It’s The Berries

As autumn’s colorful leaves fall to the ground, our attention turns to berries as a source of color in our landscapes and for cuttings to grace our tables and entryways. Crabapples represent some of the most reliable of spring’s breathtaking flowers, but the fruit they produce also offer an array of yellow, orange and red…

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…

Fall Garden Clean Up

When cleaning up the fall garden, it’s hard to know what should be cleared away and what should stay.  Gurus of tidiness opt for removing everything now in order to start with a clean slate in the spring.  But is there such a thing as too much tidiness?  It turns out that, yes indeed, that…

The Benefits of Fallen Leaves

It’s too bad autumn’s fallen leaves are seen as a nuisance, something to be gotten rid of as soon as possible. In truth, they are a boon to landscapes, serving as mulches, benefiting soils, and boosting our compost piles. Not only are leaf piles fun to jump in and make for great leaf fights, by…

Spiny Solanums

Over the last few weeks I’ve talked about perennials and how common names can inherently hurt them.   However, this week the plant that has caught my eye and has recently become a new obsession is the porcupine tomato Solanum pyracanthos.  Unlike other plants with a misleading common name, this one delivers.  Yes this is a…

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…

Late Summer in the Landscape

Late summer/early fall brings us a host of “to-do’s and not to-do’s” in the landscape.  First, a couple of not to dos: *Avoid fertilization of trees, shrubs and perennial flowers.  Fertilization at this time tends to promote new growth, which would likely be injured by upcoming fall frosts. *Don’t water with the same frequency and…

Freshen Up Patio Planters

In midsummer, patio plants, window boxes and other containers can get a bit bedraggled looking.  In order to help them look new and fresh again, consider the 5 R’s:   Reduce – Trim out the growth that has become scraggly.  Carefully cutting away the tissue that is wayward allows for sunlight penetration and air flow…

Leaf Scorch

Leaf scorch, also called sunscald, is the bronzing of leaf surfaces and crisping of leaf edges.  Even plants that are well-adapted to our climate can be scorched.  Plants have amazing resiliency, especially when Mother Nature eases them into changing seasons.  But taking into consideration a spring like this one—cold and rainy—then an abrupt change to…

Early Summer Stress

What happened to spring?  We know that Southeast Nebraska and Southwest Iowa can have some challenging weather to contend with, but this caught us all off guard.  We are getting calls asking how this will affect our landscape plants and what can be done to mitigate damage.  We experienced record heat over Memorial Day that…