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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Be sure to visit the MSHS display garden at the Minnesota State Fair, which opens Thursday. We will have our educational and retail booths in the Horticulture Building and our display garden right out front near the corner of Underwood and Judson Avenue. This gorgeous late summer garden features native plants as well as nonnative,…

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Here’s the long and the short about phlox: There are two basic kinds and while they come from the same genus, they are very different. Creeping phlox (technically it is Phlox subulata) is a groundcover that blooms in spring. It’s one of the earliest perennials to bloom in Minnesota, and is a bright spot in…

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Each year, dozens—maybe hundreds—of new plant varieties are introduced by breeders and plant wholesalers worldwide. It’s tough to figure out which are the best plants for the Midwest, especially when our climate is as challenging and changing as it has been recently. Fortunately, there are trial gardens, places where universities, botanical gardens, garden centers and…

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