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…

Calibrachoa

2018 is the Year of the Calibrachoa according to the National Garden Bureau, a non-profit green industry group based out of Chicago.  Each year, the NGB touts an underutilized or novel plant that has big potential in the garden world and this year is no different.  If you’re wondering about the name, you may have…

The Hard Truth about Rocks at the Bottom of Planting Containers

As we get our containers ready for planting our amazing annuals or that coveted tomato plant, conventional “wisdom” dictates we must first add an inch or so of gravel.  Problematic? You bet! Rocks in the bottom of containers do not contribute to better draining soils and healthier plants.  Instead, plant roots encounter saturated soils that…

Garden Gnome

Garden gnomes.  Are they cute or whimsical or just a waste of space?  I for one, think they are adorable and should grace any garden.  They have been around for centuries some literature date them back to the 1600’s but they didn’t hit mainstream until German 1800’s. Phillip Griebel popularized these mythical creatures in Germany…