Notes from Northern Gardener Blog

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An Insider’s Look at Trends in Gardening

By Mary Lahr Schier | June 20, 2019

We’re so excited to be teaming with the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum on a program called “Trending Horticulture: Advancing the Art and Science of Gardening,” which will be held July 18 at the arboretum. This event is geared toward slightly more experienced gardeners and gardening enthusiasts who want to go deeper into topics and ideas and…

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Plant Profile: Penstemon

By Mary Lahr Schier | June 10, 2019

June is the month of flowers, with favorites like roses, irises and peonies in bloom. But one of my favorite June flowers is Penstemon, sometimes referred to as beardtongue because of the fuzzy growths inside the plants bloom. Penstemon is a group of plants that includes more than 250 species and most of them are…

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Growing Together: The Fairest Garden

By Mary Lahr Schier | June 6, 2019

This article by Brenda Harvieux  appeared in the May/June 2019 issue of Northern Gardener. Former master gardener research plots at the Washington County fairgrounds have recently seen a vast expansion and reimagining. Now 13 display gardens, collectively known as the Fairest Garden, the space is a much-loved destination. “We don’t have a financial sponsor,” says…

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How Old? An Old Elm in South Minneapolis

By Mary Lahr Schier | June 5, 2019

A reader contacted me recently about her very old (and very beautiful) American elm tree. The tree, she noted, had a circumference of 17 feet and was believed by some in the neighborhood to be about 240 years old. Would I like to take pictures of it? You bet! The homeowner told me she was…

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Caring for Bulbs After Bloom

By Mary Lahr Schier | May 30, 2019

A few late tulips and daffodils are still blooming, but many spring-blooming bulbs are past their prime now. So how do you care for bulbs after bloom? Here are some tips: Deadhead. Unless you are planning to harvest seed or you want the bulbs to naturalize and spread in an area, start by removing the…

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Meet Maria: New Garden-in-a-Box Coordinator

By Mary Lahr Schier | May 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

This article by Tom McKusick originally appeared in the May/June issue of Northern Gardener. MSHS is pleased to welcome Maria Brosofske as the new coordinator of the MSHS Garden-in-a-Box (GIAB) program. Maria has a bachelor’s degree in agriculture and design from the University of Minnesota, and for the past 10 years has worked as a…

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What’s Blooming Now? And What Isn’t

By Mary Lahr Schier | May 21, 2019 | 0 Comments

There’s no denying this has been a cold, late spring. Last week, I talked with a very knowledgeable and experienced gardener who told me that she thought we were at least two weeks behind the “typical” Minnesota spring. (Typical is in quotes for obvious reasons, if you’ve lived in Minnesota long!) So, what is blooming…

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The Donation Garden and Minnesota Green

By Mary Lahr Schier | May 14, 2019 | 0 Comments

This article by Tom McKusick originally appeared in the May/June 2019 issue of Northern Gardener. Since 2011, the Donation Garden in Long Lake has planted, harvested and delivered fresh vegetables to local food shelves. Growing vegetables on a little less than a tenth of an acre, the garden yielded more than 2,700 pounds of produce…

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Pollinator Packs for Northern Gardeners

By Mary Lahr Schier | May 7, 2019 | 0 Comments

Since our 150th anniversary in 2016, MSHS has been promoting Pollinator Packs for gardeners interested in attracting bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and other pollinators. The idea for the Pollinator Packs came from volunteer Mary Maguire Lerman, who thought they would be a great way to celebrate the anniversary and encourage more gardeners to care about pollinators.…

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Welcome Garden Season with the May/June Northern Gardener

By Mary Lahr Schier | May 2, 2019 | 0 Comments

The May/June 2019 issue of Northern Gardener should be on newsstands this week, and from its bright green cover to the special ads at the back, it is full of excitement for the real beginning of the garden season. The cover image is from Michelle Mero Riedel who has an article about 12 less-common annuals…

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Contact Mary Lahr Schier, MSHS blogger, at