Great Plants for Northern Gardens: Day 22 — Bee Balm

November 22, 2012 |

With the rise of mono-cropping (think acres and acres of corn, soybeans or turfgrass), many insects struggle to find what they need to thrive. Gardeners can help with this by planting pollinator-friendly gardens, and bee balm (Monarda) is a great choice. Monarda  is a member of the mint family and there are dozens of cultivars…

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Great Plants for Northern Gardens: Day 21 — Crab Apple Trees

November 21, 2012 |

Whether you grow them for the stunning spring flower display or the tart fruits or the architectural interest they add to a yard, flowering crab apple trees (Malus spp.) are one of the great plants for northern gardens. Generally topping out under 25 feet, crab apple trees are the perfect ornamental tree for small yards.…

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Great Plants for Northern Gardens: Day 20 — Balloon Flower

November 20, 2012 |

While many plants are regarded as perennials, there are some that are decidedly more “perennial” than others. Balloon flower (Platycodon grandiflorous) is one that is truly worthy of the designation. Once established, a clump of P. grandiflorous will return year after year, demanding nothing special,  tolerant of many sites and soils, and with no insect…

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Great Plants for Northern Gardens: Day 19 — Cardinal Flower

November 19, 2012 |

Last summer, I was visiting a friend whose backyard garden slopes down to meet the reedy shore of a small lake. Not far from the water’s edge were large, nearly 4-foot tall bronze-green stems grouped in clusters of a half dozen or so. About two-thirds of the way up the stem brilliant scarlet blooms tipped…

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Great Plants for Northern Gardens: Day 18 — Northern Pin Oak

November 18, 2012 |

Every landscape needs a significant tree. Many urban gardeners seek to find trees that are smaller and more suited to small spaces, but if you have a property that is one-quarter acre or more in size, you can plant an oak — and you will be glad you did. Northern pin oak (Quercus ellipsoidalis) is…

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