Plants with edible fruits for the home landscape are among the offerings at a Sept. 14 plant sale. The Nebraska Statewide Arboretum will have selections of nut-producing woody plants like pecan, chestnut and hazelnut, and fruit-bearing plants like currant, chokeberry, elderberry and cherry.
Gardeners may be looking for usability, but “birds, butterflies and other insects will benefit from these plants even more than homeowners,” said Horticulturist Bob Henrickson. The Nebraska Statewide Arboretum focuses much of its propagation efforts on plants that are hardy and offer important foods for native pollinators—one of the most important issues in an increasingly developed urban landscape.
Talks will be offered throughout the morning sale: “What’s wrong with my tree—is it drought or something else?” by University of Nebraska Extension Educator John Fech at 9 a.m.; “Wild Edible Plants” by Horticulturist Bob Henrickson at 10 a.m.; and “Nebraska Champion Trees” by Nebraska Forest Service Community Forestry Specialist Graham Herbst at 11 a.m.
Wildflowers to be offered include black-eyed Susan, butterfly milkweed and Stoke's aster. Grasses include switchgrass, blue grama, little bluestem and Junegrass, which greens up earlier than most prairie grasses and has large, stout seedheads. For a bolder choice, Henrickson recommends frost grass, which grows to 4 feet high, has bamboo-like foliage that turns purplish in late fall and, unlike many other grasses, it can grow in light shade.
Space is limited for many city gardeners and one of the trees for sale is Taylor juniper, a very upright juniper growing 3 feet wide and 25 feet high. Though it’s as hardy as the highly aggressive Eastern redcedar, this juniper is not invasive, narrow enough for small yards and appropriate for even a very formal garden.
The sale will be held Sept. 14 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Douglas & Sarpy County Extension Office, 8015 W. Center Road in Omaha. Henrickson invites gardeners to “bring their problems” in the form of questions or photos of problem sites. “There’s a right plant for even the toughest spots,” Henrickson said.
For more information about the sale, talks and plants, go to arboretum.unl.edu/plant-sales or call 402/472-2971.