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 Garden Books…a Series of Sorts

When I go to a garden book, it’s usually to find an answer about specific features of a plant.  With that in mind, it’s no wonder that my favorite book is actually a series of books, connected in one way or another to the University of Illinois.  As you read down through the list, sometimes…

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…

Raised Beds Around Trees—A Good Idea??

Recently, I received an update from a favorite how-to site, which included directions for building a raised bed around a tree. This unfortunate practice leads to many dead trees, often years down the road when the tree owner no longer mentally connects the tree dying with the creation of the raised bed. Case in point,…

Mistletoe: Norse legend leads to Christmas kisses

Even though it is a symbol of love and even peace, mistletoe is truly a parasite … and poisonous. It has been celebrated and even worshipped for centuries, and still has a “naughty but nice” place in holiday celebrations.

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…

Seedling Trees-An Economical Way to Purchase Trees

If you’re a fan of trees like I am, it can be frustrating to purchase the number and variety of trees you’re dreaming of without busting the budget.  Look no further than many of the state tree seedling programs to fill the gap.  Granted, you may have to buy bundles of 25 to 50 at…