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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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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New Downy Mildew Resistant Impatiens Cultivars

Almost 10 years ago, northern gardeners witnessed an unusual disease attack classic garden impatiens, the best-selling shade-tolerant bedding plant. Infection caused the total collapse and, ultimately, death of plantings. It moved easily by wind and rain, and would lay dormant in garden soils, ready to infect the next year’s plantings. No chemical spray or change…

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June Blooms, 2018: What’s Blooming Now?

Despite our late start this spring, many ornamental plants seem to be on schedule and the show of June blooms (peonies, irises, etc.) was spectacular. What’s blooming now? I took a walk around the neighborhood this morning to see what was blooming in the middle of June. Here’s what I saw:     Tucked amid…

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Planting Pansies: Is it Safe Yet?

As we dig out from yet another (please, please, please make it the last) spring snowstorm, gardeners can’t help but wonder: Is it safe to be planting pansies yet? Judging by the long-term forecast for the Twin Cities, it looks like this weekend may be a good time to plant pansies in your containers for…

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All-America Selections for 2018

Each year, new plants are tested at almost 200 public and university gardens around the country to help choose plants that will be labeled All-America Selections winners. These plants are considered stalwart performers either all over the United States or for a specific region, and generally an AAS label means the plant is going to…

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Plant Profile: Cleome

A few years ago, I was bored with my usual annual flowers. That’s when I heard about cleome, a tall, striking annual with a puff-ball flower and a distinctive smell — some people like it, some not so much. Cleome is large enough to look almost like a shrub — similar to a hydrangea, with…

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Should You Still Deadhead?

As we get passed the middle of August (arghh!!), it’s time to consider whether to deadhead or not. Deadheading is the practice of removing the spent flowers on plants – usually by snapping off a fading flower with your fingers or snipping off a stem with a bypass pruner. Deadheading has two main purposes. First,…

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So Many Coleus, So Little Time

The most recent issue of Northern Gardener includes a column about some of the great, recently developed coleus that you will find in garden centers. Coleus are ideal annuals for those who like foliage more than bloom. They come in a huge range of colors and sizes and the patterns they offer look especially striking…

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