Plant Profile: Little Bluestem

Each year, the Perennial Plant Association chooses a “plant of the year.” It’s a great way to highlight plants that consistently grow well in gardens all over North America. (Amsonia is one of our favorites from the past.) This year’s plant of year is a beautiful native grass,  little bluestem. This native of the prairie…

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Growing Peanuts in the North? Yep, You Can.

One of the joys of growing your own food is the perennial opportunity to push the growing season and try new things, even those that aren’t typically grown here. Peanuts fit this category perfectly and, as you’ll soon learn, demonstrate that more is possible in northern gardens than conventional wisdom has taught us. If I…

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Growing Lavender in the North

Like a broken record, I’m always repeating this mantra for gardening success—the right plant for the right place. Re-creating native conditions for any plant is the key to seeing it thrive. Yet the heart wants what it wants. And, so it goes for growing lavender in a cold climate. There aren’t any sun-baked coastal hillsides…

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True North™ Kentucky Coffeetree

Winter is a great time to plan future plantings, and adding shade trees to the garden is something that should be considered carefully. We have many wonderful choices here in Minnesota, but it is important to not overplant any one species, as we’ve learned with American elms and ash trees. To protect your tree canopy…

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Best Garden Tips from 2021 Northern Gardener

Each issue of Northern Gardener is packed with tips for those of us who grow food and flowers in the North. It’s hard to pick our favorite tips of each year, but here are 18 that we really like. Growing Food 1. Writer Meg Cowden recommends espalier for growing apples and other tree fruits in…

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Plant Profile: All-American Yew

American yew is not planted often because it is toxic to humans and animals, but for those who do plant it, it can handle all our cold weather and it welcomes birds. As with all yews, American yew is toxic to humans and certain animals, including cattle, horses and dogs. American yew is not toxic…

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Plant Profile: Jade Plant

One of the easiest houseplants to grow, jade plant (Crassula ovata) is native to provinces on the eastern side of South Africa and in Mozambique. In its native habitat, jade plant can grow more than 7 feet tall with a woody trunk, lush, green succulent leaves and pinkish blooms. Jade plant (center) with other succulents…

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Favorite Newer Annuals

At the end of every gardening season, I order next year’s annual plants for my regular gardening clients. I consider it a huge job perk—I get paid to page through plant catalogs and select combinations of newer annuals for the containers, window boxes and garden beds that I tend. (Plus, it’s really fun to buy…

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Plant Profile: Elderberry

A mature elderberry bush can provide you with ample sprays of elderflowers for making delicately flavored treats and syrup as well as a bountiful harvest of berries for baking and tea. The elder bush’s plentiful flowers provide two other reasons to welcome this plant to your landscape: It’s absolutely stunning in bloom in early summer,…

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Elegant and Easy Succulents

Looking for some horticultural cheer to get you through the holidays and winter without a lot of fuss? Try succulents! They look elegant but are oh-so-easy—perfect for beginning houseplant growers. They don’t require much watering, they’re not particularly fussy about light, and you rarely have to worry about pests. There are hundreds of varieties to…

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