Helen’s Flower

Helen’s flower, Helenium autumnale, is a native perennial of the sunflower family, producing show-stopping 2-inch flowers in colors of yellow, gold, orange, red or variations in between.  The notched petals, surrounding a yellowish brown globular cone, are a nice touch, giving the flowers the appearance of a ruffled skirt. The specific epithet “autumnale” refers to…

Flowering Plants for the August Garden

When it comes to August’s garden, many gardeners, plant enthusiasts and landscapers are willing to skip the month entirely because of the challenge posed by the seemingly few plants that provide interest during August. I’d like to challenge that notion, mainly because August is a perfectly fine month of frost-free weather and why not make…

Double Trouble

Visit any of your favorite garden centers and you will see new introductions of old familiar favorites.  For instance the purple coneflower is no longer purple.  It comes a range of colors from red, yellow, orange, green, and white.  You will even find cultivars where the traditional cone has been modified into flower petals often…

Caterpillars on Coneflowers

The silvery checkerspot caterpillar, Chlosyne nycteis, can be found right now, happily munching away on the leaves of sunflower, aster, Echinacea, goldenrod and Rudbeckia.  The checkerspot caterpillar has branched spines on its back that are black in color. Sometimes the caterpillars will have an orange stripe or two.  Depending on weather conditions, there will be…

Newly Planted Trees, Shrubs, Perennials – Aftercare

You’ve installed some new trees, shrubs and perennials…now what?  In order to keep them looking great, there are a few simple care steps that should follow planting, especially in June.   A thorough soaking of water, followed by moisture monitoring. Nothing special here; use a sprinkler can to place water evenly throughout the entire root…

Going Soft

After cleaning up the damage to my plants from the hail storm on May 28th I didn’t cut back the damaged flower spikes to my German iris.  Not sure why I didn’t.  Probably because the flower stalks had injury but they didn’t seem to need immediate care. However, making that deceisoin I probably did more…

Hail of a Day

For many of us in the Omaha area we woke up early May 28th to a thunderous roar of hail.  Depending on the location in town the size of the hail stones ranged from pea to quarter sized.  Our back yard it was quarter sized and lasted for about 10 minutes. Large leafed plants took…

Tangled Roots and Potting Soil

Getting annuals, veggies and perennials off to a good start in container gardens is crucial to their success.  This starts with choosing well branched, stocky plants and examining the roots. First, gently squeeze the pot between your hands or fingers and then tease the root mass out.  Inspect the roots.  They should be white, bright…

Other Iris

Most of us at some point in time have grown German iris or bearded iris?  What about Iris reticulata, I. histroides, I. cristata?  All three of these iris are considered species types and do well in the the Omaha Metro. Iris reticulata also goes by Dutch iris and is grown from a bulb unlike their…

Winter Water

The weather the past few days in the Omaha Metro area has been fantastic!  If you had a chance to get out this past weekend I am sure you saw people taking full advantage of the weather.  Many of us went for a walk or took down Christmas decorations on the house.  But how many…