Plant Profile: Anise Hyssop

This article by Beth Stetenfield first appeared in the September/October 2020 issue of Northern Gardener. Anise hyssop is a tactile plant; soft to the touch when in full bloom and as it develops seeds. It also appeals to the other senses—the scent of the foliage is reminiscent of licorice and is used in teas, jams,…

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Ornamental Onion Cultivars

This article by Debbie Lonnee first appeared January/February 2020 issue of the Northern Gardener.  The genus Allium (commonly known as onion) consists of several species that many northern gardeners know well, most commonly chives which have been used for eons in cooking. But, in recent years, there has been an explosion of ornamental onion cultivars.…

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Plant Profile: Monarda Punctata

This article by Beth Stetenfield first appeared in the May/June 2020 edition of the Northern Gardener. Spotted beebalm is a guaranteed pollinator magnet. Add it to your garden or property and you will see pollinators—butterflies, bumblebees, honeybees, hummingbird moths, hummingbirds and others. While it’s a biennial or short-lived perennial, it readily self-seeds and naturalizes when…

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Plant Profile: Little Bluestem

Ornamental grasses of all kinds look at home in northern gardens. Their swaying seed heads in late summer remind us of the prairie past of much of Minnesota and the Dakotas. While I like many ornamental grasses, my latest favorite is little bluestem. Little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) is a native plant with a range that…

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More Sustainable Roses for Northern Gardeners

If you’ve read our May/June issue of Northern Gardener, you may have seen the article by Randy Nelson and David Zlesak about sustainable roses for our climate. Randy and David are researchers working with the American Rose Trials for Sustainability (A.R.T.S.), a group that is testing and reporting on roses that are particularly adapted to…

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5 Perennials That Act Like Shrubs

Trees and shrubs are the backbone of most gardens. They provide height, structure and (sometimes) interest all year long. But if your garden is smaller—as mine is—finding right-sized shrubs is a challenge. That’s when I turn to perennials that act like shrubs. These are perennials with some height (3 feet or more) and some heft.…

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Hot Off the Press: 10 Plants That Changed Minnesota

As gardeners, we think about plants a lot. But often, we are thinking about a specific plant or plot or problem that is right in front of us. Most of the time, it’s just personal. In Ten Plants that Changed Minnesota, Mary Hockenberry Meyer and Susan Davis Price help us think about how plants and…

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U of M Master Gardener Flower Trials

The March/April issue of Northern Gardener has the results of the University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener vegetable trials. These are very useful for gardeners deciding which varieties to grow in their gardens. But, did you know that the Master Gardeners also test annuals each year as well? We don’t usually have room to include…

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Best Plants for Winter Interest

We’ve had a lot of snow early, a lot of fog recently, ice and more snow and who knows what next! But, if you are a gardener in Minnesota, you know you will have several months with your garden under snow or something like it. It’s time for some “winter interest”. Suzy Bales, author of…

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How to Create a Bird Friendly Garden

Not too long ago, we came across a pamphlet from the Saint Paul Audubon Society on sustaining songbirds and other wildlife in your garden. It’s not a long booklet, but is full of great ideas for creating bird friendly garden that benefits native insects and other critters, too. The key to sustaining songbirds and other…

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