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Plant Profiles

Plant Profile: Northern Pin Oak

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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Plant Profile: Ginkgo Tree

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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Plant Profile: Penstemon

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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2019 All-America Selections: Tested Garden Favorites

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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Happy Poinsettia Day! (Care Tips Included)

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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Plant Profile: Elderberry

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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Let’s Talk Pumpkins!

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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Plant Profile: Popcorn Plant

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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Plant Profile: False Aster (Boltonia)

Whenever folks walk into my back garden, they are shocked by the height of one plant. It’s close to 7 feet tall, narrow in stature and it looks like it should be growing in a jungle somewhere, but this is actually a Minnesota native plant. It’s called false aster or in botanical Latin Boltonia asteroidis.…

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Plant Profile: Shasta Daisy

Shasta daisies are one of those flowers that just say, “Summer.” With their white and gold ray flowers, standing upright above green foliage, they are a plant many gardeners love. They are a heritage plant, too, having been introduced in 1901 by famed plant breeder Luther Burbank. Burbank introduced more than 800 hybrid plants in…

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