The January/February issue of Northern Gardener is on newsstands now, and filled with advice, inspiration and gardening information to keep you cozy all winter—and looking forward to spring.
The cover photo is from Gail Brown Hudson’s profile of Marcus Phelps-Muns0n’s St. Paul garden. While his outside garden is gorgeous, the story focuses on Marcus’ love of bromeliads and other tropical plants, which he uses outdoors in summer and then moves inside during the winter. Marcus has lived in Minnesota just three years, but he’s already figured out ways to push the zone and grow the tropical plants he loves.
Another profile in the issue is of Doug Lake’s lush garden in Stillwater. To fill his beds with bloom and color, Doug starts more than 1,000 seeds indoors each winter. Annuals provide season-long color, Doug says, and starting from seeds allows him to grow varieties you may not see in nurseries and garden centers. Among his favorite annuals are ‘Blue Monday’ clary sage, ‘Cranberry Isles’ flowering tobacco and ‘Rose Queen’ cleome.
Kathy Purdy’s article on seven ways to squeeze in more plants highlights a really interesting concept—placeholder plants. These are plants you put in your garden knowing that they are temporary, just holding a spot for that prize you pick up at a garden center or plant sale. They do their job and get removed when the time comes—great garden advice!
Elsewhere in the issue, Rhonda Fleming Hayes offers tips for growing lavender in Minnesota, the Renegade Gardener returns with an article on identifying and dealing with magnolia scale and Garden Solutions columnist Laura Schwarz answers the questions she heard from new gardeners in 2020. Finally, I had a chance to talk with nursery owners and garden clubs about how they are doing in our pandemic time. As part of that package, Jennifer Rensenbrink profiled Plant-Grow-Share, a grass-roots food justice and equity program working in the central neighborhood of Minneapolis. With multiple challenges, they provided food, created jobs and created a healing space for the neighborhood.