Gardening Questions

  1. Are Elderberries Safe to Eat, Or Are They Poisonous?

    Are Elderberries Safe to Eat, Or Are They Poisonous?

    People are on the hunt for native plants that produce healthy berries. Today’s homeowner wants to take advantage of plants that provide edible – and ornamental – benefits.

    Elderberry is also commonly known as “Sambucus” and you can find extracts and a dried version in pill form at any health food store. Historically, cooked Elderberry Syrup has been used as chest remedies to treat colds and flu.

    Even though it’s touted for both immune support and to reduce the severity of colds, you may have heard that Elderberries are poisonous.

    Here’s why. The leaves, stems and roots of the plants as well as the seeds in the berries have chemicals which metabolize into cyanide. Eating the raw seeds can cause a build-up of cyanide in the body and make you ill.

    Many edible plants

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  2. Which Trees Grow the Fastest?

    Lovely River Birch graces a home with shade and beauty

    Today’s homeowners are looking for trees with speedy growth rates to provide privacy and shade as soon as possible. But the Nature Hills horticultural team thinks you should consider a few more qualities when making your decision….

    Need for Speed? Think Color, Too

    “So, which trees grow the fastest?”

    When you think of a fast growing tree, you will probably think of the usual cast of characters like cottonwood trees or willows that really grow fast in your area. However, you should know that there are other considerations to think about.

    Instead of focusing only on growth rate, let’s ask instead, “Which fast growing shade trees will give me addition

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  3. What are the Top 10 U.S. Colleges to Attend for Botany Degrees?

    graduation-995042_1280  

    Admit it. You love plants. You wouldn't have found your way to Nature Hills Nursery if you didn't. Of course, there are different levels of love. There is the "I want my yard to look nice" level. Or the "I want to know all of the plants native to my area" level. There is even the"I'd" like to learn the Latin names of all my neighbor's weeds level. But if you are at the "I" want to work with plants every day for the rest of my life and change the world while I do it level, then there is only one path for you. You need a degree in botany.The study of plant science is integral to keeping the plants we have in top form and in introducing new p

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  4. Are Holly Berries Poisonous to Humans & Animals?

    Holly Close Up

    Fruit on a Female Holly Shrub

    Wreath Made of Holly

    Wreath Made of Holly

    Remember there are two different types of

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  5. Russian Sage, Salvia, and Veronica: How to Tell Them Apart

      Sage_Veronica_Salvia

    Little Spire Russian Sage Little Spire Russian Sage

    Russian sage, veronica, and salvia can appear to be very similar at first glance, but there are so many nuanced differences that will make one better for your space compared to the others. Flowers can be a key indicator in this situation. Salvia and Veronica have similar coloring, which can range from dark purple to rose pink to white. Russian Sage,

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  6. The Difference Between Rhododendrons and Azaleas

    At first glance, rhododendrons and azaleas seem to be nearly the same plant. Classified into the same genus, Rhododendron, and with very similar flowering and growing habits, it's easy to say that it was some sort of confusion between common name and scientific name when discussing the same plant. Azalea Leaves (left) Rhododendron Leaves (right)

    In reality though, they are completely different species. Rhododendrons (common name)

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  7. Fact and Fiction of Man-Eating Plants

    They've been a staple of horror for centuries. Man-eating plants. The silent member of a league that includes vampires, Frankenstein, and werewolves. Man-eating plants have permeated books, news, television, and film. And why shouldn't they? From the ten year old with his "pet Venus Fly Trap" to native tribes wearily moving through unfamiliar jungle, man-eating plants are a primal curiosity and fear.

    Madagascar Man-Eating Tree

    In 1881 a German explorer named Carl Liche wrote about an expedition he took to Madagascar where he witnessed a human sacrifice performed to feed a man-eating tree. The Mkodo tribe and he were traveling through the jungle, when they came upon an unusual looking tree. The tribesman treated it with reverence and motioned for Liche to stay away. A woman was brought forward, and before Liche’s eyes the tree came to life, grabbed the woman and completely consumed her. This myth continued for some time, gaining further life when it

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  8. Can I Plant A Sweet Pomegranate Tree In A Container?

    Pomegranate in a barrel planter

    Sweet Pomegranate Tree is suitable for a large container and is somewhat smaller than other varieties.  It grows to about 12 feet and has orange-red flowers in late spring, producing beautiful pink fruits in the fall.  The Sweet Pomegranate tree is a large fruit with light pink flesh, and the taste is sweet and juicy. This ornamental tree has glossy, leathery leaves that are narrow and lance-shaped.  The 'Sweet' Pomegranate is self-pollinated, as well as cross-pollinated by insects.  Cross-pollination with another pomegranate will increase the fruit set.  It will produce fruit in 3-5 years.

    Pomegranates should be placed in the sunniest, warmest part of the

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  9. When is the best time of day to water plants?

    Best time of day to water plants?

    When is the best time to water plants?

    I know you've thought it, but were too afraid to ask anyone. Fear not! You're in good company. We get asked that question a lot around here. "when is the best time of day to water plants?" Super easy answer -  Watering in the morning is usually the preferred time. "But, what if I can't do that? I can barely get the toast and coffee in my mouth as I'm running out the door to work in the morning!" You'll be happy to know that watering any time of the day can be done, especially if you are using soaker hoses or watering with a wand. Applying the water below the foliage is the goal.

    When watering is done late in the day, the foliage may remain wet overnight and thus the plants will be more likely to get fungal diseases. M

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  10. Why Do People Paint Tree Trunks White?

    White Painting Tree Trunks

    So, you're taking a Sunday drive and come upon a grove of trees that look like they've been vandalized. The trunks have all been painted white about 6 feet up the tree! What in the world is going on here? Well, there are several reasons for white painting tree trunks.

    For one , it's an effective method of reducing re-infestation of borers, etc., that either hide in trunk bark to overwinter or overwintering in soil to crawl up the tree in spring.

    It is also the traditional way to protect fruit tree trunks from heat and sun is to paint them with a thick coat of lime and water. Most of the time the lime and water are heated to make the coating last longer.

    This

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