Iceberg Alley Sageleaf Willow

This article by Debbie Lonnee originally appeared in the July/August 2020 issue of Northern Gardener. Many recent shrub introductions have offered northern gardeners colorful foliage to accent their gardens. Whether it is the reds or purples of ninebark, the chartreuse of spirea or sumac, or a great variegated dogwood, foliage can brighten up our gardens…

Read More

Plant to Pick: Summer Crush Hydrangea macrophylla

This article by Debbie Lonnee originally appeared in the May/June 2020 issue of Northern Gardener. Twenty years ago, northern gardeners didn’t consider using Hydrangea macrophylla, commonly known as bigleaf hydrangea, in their gardens. While many cultivars were crown hardy in USDA Zone 4, bigleaf hydrangea formed flower buds in autumn, which usually froze over the…

Read More

Hardy Roses for Northern Gardeners

This article by Randy Nelson and David Zlesak originally appeared in the May/June 2020 issue of Northern Gardener. Nestled in the northwest corner of Oak Tree Park in Dilworth, Minn., lies a bed of roses that visitors have enjoyed since 2010. The roses provide more than just beauty, however. They also provide critical data on…

Read More

Planting in Summer? Rough Up Those Roots!

While most gardeners like to plant in spring or fall, you can find lots of deals on perennials, shrubs and even trees during the time from mid-June to September. But planting in summer works, too. As long as you are careful to water, most plants will do just fine if planted in mid-summer. But here’s…

Read More

Best Trees and Shrubs for Fall Color

According to the color watchers in Minnesota, this week marks the peak of fall color in central and southern Minnesota. Most of northern Minnesota is past peak already. Maples, birches and other northern-hardy trees along with many deciduous shrubs are lighting up yards and roadways around the state with their last blast of color before…

Read More

Plant Profile: Redbud Tree

Don’t let today’s cold and rain bother you. It won’t be long before we’ll be seeing the soft pink clouds of bloom that surround the Minnesota-hardy redbuds that are so popular here in the North. Redbud (Cercis canadensis) is a smallish ornamental tree (or large shrub) that can be shaped either on a single stem…

Read More

Plant Profile: Tiger Eyes Sumac

Staghorn sumac is a large treelike shrub native to the eastern edge of Minnesota, Wisconsin and much of southeastern Canada. Tall with an umbrella habit as it matures, stagorn or cutleaf sumac is a great choice for larger, wilder landscapes. Birds love it and the fruits can be used for everything from dyes to lemonade.…

Read More

Plant Profile: Lilac

Does any plant say spring in northern gardens quite like lilacs? With their lush scent and pretty purple or white blooms, lilacs reach their peak in late May to early June. The old-fashioned common lilac ((Syringa vulgaris) typically grows well over 10 feet tall and wide and can be grouped to form a dense hedge.…

Read More

Plant Profile: Magic Magnolias

Magnolias are wonderful small trees or shrubs, which despite their southern connections, can work as spring-flowering plants for gardens in USDA Zone 4 — about the southern half of Minnesota, as well as areas along Lake Superior. The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum has a fine collection of magnolias and they are blooming right now. Magnolias for…

Read More

Slash and Plant Shrubs

Early spring is a great time to plant new shrubs and perennials, and if you check your local nursery, you may even find some bargains. Shrubs that have been in their pots all winter are ready to go in the ground, but they need a little slashing before you plant them. Why? Most plants that…

Read More