A Seed of an Idea

Julia Brokaw, a Como Park neighbor and University of Minnesota Ph.D. student in the Cariveau Native Bee Lab, helped germinate over 1,000 prairie plants from seed and donate them to community projects. And that was just in 2022. The seedlings will be part of the Lawns to Legumes project with the Saint Paullinators of South…

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MN SEED Project Update

MN SEED Project

The MN SEED Project is growing almost as quickly as the hundreds of seeds its participants are sowing. A joint venture among the hort society, Como Community Seed Library and garden educator, Stephanie Hankerson, this community science project connects local Minnesota gardeners with seeds from native plants. A hallmark of the program? The many free…

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Plant Profile: Highbush Cranberry

Highbush cranberry is a good choice for the edges of either a woodland or a sunny garden. It seems to find its sweet spot where an open area meets tall trees. Known by many common names, including American cranberry bush, crampbark tree, dog rowan tree, rose elder, wild gueldes-rose, gaiter tree, love rose and many…

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Plant Profile: Anise Hyssop

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, salads and potpourri. Cylindrical flower spikes, several inches long, work well as cut flowers and…

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Plant Profile: Cardinal Flower

  Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) gets its name from the brilliant red flowers that grow in an elongated cluster atop the stems, midsummer through early fall. The tubular flowers are two-lipped, with the three lobes of the lower lip appearing more prominent than the two lobes of the upper lip. White- and rose-colored forms can…

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Plant Profile: Monarda Punctata

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 the conditions match its needs. The colors of this aromatic plant are unusual—lavender and white leaf-like…

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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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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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Book Review: Searching for Minnesota’s Native Wildflowers

As spring creeps up on us, eager lovers of wildflowers will soon begin exploring Minnesota’s forests and natural areas looking for rue anemone, hepatica and Canada mayflower. They will be out again in summer to look for white prairie clover or horned bladderwort; and in fall, searching for signs of white rattlesnake root and heath…

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Review: New Bee Guide from Heather Holm

Minnesota author Heather Holm’s latest bee guide has the detail to satisfy even the most engaged citizen scientists and the scope to give beginning gardeners ideas for creating bee habitats. Bees: An Identification and Plant Forage Guide (Pollinator Press, 2017) is a follow up to Holm’s earlier book Pollinators of Native Plants (Pollinator Press, 2014)…

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