Cultivating Conversation

New for 2017: Trees

Date: Mar 21, 2017
We are excited to introduce some new varieties of trees to our nursery yard this spring! You'll find reliable natives, narrower shapes to fit into urban lots, and superior fall color among the varieties we're stocking this year. Stop in and chat with our knowledgeable nurserymen and women to determine which tree is the best fit for your landscape, as well as the companion plants that bring out the best in your selection.

Shade Trees

Parkland Pillar Birch (Betula platyphylla 'Jefpark')
40’ tall, 6-7’ wide. This birch has a unique dense, narrow shape that fits well into urban landscapes. It is heat and drought tolerant. It has the white bark and golden fall color characteristic of birches.

Heartland Catalpa (Catalpa speciosa ‘Hiawatha 2’)
50’ tall, 25’ wide. This is a narrower catalpa, with an upright oval shape that fits nicely into city landscapes. It’s a tough prairie species that is heat and drought resistant.

Golden Rain Tree (Koelreuteria paniculata)
20-30’ tall, 25-35’ wide. Long panicles of golden flowers drip from this medium-sized tree in mid-summer, when landscapes are in need of color. Flowers are followed by paper-lantern seed pods and yellow fall color.

Black Oak (Quercus velutina)
40-50’ tall, 40-50’ wide. This is a native Nebraskan red oak with large (up to 12” long) dark, glossy leaves and beautiful burgundy-red fall color. We love oaks for their value as a long-lived heritage tree. They grow slowly, which gives the tree time to develop strong wood, and they are resistant to diseases and other environmental problems.

Chinkapin Oak (Quercus muehlenbergii)
40-50’ tall, 50-60’ wide. This oak makes a statement with strong branching. It’s known for being drought-tolerant and adaptable to a range of soil conditions. Like the Black Oak, the Chinkapin is long-lived with strong wood and native to eastern and central United States.

Flashfire Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum 'JFS-Caddo2')
45’ tall, 40’ wide. The brightest scarlet red fall color in a heat-resistant cultivar of sugar maples yet! It starts color change early in the fall. The crown is broadly oval in shape. Flashfire is slow-growing, which makes it a reliable heritage tree that can live up to 100 years.

Matador Maple (Acer x freemanii ‘Bailston’)
40-45’ tall, 20-40’ wide. This improved Maple cultivar has deeper red fall color than Autumn Blaze, with more consistent fall color than Sienna Glen. It turns color later and holds onto its leaves longer. Stronger branching and a strong central leader make this a lasting choice for landscaping.

Northwood Maple (Acer rubrum ‘Northwood’)
40-60’ tall, 25-40’ wide. This medium-sized red maple can adapt to a wide range of soils, and can tolerate poor (but not swampy!) drainage. Cool fall weather and the first frost will bring the best red color. It has a rounded to oval shaped crown.

Pacific Sunset Maple (Acer truncatum x Acer platanoides ‘Warrenred’)
30’ tall, 25’ wide. This cross between a truncatum and a Norway maple is fast-growing and very drought-tolerant with an upright spreading crown. Yellow-orange to red fall color begins early.

Rotundaloba Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Rotundaloba’)
60-70’ tall, 20-30’ wide. This seedless, narrowly pyramidal variety of Sweetgum is unique because of its rounded leaf tips. Its fall color ranges from bright orange and red to purple.

Yellowwood (Cladratis kentukea)
30-50’ tall, 40-55’ wide. Extremely fragrant panicles of pea-like white flowers bloom in spring on a graceful, subtly weeping habit. This beautiful tree comes from the Bluegrass region of Kentucky.

Village Green Zelkova (Zelkova serrata ‘Village Green’)
40-60’ tall, 30-50’ wide. Village Green Zelkovas have been used as a replacement for American elm trees because of their resistance to Dutch Elm Disease. This variety is known for its upward spreading, vase-shaped crown, rusty red fall color, and resistance to leaf-eating insects.

Wireless Zelkova (Zelkova serrata ‘Schmidtlow’)
24’ tall, 36’ wide. The perfect height and umbrella shape for planting underneath power lines, with beautiful deep red fall color.
Ornamental Trees

Red Jade Crabapple (Malus × scheideckeri 'Red Jade')
12-15’ tall, 15-20’ wide. This is a great small, umbrella-shaped crabapple with weeping branches that almost reach the ground. Pink-tinged, white buds open into white flowers in spring. Bright red crabapples persist into the winter and are attractive to birds.

Emporer I Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum ‘Wolff’)
15’ tall & wide. Deep reddish-plum colored foliage turns bright scarlet in the fall. This variety buds out later in the spring, which makes it more resistant to damage from late frosts. It grows faster than other Japanese maples. Japanese maples need to be protected from the hot afternoon sun.

Northwind Maple (Acer pseudosieboldianum)
20’ tall, 12’ wide. This Korean cross looks similar to a Japanese maple, but is hardier. Leaves emerge red in the spring, fade to green in the summer, and turn brilliant red-orange in the fall. Like Japanese maples, Northwind should be shaded from the afternoon sun.
Evergreen Trees

Skybound Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis 'Skybound')
18’ tall, 5’ wide. This arborvitae forms a dense pillar, commonly used for screens or tall hedges. It performs better without pruning.


From the Potting Bench: Terrariums

Date: Mar 14, 2017

Terrariums are a great trend that is popping up everywhere. As (borderline obsessive) plant enthusiasts, of course we had to try it ourselves. We love making low-maintenance desk gardens to bring a little nature in where we need it most. Arranging these tiny ecosystems is therapeutic, especially during winter when we’re starved for some green. We’ve created some basic instructions to follow so you can make your own at home. We’re also launching a DIY planter bar at our 56th and Pine Lake location, so you can make a mess on our floors instead of yours. We’ll even sweep up after you! We’ll have everything you need available to make your own little terrarium. And as always, we’re here to help. Stop in, call, or message if you need us!

•Container-we love bias cut bowls and heirloom-style glassware
•Activated charcoal
•Pea gravel
•Potting mix
•Miniature tropicals, succulents, or herbs
•Decorative moss, wood chips, or rock

First, build a layer of charcoal in the bottom of your container. This will prevent the chemicals in our water from building up in the soil and damaging your tiny plants. It also helps with drainage and problems associated with watering plants in an enclosed environment.

Then add a layer of pea gravel for extra drainage.

Next, add the potting mix. You can mix in charcoal with the soil, at a ratio of one part charcoal to three parts soil. If you’re using succulents and cactus, use a potting mix with lava rock to help with drainage. Choose plants with similar light and watering requirements for easy maintenance.

Now the fun part—placing the plants! Pull the plants out of their containers carefully. If the roots are dense or circling, rough them up a bit so they stretch out into the soil. Place the plants on top of the soil so you can move them around until you’re happy with your design. Then tuck them into the soil, tamping the soil down around the roots gently to eliminate air pockets.

Dress the top with moss, wood chips, or decorative rock, and add miniatures if you like! Give them a drink– slowly, be careful not to flood your new arrangement.

Water the plants as needed afterwards, but remember they live in an enclosed area, be careful not to overwater! If the plants start to outgrow their home, they can be trimmed back with scissors or replaced individually as needed. Beautiful terrariums can also be made with permanent botanicals! In this case you can replace the potting mix with decorative rock or gravel and poke the stems in place. No watering or sunlight required!
Good luck with building your own terrarium! We’d love to see the results, post them to our Facebook wall or tag us on Instagram so we can all admire your creation!


Plant Profile: Palms

Date: Mar 07, 2017

Palms are common houseplants that easily turn a room into a tropical sanctuary. Their feathered, arching habit provides textural and architectural interest. They are easy to take care of and are generally happy with the conditions inside the average home. They also represent a milestone in plant evolution: through fossil records dating back 65 million years, scientists believe they are among the first plants to reproduce by producing flowers and seeds.

Fan Palm (Chamaerops humilis) This plant is known for its flat, spiked, fan-shaped fronds that can grow up to two feet across. They grow slowly, and generally stay under four feet tall. They are usually labelled as European (stiff fronds) or Chinese (fronds droop). They need at least four hours of bright sun during the day.

Dwarf Date Palm (Phoenix roebelinii) Arching fronds of narrow leaflets give this palm a delicate texture. They tend to stay under 36 inches tall when kept indoors. While they like bright light, they can handle filtered sun.

Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii) This palm features arching fronds with thicker leaflets than the date palm. As it matures, the stems thicken to resemble bamboo canes. They usually grow to six or seven feet indoors. They like bright, indirect sunlight.

Majesty Palm (Ravenea glauca) These are known for growing quickly, and can reach up to ten feet indoors. The fronds are similar to the bamboo palm, but majesty palms tend to have a more pronounced arching shape. They can handle less light than the other varieties, but still need fairly bright, indirect light.

Fishtail Palm (Caryota mitis) These palms have unusual leaflets with irregular edges that resemble fishtails. They need very bright light. In sunny rooms they can reach ten feet tall.

Neanthe Bella/Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea elegans) These are the traditional palms, popular since Victorian times. They tend to be around three or four feet tall when mature. They adapt well to lower levels of light.

ZZ Palm (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) This one isn’t a true palm, but it is often labelled as one and has the arching stems that are characteristic of palms. It has thick, fleshy leaves on thick stems. ZZ palms are very slow growers, but can eventually reach up to three feet. They prefer bright, indirect light, but can handle low light. Be careful not to overwater, they would rather suffer neglect than over-care.


Plant Profile: Ficus

Date: Feb 24, 2017
The genus Ficus encompasses a huge range of plants, each with unique characteristics. Ficus have a reputation of being finicky, but with some understanding of their needs they are reliable houseplants.

Ficus don’t cope well with change, so other than regular rotation for uniform growth, avoid moving them too often. When the plants are moved the majority of the leaves might yellow and drop.This may happen the first time you take your ficus home from the nursery, but be patient. Though it may take several weeks, they will adjust on their own as long as they’re in a suitable environment.

Proper watering practices are crucial for a healthy ficus. They generally like to dry out completely in between watering. Since many ficus are in tree form, they tend to be in large pots. Remember that although larger pots take longer to dry out, they also require more water to moisten all the roots. The best way to water is to wait until soil has dried below the soil surface. Check this by sticking your finger into the soil, up to your second knuckle. If the soil that sticks to your finger is dry and crumbly, it’s time to water. If there’s any moisture, wait a few more days. When it’s time to water, give it enough so that the water drains all the way through and some comes out the holes at the bottom of your pot into a saucer. It’s ok to leave the water in the saucer as long as it is absorbed by the roots or evaporated within a day or two.

Most ficus prefer bright sunlight. Rotate your plant regularly so it grows evenly. Consider rotating and fertilizing at the same time, once a month, to keep on a regular schedule. Feed with a balanced, all purpose fertilizer (like 10-10-10).

Fiddle Leaf Fig (Ficus lyrata) This is our absolute favorite houseplant for interior decorating. Giant, bright green, fiddle-shaped leaves broaden toward the sunlight. Don’t rotate this variety; the leaves will turn on their own. They grow slowly and are long-lived. After many years, they can grow up to 12 feet or more inside a home.

Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica) This variety is selected for its large, glossy leaves. There are a couple different color combinations, including a deep black with new shoots of bright red, variegated red and white, and variegated green and white. They can grow up to 12 feet tall inside, but they’re slow growers.

Benjamin, or Weeping Fig (Ficus benjamina) This is the ficus that usually comes to mind when you think of the genus. Smaller leaves in shades of emerald green emerge against a pale trunk. Trunks can be standard, braided, or woven. It’s natural for this plant to shed up to 20% of its leaves in late summer or fall. Fresh leaves will replace the ones that drop. Benjamins grow slowly and respond well to shaping and pruning. Depending on the cultivar, these can get up to 10 feet tall.

Alii (Ficus binnendiijkii ‘Alii’) Alii is a newer cultivar of ficus. It takes a similar shape to Benjamin, but has long, tapered, dark-green leaves. Like Benjamins, Alii can reach up to 10 feet tall, and are slow growers. It doesn’t have the tendency to drop leaves as dramatically as the Benjamins.


Plant Profile: Philodendrons

Date: Feb 19, 2017

Philodendrons have been the entry-level houseplant for generations. They can grow in low light, they’re forgiving when neglected, and they grow steadily enough to be interesting. Most people are familiar with the traditional green, trailing philodendrons, but there are lots of new hybrids with beautiful colors and unique shapes.

Heart Leaf Philodendron (Philodendron cordatum) This is the classic philodendron, featuring green, heart shaped leaves on long trailing stems that can grow up to 14 feet long when left alone. They tend to have better shape when trimmed back occasionally.

Neon Philodendron (Philodendron cordatum ‘Neon’) Similar to the classic trailing philodendron, but with bright chartreuse leaves instead of dark green.

Selloum Philodendron (Philodendron bipinnatifidum) This is an upright philodendron with large, deeply lobed leaves. They have a spreading habit, typically reaching up to five feet tall and wide in the average home.

Autumn Philodendron (Philodendron ‘Autumn’) Broad, spade-shaped leaves emerge red, fade to copper and age to green, resulting in a range of colors as the plant grows. The leaves are upright, rather than trailing. They tend to stay under two feet tall.
Moonlight Philodendron (Philodendron ‘Moonlight’) This selection is identical to the Autumn Philodendron, but with leaves emerging bright yellow, fading to chartreuse and aging to green.

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Garden Centers & Hours

40th & Normal: 402.483.7891
56th & Pine Lake: 402.423.1133
Landscape Office: 402.423.4556

(Winter Hours)
Mon - Sat, 9:00am -5:00pm
Sunday, Closed