Ornamental Onion Cultivars

 The genus Allium (commonly known as onion) consists of several species that many northern gardeners know well, most commonly chives which have been used for eons in cooking. But, in recent years, there has been an explosion of ornamental onion cultivars. If you are looking for perennials that truly are easy to grow, this plant…

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Tips for Growing Garlic (and a Recipe)

This article first appeared in the September/October 2020 issue of Northern Gardener.  Plant garlic this fall and thank yourself later as you enjoy fresh pesto, quiches and other garlic-filled dishes next summer.  Growing garlic is easy and fun. Plant the garlic cloves outside in October so roots can develop before the ground freezes, and then…

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Hardscaping and Garden Tours After Quarantine

By Hannah Dove Koi Fish, Little Villages, and An Art Deco Sewer Pipe As the earth transitions from virtual garden tours back to physical ones, a lush planet comes out of quarantine. With the St. Anthony Park Garden Tour, 10 houses were spotlighted for their floriculture. However, what truly caught my eye on the garden…

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Northern Natives: Whorled Milkweed

Most gardeners are aware that monarch butterflies benefit when we plant milkweed in our gardens. All species in the Asclepias genus are host plants for monarchs—they lay their eggs on the plants and the hatched caterpillars then feed on the milkweed. Many are familiar with common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), butterflyweed (A. tuberosa) and swamp milkweed…

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Iceberg Alley Sageleaf Willow

Many recent shrub introductions have offered northern gardeners colorful foliage to accent their gardens. Whether it is the reds or purples of ninebark, the chartreuse of spirea or sumac, or a great variegated dogwood, foliage can brighten up our gardens all season long. Until recently, we’ve not had shrubs with silver foliage. We have some…

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Summertime Joy: Sunflowers

The splendiferous sunflower might not be the first plant that comes to mind when you think of your kitchen garden. But these beauties deserve a place in your edible garden for both their flowers and their seeds. Sunflowers are hardy in the North; they’re easy to grow; and they make a bold and vibrant statement…

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Plant Profile: Spotted Jewelweed

If you’d like to attract hummingbirds, bees, butterflies and other pollinators to your garden, spotted jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) is a good choice. This tall, 2- to 5-foot, bushy plant can form dense colonies, but also works well as a border plant, at the back of the garden or intermingled with native plants. It’s one of…

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Plant Profile: Dill

Once upon a time, I planted dill in my herb garden and it grew so tall and gorgeous that I couldn’t bear to harvest it. So I just admired it in the garden every day and breathed in its delightful fragrance instead. It lived happily ever after, the end. OK, so I’m exaggerating a little,…

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Grow Lettuce Longer: Tips for Extending the Season

Salads are a favorite meal in our home, which made growing lettuce a priority when space was carved out for a vegetable garden. It quickly became a favorite vegetable to grow, too. Homegrown lettuce, harvested and eaten straight away, is much more flavorful than greens from the grocery store. It is also a quick crop,…

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Plant Spotlight: Wild Ginger

Wild ginger (Asarum canadense) is a plant of many surprises—also many names. It is commonly called woodland ginger, Canada ginger, snakeroot, colic root, coltsfoot, namepin and sturgeon potato. In the garden or the wild it seems unassuming, but take a closer look: Its fuzzy, bright green foliage emerges in pairs of folded leaves in early to…

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