Well we are back to a new year and hopefully 2016 will be a great year for you all. One of my favorite things about a new year is getting excited to start planting again. Now, obviously we can’t go out and plant in our gardens right now, but we can start to determine what we will plant this spring to add new interest to our gardens. A great place to start would be the “Great Plants for the Great Plains”.
The Great Plants program is developed by the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum. It is a program to bring superior ornamental landscape plants into gardens to meet the challenging growing conditions of the Great Plains, according to their website. This program helps to increase diversity in our landscapes and encourages homeowners to plant with underutilized plant material.
The members of the arboretum choose a tree, conifer, shrub, perennial, and grass selection for each year. This year, the group has chosen
- American hornbeam for the tree
- Ponderosa pine for the conifer
- New Jersey Tea for the shrub
- Fremont’s primrose for the perennial
- ‘Dallas Blues’ switchgrass for the grass.
Try incorporating these unique and great plants into your landscaping this spring.
Other good plant choices would include the 2016 All American Selections. These are selections that were tested for their performance by impartial judges. The plants chosen as National winners are selected based on the fact that they perform best over all of North America. There are also regional winners that perform best in certain regions. The varieties chosen for the 2016 National Winners include:
- Brocade Cherry Night Geranium
- Brocade Fire Geranium
- Japanese Red Kingdom Mustard
- Cornito Giallo Pepper
- Escamillo Pepper
- Strawberry Delizz F1 Strawberry
- Candyland Red Tomato
- Chef’s Choice Green Tomato
- The regional winner from the Heartland, which includes Nebraska, is Summer Jewel Lavender Salvia
These are some unique and fun choices of plants that can be added to your garden and your cooking. Try growing some of these with your children or grandchildren as a fun way to introduce them to gardening.
You can also look at seed catalogs and local seed sources to find fun, new varieties for your landscape and vegetable garden. January is an exciting time for any horticulturist as the new seed catalogs start coming in the mail in January and February. If you aren’t receiving any seed catalogs in the mail you can go online to sign up for a catalog, most of them are free. Just go to your favorite seed company and request their catalog. Good choices include
- Stock Seed Farm
Take the time now, while it is too cold to go outside, to plan out your gardens and determine what you will plant in the space you have available. Remember to always follow the guidelines for spacing in your gardens to help avoid disease and insect issues. It might be helpful to draw out what you will plant. Your drawing does not have to be to scale, just so you get the actual distances and the spacing of the plants you choose. We may not be able to get outside and get planting just yet, but we can start to plan for the spring while we are stuck in the house.