Have you made any New Years Resolutions? Why not make one that increases your gardening knowledge and also would make a good Christmas present to yourself? Sign up now for the Master Gardener classes that will start in March. 

          Master Gardeners are trained volunteers for the University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension. They receive 40 hours of training in many areas of horticulture.  In return Master Gardeners volunteer 40 hours of their time to horticulture programs and activities in the extension office. There is a charge for the program and Pre-registration is required.  Lincoln is fortunate to have both daytime and evening classes.

          Classes sponsored by the University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County will be held in the daytime at the Lancaster County Extension Office, Suite A, Rooms ABC, 444 Cherrycreek Road, Lincoln. You can call the Extension Office at (402) 441-7180 for more information and/or to receive an application form. A request for an application form is available on the internet at ( The classes will meet every Monday and Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. starting in March. There is a charge for the classes.

          Topics that will be covered include “Plant Pathology”, “Turf, Soil and Weeds”, “Landscape Solutions”, “Fruit Selection and Care”, “Trees”, “Vegetables”, “Fruit Problems”, “Basic Entomology”, “Wildlife”, and “Perennials”. Classes are taught by University of Nebraska-Lincoln professors, Extension Educators, and Lincoln Parks & Recreation Horticulturists.

          The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Campus-based Master Gardener program was developed in 2004 to provide horticulture education and volunteer opportunities for people who have other commitments during daytime hours. Over 120 people were in the initial class.  In 2005, we are limiting the number of participants to make the educational sessions more interactive.  Those that do not get into this year’s class will be eligible for the 2006 class.

          As with the daytime classes, 40 hours of horticultural education and then volunteering 40 hours on University or community projects are required. The campus-based Master Gardener program will be held for 14 weeks, beginning on March 1, 2005 and running every Tuesday through May 30, 2005. Classes will be from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm on East Campus. There is a registration fee which includes a parking permit that will allow you to park on campus during class periods.  Most of the classes will be structured as half inside (lecture) and half outside (landscape observations.  A number of topics, including plant selection and management, landscape design, wildlife, fruit and vegetable gardening and pest management, will be covered during the classes. 

          For more information and/or an application form call (402) 472-1640 or (402) 472-8616.  Information, but not application forms, can also be found on the internet at the Nebraska Master Gardener Program website

          Gladys was in the first Master Gardener classes in Lancaster County in 1977. This will be my 9th year in the Master Gardener Program. We both heartily recommend the program as a way to learn more about Gardening and also provide a community service.


Christmas cactus update

by george edgar

          I have 5 Christmas cactus.  One started blooming about Thanksgiving time and one finished last week.  The other three did not show any sign of putting on buds so just after Thanksgiving I set them out on a table by the back door.  We had warm weather and the temperature for a few days was not supposed to be below freezing.  They stayed there for three nights and were brought inside when the forecast was for evening temperatures to be in the 20’s.  My wife thought I had killed these cacti by subjecting them to night-time temperatures in the upper 30’s.  I just waited, and about 10 days later all three started to develop buds. Two will probably bloom in about a week when our son is here from New York. Now they are in a South window in my walkout basement. 

          Some books say Christmas cactus need a dark, rest period in order to bloom. Mine are usually in an East window in the walkout basement where it is dark only at night and seem to start blooming when they get a cold treatment. So, if you have tried everything else and your Christmas cactus is not blooming, you might try a cold treatment.  Do not subject them to freezing temperatures but for 3 or 4 days when the temperature is going to be at least in the upper 30’s during the daytime , take your plant outside and then bring it in at night. You just may shock it into blooming.

have a happy holiday and new year of good gardening!!!