Notes from Northern Gardener Blog

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Book Review: Vertical Vegetables

By Mary Lahr Schier | March 13, 2019

Vertical Vegetables: Simple Projects that Deliver More Yield in Less Space (Cool Springs Press, 2018) by Twin Cities-based garden blogger Amy Andrychowicz describes a variety of easy projects for gardeners who have limited space but want to grow lots of vegetables and flowers. Andrychowicz is the proprietor of, a very successful website for beginning…

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Diagnose Plant Problems with Anoka County Master Gardeners

By Mary Lahr Schier | March 8, 2019

This article by Brenda Harvieux originally appeared in the March/April 2019 issue of Northern Gardener. Master gardeners in Anoka County offer plant and insect diagnostic clinics at the Bunker Hills Activities Center in Andover. On Wednesday evenings, June through August, they answer common horticulture questions and assess samples for community members, who need help identifying…

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Get Excited for Spring with Northern Gardener

By Mary Lahr Schier | March 1, 2019

Our March/April 2019 issue of Northern Gardener is on newsstands today, and there is a lot in it to get gardeners excited for spring. First, this is a really pretty issue of the magazine, from Susy Morris’s cover photo of tulips in a container to Tracy Walsh’s photos of a young flower farmer and her…

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More Garden Talks to Inspire You

By Mary Lahr Schier | February 27, 2019

We’ll be back at the Minneapolis Home and Garden Show again this weekend. We hope you’ll visit our booth on the show floor of the Minneapolis Convention Center and stop by to hear some of the great speakers on the garden stage. These garden talks are informative and given by real experts in their areas.…

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Spotlight: Garden in a Box in Chisago County

By Mary Lahr Schier | February 26, 2019

This article by Brenda Harvieux originally appeared in the January/February 2019 issue of Northern Gardener. After interviewing Sue Humble, the Chisago County Master Gardener program coordinator, in 2017 about their community garden in North Branch, I learned that they do garden programming for children, too, and suggested they check out MSHS’ Garden-in-a-Box program. They joined…

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Getting Ready for the State Fair!

By Mary Lahr Schier | August 17, 2012 | 0 Comments

Boxes are piled high at the MSHS offices and volunteers have been weeding and laying mulch at the display gardens at Judson and Underwood Avenues on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. The fair starts Thursday, Aug.23, and is one of our biggest events of the year. Members can renew membership (or join!), and everyone who renews…

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Are You Seeing Aster Yellows?

By Mary Lahr Schier | August 13, 2012 | 0 Comments

We are hearing many reports from gardeners about aster yellows, a plant disease that is spread by aster leafhoppers and is highly contagious. Plants show more symptoms during times of hot weather, similar to that experienced by northern gardeners in July. The symptoms can be dramatic, odd-looking, and often cause gardeners to wonder what their…

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Thinking about Backgrounds in the Garden

By Mary Lahr Schier | August 8, 2012 | 3 Comments

Like a beautiful photograph or painting, gardens have backgrounds and foregrounds, points of emphasis and the scene in which the accents reside. In our recent St. Cloud/Sartell Garden Tour, there were many gardens that used backgrounds effectively. Take a look at this photo from an urban lot in Sauk Rapids. The deep-purple colored ninebark screens…

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Preserving the Harvest: Some Options

By Mary Lahr Schier | August 6, 2012 | 0 Comments

As we move into August, vegetable gardeners begin to ask themselves a simple question: What was I thinking? The harvests are piling up and, as delicious as it would be, you can’t eat it all fresh.  Instead of piling buckets of berries, squash, green beans and tomatoes on your kitchen counter, consider two options for…

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The Power of Pruning

By Mary Lahr Schier | August 2, 2012 | 0 Comments

Pruning can change the look of so many plants, and that’s what makes it a great tool for creative gardeners. Here’s an example of how pruning can change the look of a plant to impart a different feel to the garden. We have visited several gardens recently and many of them use the newish cultivar…

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