This year, we’re growing vegetables in containers for our educational display at the Minnesota State Fair. Even though the containers have been at the fair more than a week now, they still look good. This year’s display helps fairgoers see how easy it is to grow vegetables in containers and how productive those containers can…

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You’ve seen them on Instagram: fabulous topiary or kokedama, lush patio pots, succulents or houseplants on steroids. Maybe you’re a container gardener with potted plants that should be on Instagram? (Or already are!) For a real-life plant experience, consider entering your favorites in the MSHS State Fair Potted Plant Show, which runs the first two…

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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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Larry Cipolla is a well-known Twin Cities University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener and garden speaker, who tends a wonderful garden in Edina. It combines a Japanese garden with an abundance of water features with innovative vegetable-growing strategies. He’s taken one of his special interests—hydroponic gardening—and provided a detailed discussion of how home gardeners can…

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It’s been a warm autumn, but with frost having hit most of the state and leaves turning (and falling!) rapidly, we cannot deny that fall is upon us. It’s not too late to bring on the pumpkins, mums and ornamental cabbage! There are many delightful ideas for fall decor and some of them are very…

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It’s garden tour season, and I’ve been fortunate to attend several — with a couple more scheduled for later this week! What I love about touring gardens is you get a chance to see what others are trying in their gardens. Tours show you the real trends in garden design, and I always come away…

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Nancy J. Ondra, whose earlier book on five-plant gardens received a positive review here, is at it again, this time with container garden ideas, each of which uses just five plants. Container Theme Gardens (Storey Publishing 2016) follows a similar format, offering basic ideas for designing container gardens, then demonstrating (42 times!) ways to use…

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Growing lettuce is one of the best ways to get a super early harvest from your vegetable garden. Lettuce germinates quickly and reliably indoors under lights. You can also plant lettuce seeds directly in your garden or in a cold frame, but you may have to wait a bit for germination since lettuce requires a…

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We are in the in-between time for northern gardeners —still a month or so too early to be setting out pansy pots, but oh, my, oh, my, those winter containers of spruce tips and red-twig dogwood look old. Adding containers for early spring is a great way to perk up your front porch, celebrate the…

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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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