Rather than waiting for spring to plant, the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum Inc. recommends fall planting and hosts a sale every fall to encourage it - this year from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 18.
"Plants are less stressed by the heat, more likely to develop a strong root system and gardeners will be way ahead of the game next spring," said Bob Henrickson, horticulture program coordinator.
Landscape experts will be available to answer questions on landscape design, plant selection, native plants, rain gardens, pests, diseases and other challenges.
One of the plants that will be available is creeping mahonia (pictured), a tough groundcover with waxy, holly-like foliage that is native to Nebraska's Pine Ridge. The dark green summer foliage turns a rich, bronzy purple in late fall and persists into winter. In spring, it bears clusters of fragrant, yellow flowers followed by dark berries in late summer. Mahonia repens forms an attractive evergreen groundcover about 12 inches high in part shade or dry dappled shade, especially in acidic areas under conifers. It is very drought-tolerant once established but needs protection from winter winds.
"It's hard to find since it doesn't grow well in a nursery setting, but it's a tough plant in the landscape," Henrickson said, "and an incredible plant for the winter garden."
Another under-used plant that will be available is Patrinia or Japanese valerian. "If you're looking for perennials that bloom for a long time, Patrinia is a great choice," said Henrickson. One of its common names is golden lace, referring to the tiny, golden yellow flowers clusters on airy 2-inch stems that bloom from July into early fall.
Henrickson also highly recommends Bradbury's beebalm or Monarda bradburiana. It has very mildew-resistant foliage and blooms in May, earlier than other beebalms. The delicate flowers are lavender-white and dotted with purple spots.
Plant buyers can follow the signs from the north entrance to East Campus on 38th and Huntington/Leighton. A complete plant list is on the web at arboretum.unl.edu/plantsales.
Proceeds from the Fall Plant Sale sustain the Arboretum's mission and fund critical programs and services.
More details at: http://go.unl.edu/jf8