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…

Goldenrod & Ragweed

Most of you know that goldenrod (Solidago sp.) is Nebraska’s state flower.  A late summer perennial that thrives in full sun with some species doing well in dappled shade.  Goldenrod is a beacon for many of our pollinating insects feeding on the nectar and collecting the pollen.  It isn’t uncommon to see a wide array…

Leaf Scorch

Brown leaves on trees and shrubs can be indicators of leaf scorch.  Leaf scorch occurs during hot weather when the rate of water uptake by roots is exceeded by the rate of water loss from leaves.    Plants respond to rapid water loss by willingly letting some leaves die back so that water intake equals the…

Two Weeds

Common names are misleading.  I often talk to clients about planting regionally native plants and two standouts are Joe Pye weed and western ironweed.  Both plants are great additions to the late season garden and benefit pollinators.  However, the first question I get after recommending them is “. . . but why do I want…

Surprise & Toad

Nothing signals the start to the end of summer like seeing the surprise lily (Lycoris squamigera) bloom.  We will start to get calls here shortly from clients asking what are those pink, naked, flowers blooming in people’s yards.  Unlike most perennials that produce leaves and blooms at the same time, surprise lilies will produce long,…

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…

Cleaning up storm-damaged trees

Wow.  The heavy duty wind and rainstorm that blew through the Omaha metro area on Friday June 16th caused lots of damage to shade and fruit trees.  Many, many good specimens were damaged or lost altogether.  Clients have reported damage to large and small trees, decks, gutters and fences, which emphasizes the issue of “target”…