What winter-bound northern gardener doesn’t love a tree that grows indoors? That may explain the popularity of Norfolk Island pine (Araucaria heterophylla), an easy to care for, textural plant that can grow to indoor-tree size over several years. Many people get Norfolk Island pines as a holiday gift because they have the look of a…

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Walking in the neighborhood this week, I noticed the beautiful red berries of winterberry on several shrubs planted around the foundation of one of my favorite houses. These folks have a beautiful landscape filled with hardy and native plants that look just right in our northern climate. For winter interest and bird-feeding beauty, nothing beats…

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Douglas Tallamy, the scientist who wrote the best-seller Bringing Nature Home, says that if you want to plant a tree for pollinators, birds and other wildlife, plant an oak, particularly a native oak. Oaks support more than 500 types of pollinators by providing shelter, food and habitat. They also bring in birds galore. The northern…

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There’s been a lot of conversation recently about the most resilient trees to plant in the North to endure climate change. One that is always on the list is the Ginkgo tree (Ginkgo biloba ), which is a tough urban tree that can handle salt, has the right height and shape to be a boulevard…

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June is the month of flowers, with favorites like roses, irises and peonies in bloom. But one of my favorite June flowers is Penstemon, sometimes referred to as beardtongue because of the fuzzy growths inside the plants bloom. Penstemon is a group of plants that includes more than 250 species and most of them are…

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Each November, January and July, All-America Selections, a nonprofit organization that tests new plants for home gardeners, announces its winning plants from the previous season. The plants are all new to the market and all of them have undergone extensive testing in trial gardens around the country. (One of those gardens is in Morris, Minnesota,…

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Today (December 12) is Poinsettia Day! Who knew this favorite holiday plant even had a day of its own. But, today is the anniversary of the death of Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first United States ambassador to Mexico and an amateur botanist (among many other things), who took a cutting of Euphorbia pulcherrima and eventually…

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If you are considering adding a shrub to your garden next year, think about elderberry — a native plant with unusual foliage, creamy blooms in spring, and berries that are incredibly healthful. What’s not to love ? Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) is a native shrub or small tree, hardy to USDA Zone 4. It produces blue-black…

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With Halloween just around the corner, you may be wondering about the link between the pumpkins scaring the neighborhood kids and the ones in the can you’ll be using to make pumpkin pie in less than a month. Can you use the Jack-o-Lantern to make the pie? Short answer: Yes, but you might not want…

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Smells are powerful, and the scent of popcorn plant (Senna didymobotrya) will bring you right back to the movie theaters of your childhood. This plant, which is also called cassia, smells so much like buttered popcorn that you’ll swear it is a relative of corn. It’s not, though. Popcorn plant is a member of the…

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