Growing Peanuts in the North? Yep, You Can.

One of the joys of growing your own food is the perennial opportunity to push the growing season and try new things, even those that aren’t typically grown here. Peanuts fit this category perfectly and, as you’ll soon learn, demonstrate that more is possible in northern gardens than conventional wisdom has taught us. If I…

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Growing Lavender in the North

Like a broken record, I’m always repeating this mantra for gardening success—the right plant for the right place. Re-creating native conditions for any plant is the key to seeing it thrive. Yet the heart wants what it wants. And, so it goes for growing lavender in a cold climate. There aren’t any sun-baked coastal hillsides…

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True North™ Kentucky Coffeetree

Winter is a great time to plan future plantings, and adding shade trees to the garden is something that should be considered carefully. We have many wonderful choices here in Minnesota, but it is important to not overplant any one species, as we’ve learned with American elms and ash trees. To protect your tree canopy…

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Plant Profile: All-American Yew

American yew is not planted often because it is toxic to humans and animals, but for those who do plant it, it can handle all our cold weather and it welcomes birds. As with all yews, American yew is toxic to humans and certain animals, including cattle, horses and dogs. American yew is not toxic…

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Favorite Newer Annuals

At the end of every gardening season, I order next year’s annual plants for my regular gardening clients. I consider it a huge job perk—I get paid to page through plant catalogs and select combinations of newer annuals for the containers, window boxes and garden beds that I tend. (Plus, it’s really fun to buy…

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Plant Profile: Elderberry

A mature elderberry bush can provide you with ample sprays of elderflowers for making delicately flavored treats and syrup as well as a bountiful harvest of berries for baking and tea. The elder bush’s plentiful flowers provide two other reasons to welcome this plant to your landscape: It’s absolutely stunning in bloom in early summer,…

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Elegant and Easy Succulents

Looking for some horticultural cheer to get you through the holidays and winter without a lot of fuss? Try succulents! They look elegant but are oh-so-easy—perfect for beginning houseplant growers. They don’t require much watering, they’re not particularly fussy about light, and you rarely have to worry about pests. There are hundreds of varieties to…

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Plant Profile: Highbush Cranberry

Highbush cranberry is a good choice for the edges of either a woodland or a sunny garden. It seems to find its sweet spot where an open area meets tall trees. Known by many common names, including American cranberry bush, crampbark tree, dog rowan tree, rose elder, wild gueldes-rose, gaiter tree, love rose and many…

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Plant Profile: Parkland Pillar Birch

Savvy northern gardeners know that winter is a gardening season and plants that enhance our long, snowy winters are a welcome addition to our landscape. Evergreen foliage, colorful shrubby stems, berries and bark color are all attributes of plants that stand out in winter. Keep these features in mind when selecting new plants to add…

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Plant to Pick: ‘Blackhawks’ Big Bluestem

Ornamental grasses add height and texture to our gardens. ‘Blackhawks’ big bluestem also adds exceptional fall (and summer) colors to the perennial garden. Many northern gardeners have cultivars of little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) in their gardens. Much breeding work over the past decade or more on this plant has resulted in its smaller size and…

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