After a winter of seeing little more than shades of white and gray, it’s hard to imagine that the landscape will soon be bursting with colors. But with Nebraska’s growing season within reach, local nurseries are starting to stock up on dozens of varieties of flowers, herbs, vegetables and fruits—which means it’s time to swap your winter gloves for gardening gloves.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking a stroll down the nursery aisles. (As they say, life is about stopping to smell the roses.) At the same time, all of the options can quickly lead to overwhelm if you don’t go in with a strategy. Here are a few plants that check the boxes both for looking good and actually helping the vitality of your garden.
This fern-like foliage blooms in bright clusters up to two feet high, making it ideal to add volume to your garden on a budget. Better yet: Where other flowers shrink away from the shade, astilbes blossom in low-light areas.
You know the herb well, but has it made the cut in your garden? If not, this is the year. Not only does growing your own mint make preparing flavorful dishes in your kitchen all that much easier, but it also helps to deter pests such as aphids and cabbage moths—while attracting soil-nourishing earthworms.
Before you rush past the native grass aisle in the nursery, pause to consider citronella varieties. Although there are prettier flowers with the same scent, it takes true citronella grass to perform a task we can all get behind: naturally warding off mosquitoes. This makes it a great addition to nearby your patio.
We may be first impressed by the bright and cheery blooms in a spectrum of colors, but marigolds actually have some secret powers when it comes to boosting the health of your garden by attracting winged helpers (think ladybugs) while repelling harmful nematodes.
The perfect complement to rose bushes and fruit trees, lavender sends a warm invite to helpful insects and a strong warning to fleas and moths. And that’s not to mention the calming effects of the scent or the unique pale purple flowers that will bloom in your garden year after year.