventory of what is there now, and plant something different”…an appeal to increase diversity.  A common second answer is “Plant something that is appealing in all seasons, or at least in…

Denver Botanical Garden

Hailed as one of the top 5 botanical gardens in the US and often referred to as an oases in the city, the Denver Botanical Garden is a must on your places to visit.  This week on the GROBigRed Blog we are talking about vacation destinations. I had the pleasure of visiting the Denver Botanical…

African violet no more!

I am a huge African violet nut.  Huge.  African violets belong to the family Gesneriaceae and belong in the genus Saintpaulia.  Until recently taxonomist have pretty much left this genus of plants alone.  At one time there was about 21 recognized species of African violets until a few years ago when the “Great Merger” occurred. …

How Much?

How much water should I give my houseplant?  Simple.  You water until it comes out of the bottom of the pot.  We often get asked to quantify the amount that is needed.  Does it need to be a cup (8 oz.), a few tablespoons, or a gallon?  Every container is different in size and the…

Witchhazel

What is your favorite late fall flowering tree?  Or what is your favorite mid-winter flowering shrub?  If you didn’t think common witchhazel (Hamamelis virginiana) let me introduce the two of you.  Witchhazel (sometimes seen as witch hazel) is a small tree or large shrub that can be either multi stem or single trunk reaching between…

The Dirt on Dirt

So what is it with dirt anyway?  Dirt, otherwise known as soil, is either greatly loved by gardeners or the source of endless complaints. In recognition of World Soil Day, let’s tip our hats to this much maligned, often disrespected, contributor to plant growth. One clear thing about soil—if it’s a healthy soil, then there…