Great Plants for Northern Gardens: Day 27 — Hostas

If ever there was a collector plant for northern gardens, hosta would be it. We have met many gardeners with 100, 200, 300, sometimes more varieties of hostas growing in their Minnesota gardens. The reasons for hosta’s popularity are understandable: toughness, ease of care and variety, variety, variety. Toughness: Hostas are generally hardy to USDA…

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Great Plants for Northern Gardens: Day 25 — Joe Pye Weed

If you have a rain garden or want to care for pollinators, such as bees, butterflies or other insects, plant Joe-Pye weed (Eupatorium purpureum). It provides height at the back of prairie-style borders, looks wonderful in cottage gardens and can handle wet soils, making it  one of the great plants for northern gardens. Joe-Pye weed…

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Great Plants for Northern Gardens: Day 23 — Groundcovers

Today is Black Friday — so take a break from the insanity and the materialism, and think about a lush carpet of fragrant thyme beneath your feet, a bright patch of lamium or lamb’s ears surrounding your perennials with foliage and flowers; and the heart-shaped leaves of wild ginger hiding a tiny bloom that you…

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Great Plants for Northern Gardens: Day 22 — Bee Balm

With the rise of mono-cropping (think acres and acres of corn, soybeans or turfgrass), many insects struggle to find what they need to thrive. Gardeners can help with this by planting pollinator-friendly gardens, and bee balm (Monarda) is a great choice. Monarda  is a member of the mint family and there are dozens of cultivars…

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Great Plants for Northern Gardens: Day 20 — Balloon Flower

While many plants are regarded as perennials, there are some that are decidedly more “perennial” than others. Balloon flower (Platycodon grandiflorous) is one that is truly worthy of the designation. Once established, a clump of P. grandiflorous will return year after year, demanding nothing special,  tolerant of many sites and soils, and with no insect…

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Great Plants for Northern Gardens: Day 17 — Asters

We’ve written a lot in this series about plants for shade, such as foamflower, giant fleece flower and martagon lilies. But what if your garden is in blazing sun and you want it to look dramatic in the late summer and fall. We have one word for you: Asters. While not problem-free, asters bloom late…

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