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Gardening Tips

  • Top 10 Best Plants for Shade

    Shaded LandscapingShade is a blessing and a curse to the gardener.  Nothing is as refreshing as a shady nook on a hot summer day, but nothing is as challenging to plant as a shady nook, right? To help make it easier on you we want to provide a list of the top ten plants for shade – whether it’s dry shade, full shade, deep shade or dappled shade. We’re sure you will find something to make your shade garden sing!

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  • Top 10 Salt Tolerant Plants

    Ocean_flowers_water_boats_beachesHere at Nature Hills we often get asked about specific plants for specific locations.  Some questions we get frequently are, “What kind of plants do well in salty conditions?  What are good salt tolerant trees, shrubs, perennials and bushes?” Continue reading

  • Top 5 Best Smelling Perennials For Your Home

    Lilac BloomSmell is essential in choosing perennials, flowers that bloom more than one year, for a home garden. Flowers give off scent to attract pollinators. These scents enrich our landscape.

     

    5. Lilacs: strong fragrant flowers
    These sweet-smelling beautiful blooms range in colors from pink to purple. They grow in zones 3-7. The best planting time is in the fall or spring. These perennials grow in the spring and summer. Their perfume will attract butterflies to your garden. Continue reading

  • Top 5 Most Fragrant Roses

    “What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” -  William Shakespeare

    Rose lovers the world over know that roses are far more than beautiful flowers. The scent of the most fragrant roses can transform a drab day to an exceptional one. The best - no matter what form they come in – can elevate a garden or a bouquet beyond simple beauty to a sensory experience.

    Here at Nature Hills we have some of the best smelling roses available on the market today. They come in several forms – shrubs, small trees, climbers, floribundas, rugosas and hybrid teas. If it’s fragrance you want, you’re sure to find one that will fit into your garden.

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  • 3 Organic Plant Fertilizers You Already Have in Your Kitchen

    Using Coffee to Fuel Your Garden:

    Using coffee as fertilizerMany of us enjoy that daily cup (or two!) of coffee. If you frequent a local coffee shop, you might remember seeing bags of used grounds left out for gardeners. If you make yours at home, you should know that you have an on-hand organic fertilizer to use in your garden.

    Coffee grounds are all-natural organic material that can bring friendly microbes to your garden’s soil.  As the microbes snack on the coffee grounds, they gradually produce nitrogen and other nutrients for the plants. Some commercially available nitrogen additives can be too concentrated, and the quick change in soil composition can shock your plants.  When possible, it is better to use naturally sourced, slowly accumulating nitrogen.   Continue reading

  • The Advantages of Planting Bare Root Plants

    Have you ever been shocked to find that the tree or shrub you ordered showed up to your door completely naked?  Don’t be!  This is what we call a bare root plant, and they come with a number of advantages over their potted and balled-and-bur-lapped (B&B) counterparts.

    Autumn Blaze Maple TT1.5

     

    The most obvious advantage?  Bare root plants cost less!  They are cost saving to the merchants, who pass these savings on to you.  Because their packaging is lightweight and stackable, shipping them is a breeze.  Potted and B&B plants must be handled carefully, because their heavy, soil-laden roots can make messes or even cause damage.  Bare root plants don’t have this problem.  Furthermore, the lighter packaging means less fuel is needed to transport bare root plants.  That’s not only cost-saving, but eco-friendly, too!

     

    Speaking of eco-friendliness, bare root plants have other environmental advantages.  When plants are shipped with soil, microbes can hitchhike along.  These can include insect eggs and other pests that can cause shock damage to your yard.  The mix of microbes in the plant’s soil might not integrate well into the mix in your yard’s soil, which could delay your new plant’s integration into the landscape.  

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  • Fruit Tree Pollination: Does Your Fruit Tree Need a Friend?

    Many fruit trees require a pollinator, but what does that mean exactly?  

    Although there are fruit trees out there that are self fruitful (like some cherry tree varieties for example), others will require a recommended pollinator in order to produce fruit (like apple trees).

    Basically, fruit is produced when the female parts of a flower are exposed to pollen, which is what we mean when we say "pollination."  Pollen is produced by the male parts of the flower.  Some flowers, called “perfect flowers,” contain both female parts and pollen-producing male parts.  Plants with perfect flowers can sometimes pollinate themselves, but some have biological blocks in place that prevent self-pollination.  Other plants have flowers that are either male or female.  These require pollen-producing male flowers to be accessible to the female flowers.  Sometimes, male and female flowers grow on the same tree.  In some species, though, male flowers grow on male trees and female flowers grow on female trees. Continue reading

  • Fruit Tree Fertilization

    fertile_soil Fertile soil

    You want the best fruit your fruit tree can give, right? Good fruit comes from fertile soil, so the key is to  maintain soil health.  Sometimes, this means adding fertilizer, but know how to prevent over-fertilizing. Fertilizer in excess can be more damaging than no fertilizer at all.

    The most practical way of checking soil fertility is by investigating the annual growth of the tree.  If you inspect the branches and follow the branch from the tip to the previous year’s growth, you can measure how much the fruiting tree grew in a season. New growth is flexible and green, while last year's growth is darker (often brown) and more rigid.  A mature, fruit-producing tree should have 6-8 inches of vegetative growth each year.  Immature fruit trees grow more quickly, but don’t produce fruit.   Continue reading

  • Top 5 Winter Interest Plants

    Winter is the ever-returning friend and foe of gardeners.  You may rue the arrival of Jack Frost every year, driving you inside and sapping all the color from your garden.  But did you know that there are a number of plants that can keep your garden pretty all through the cold season?

    Looking to liven up your white-washed winter landscape?  Dust the dreariness with one of these winter interest plants:

     

    dogarctic1#5 Arctic Fire Dogwood

    During the summer, Arctic Fire Dogwood is your everyday deciduous shrub. Round and green and merry, it is a cute little puffball.

    When winter comes, its leaves fall away, exposing its fiery red-orange branches.  They spray upward from the snow like fire, boldly defying the cold.

     

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  • The Top 6 Best Trees For Wildlife

    6 Terrific Trees for Wildlife

     

    Deer in the forest
    1. Quaking Aspen

    2. American Holly

    3. Eastern Red Cedar

    4. Hackberry

    5. Shumard Oak

    6. American Persimmon

    If you’re anything like me, watching a graceful deer stroll across my yard brings a special sense of awe and tranquility to my home. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of welcoming some of nature’s most spectacular creatures to share a part of my life, and having the right trees can be essential to issuing that invitation directly to them.

    One of my favorite choices for wildlife-friendly trees is the Quaking Aspen. Not only is this tree lovely (with its white bark and gently dancing leaves), but it’s also a versatile gift for wildlife. Deer, Elk and Moose enjoy its shade, and love to nibble its leaves and twigs for the nutritional boost it gives them throughout the year. Many animals venture into the Aspen’s stately presence to enjoy its protective shade, and Ruffed Grouse particularly enjoy it for the nesting opportunities it presents. Continue reading

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9910 N. 48th Street, Suite 200 Omaha, NE 68152

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