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.…

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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…

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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…

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Garden Trend: Trees that Look Like Taylor Swift

‘Tis the season for horticulture days, spring flings and assorted other garden events. Saturday I had a chance to attend the District 7 Spring Fling, where Northern Gardener horticulture editor Debbie Lonnee discussed some of the new plants that will be introduced this year and over the next few years. (You can read Debbie’s picks…

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Where to Buy Witch Hazel

The cover story for the November/December issue of Northern Gardener is about witch hazel, a little-planted but lovely shrub. As author Betsy Danielson notes, “Witch hazels could be the poster plants for the underappreciated.” It’s unfortunate because witch hazels have plenty to offer. Their flowers bloom on the edge of the season — early in…

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Garden Trends: Woody Plants in Containers

One of the garden trends we’re hearing about for 2014 is the greater use of woody plants — shrubs and trees — in containers. Using woody plants in containers offers greater choices to those with small or patio gardens. It also gives gardeners an opportunity to try plants that may be outside of our hardiness…

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It's Not Too Late to Plant Trees

While it looks like much of Minnesota may experience frost later this week (and that’s later than normal), it’s not too late to plant trees, shrubs, even perennials. In fact, many landscapers recommend fall planting. There are several good reasons to plant in the fall. Ka-ching! First, you will get a deal on plants. Many…

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How to Grow Lilacs

This is a first in a regular series of articles on the care and maintenance of some of our favorite plants for northern gardens. With their lush blooms and deeply floral fragrance, lilacs are a harbinger of summer in the northern garden. They generally bloom from early to late May at the same time as…

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New Hydrangeas for 2013 (and Beyond!)

The highlight of the annual MSHS Spring at the Inn event (other than meeting and talking with fellow gardeners) was seeing some of the new introductions from Bailey Nurseries Inc. during the plant fashion show. The show included a variety of new plants from honeyberries for fruit lovers to new types of impatiens, calibrachoa and…

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Five Plants More Northern Gardeners Should Grow

Don Engebretson, a.k.a., The Renegade Gardener, calls himself “the lone voice of horticultural reason.” That may be a bit of an overstatement, but Don — who also writes Northern Gardener’s By Design column — does make a lot of sense when he talks about plant choices. One of his basic points for gardeners is that…

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