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Rich Anderson, owner of Niche Old Market, is at the expo for the first time since the 2016 Old Market fire destroyed his store.

The Omaha Home & Garden Expo and Lawn, Flower & Patio Show, which ends today, features about 300 vendors.

Rich Anderson, owner of Niche Old Market, is at the expo for the first time since the 2016 Old Market fire destroyed his store.

Sunny skies offered a hint of spring on Saturday to visitors at this year’s Omaha Home & Garden Expo and Lawn, Flower & Patio Show.

The 54th annual Omaha Home & Garden Expo welcomed crowds of shoppers and do-it-yourselfers. The four-day event, which combines the two expos, features about 300 vendors offering products for everything from lawn care to personal care. It continues Sunday at the CHI Health Center.

Dan Gould, owner of Outdoor Kitchen & Patio, said his most featured product at the expo was recycled polymer furniture because of its environmental benefits and reliability.

Gould, whose company has come to the expo for more than 20 years, said he felt like the weather generated some interest in the lawn chairs.

Blair Kauzlarich of Omaha said this was her second year attending the expo, where she sought ideas for remodeling her house. She and her husband bought their home last year and are ready to remodel it.

“We decided to come back this year now that we’re ready to tackle those bigger projects,” she said.

“We like to shop around and leave the kids with the babysitter,” she said. “We use it kind of like a date day.”

Nancy Coleman of La Vista said she’s attended the expo for about 10 years and enjoys it every year. She said this year’s expo was a family trip because her son and daughter-in-law are remodeling.

The Omaha Home & Garden Expo and Lawn, Flower & Patio Show, which ends today, features about 300 vendors.

The expo vendors were a mixture of new and returning businesses. Rich Anderson’s business, Niche Old Market, returned to the expo after a four-year break. The store was destroyed in the Old Market fire four years ago. He said he wanted to show people that his business was now open at 1209 Howard St.

Black cherry: Rapidly maturing native tree with fragrant white flowers in spring followed by small red cherries that turn black in late summer. At least 47 species eat the fruit, including the eastern bluebird, red-breasted grosbeak and northern flicker. Excellent pollinator plant for early-season bee species; larval host for eastern tiger swallowtail and viceroy. And it makes a great shade tree, often reaching more than 50 feet in height.

Bitternut hickory: Relatively fast-growing with bright yellow fall color and smooth bark. In spring, long flowering catkins dangle like tinsel. Best growth on deep, rich soils. Larval host for the luna moth, walnut sphinx. Nuts consumed by birds, squirrels and other wildlife.

Pagoda dogwood: Distinctive horizontal branching. Fragrant, yellow/white flowers in flattened cymes in late spring followed by black fruits relished by songbirds. Prefers organic, well-drained soils, and grows to 15 to 20 feet. Native to Iowa, Minnesota and Missouri. A great accent tree near a deck or patio.

Juneberry, Downy: Beautiful snow-white flowers that bloom in spring give way to edible, dark purple, blueberry-like fruits. Bluish-green leaves turn orange-red in fall. Full- to part-sun, tolerates a range of soil conditions. Native to southeast Nebraska.

Oak, Dwarf Chinkapin: Native to southeast Nebraska, this low-growing, multistemmed oak starts producing acorns at a very early age. Good yellow fall color. Eventually reaches the size of a redbud tree — 15 to 20 feet tall and wide.

Plum, Chickasaw: Profuse flowering and fruiting make this southern Great Plains shrub a nice alternative to wild plum. This species offers a more tree-type growth reaching up to 15 feet or more. Native to Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri.

Snowberry: This thicket-forming shrub is easy to grow in a variety of soils. Its berries ripen in early fall and persist into late fall. It is an important source of late-season food for ring-neck pheasant, robin and cedar waxwing. Grows to 4 to 6 feet and can be pruned back hard each spring.

Buttonbush: A favorite of bees; honey-scented; important summer nectar source; waterfowl feast on seed heads in late fall. A native of lowland, swampy areas, this large shrub can grow in a variety of soils and is also drought-tolerant. Grows to 12 to 15 feet. Larval host for sphinx moths and tawny-edged skipper, among others.

Hazelnut, American: Easy-to-grow suckering shrub that grows naturally along the woodland edge, seldom growing outside the canopy of larger trees. Tolerates full sun, but does best in part-shade and shelter from strong winds. Some years are copious fruit crops relished by a variety of critters. Can grow up to 10 feet high and wide.

Viburnum, blackhaw: The blue-to-black fruits are some of the best for attracting songbirds. Good fall color. Becomes a small tree with age. Native to southern Great Plains.

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