The Wreath

December 15 is National Wreaths Across America Day.  Wreaths, being the circular arrangement of plant twigs, leaves and fruits that they are, have been ubiquitous with Christmas.  Historically, however, the wreath has long been representative of Mother Earth and the sun. With no beginning and no ending, the circle itself is symbolic of infinity.  Today,…

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…

Trees are For the Birds!

There’s no better way to explain nature to your kids than to feed the birds, using the right combination of bird food, feeders, bird baths and shelter.  Cardinals, juncos, chickadees, goldfinches and mellow morning doves are among the common species in our area.   Start off with one of the most overlooked tools to attract…

Feeding Birds and Vole Damage—How They Relate

Nothing beats the beauty and movement of our backyard birds, especially during the winter months when our landscapes lack color.  One important thing to keep in mind, however, is that the bird seed dropped beneath bird feeders can attract voles. Voles are granivores, meaning grains are their main food source.  Since the bird seed in…

My Favorite Gardening Books

In recognition of February as National Library Lovers’ Month, I’m going to share my favorite gardening books with you.  The Undaunted Garden—Planting for Weather-Resilient Beauty by Lauren Springer (ISBN 1-55591-115-3) has everything a gardener wants—colorful pictures of great gardens, a directory of tough plants (also with great pictures), and Springer’s straightforward narrative. The single best…

Three Must Have Books

This week on the GROBigRed Blog we are celebrating National Library Lover’s Month and the books that we love to use.  I want to share two of my go-to books and a new addition that I am excited to have this year. Field Guide to Wildflowers of Nebraska and the Great Plains (ISBN 978-1-60938-071-7) by…

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…

A Happy Plant “Volunteer”—the Nanking Cherry

Nebraska Extension Master Gardeners are individuals who are passionate about gardening and sharing research-proven solutions.  Potential volunteers apply and go through an interview to be selected as an intern.  They will receive over 48 hours of initial education from experts in soils, botany, landscape design and more and give back 40 hours of volunteer service…

Winter Prep for Our Pollinators and Other Friends

Nebraska Extension Master Gardeners are individuals who are passionate about gardening and sharing research-proven solutions.  Potential volunteers apply and go through an interview to be selected as an intern.  They will receive over 48 hours of initial education from experts in soils, botany, landscape design and more and give back 40 hours of volunteer service…