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…

Dutch Amaryllis

Two weeks ago I shed some light on telling the difference between the Thanksgiving and Christmas cactus (you should check it out).  This week we are diving deeper into the holiday favorites and talking about Hippeastrum. Yes you are probably scratching your head and wondering why you haven’t heard of Hippeastrum.  Trust me you have. …

I am Thankful

John Fech explains the multitude of things he is thankful for, including Nebraska Extension, the Gro Big Red team and Master Gardeners.

Outdoor Christmas Containers—Scrounging at its Finest!

  I love putting together outdoor holiday containers (except for the winter when we had so much snow that the container was soon buried and I didn’t see it again until the Spring thaw!) Collecting the materials is easy—I utilized my yard, roadside ditches and a windbreak to put together enough stems.  Altogether I collected…

Pumpkins-on-a-Stick

Nothing says Thanksgiving like pumpkins, but have you ever grown pumpkins-on-a-stick?  “Pumpkin” is a bit of misnomer because these are actually eggplant.  The flavor of this eggplant is quite bitter and is used in Asian dishes, but this doesn’t preclude using it for arrangements. The color of pumpkins-on-a-stick is outstanding and they make a great…

False Christmas Cactus

Growing up my mom always called her Christmas cactus a Thanksgiving cactus because it would be in full flower by the end of November.  Being the good son, I never questioned Mom or try to correct her.  Twenty something years and a few advance degrees later, Mom was right.  The popular plant that’s now arriving…

Plant Protection

Are your trees ready for winter?  Last week I talked about the importance of winter watering but I want to touch on woody plant protection.  Most of our herbaceous perennials die back to the ground and don’t need protection from small mammals.  However, those plants that have a persistent above ground structure, tree and shrubs,…

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 Water

When we think of droughts we often think of soaring heat, lack of rainfall and summer.  We never stop and think that a drought can happen anytime of the year in any season.  Winter droughts do as much damage, maybe even more, as summer droughts.  This is because we tend to not think about our…