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Ask the Expert Archives

Boulevard Planting Design

Salt Tolerant Blvd Garden

Posted by on August 28th 2016 in Ask the Expert, News

  Here’s a simple boulevard design to help you get started transforming your long grass patch into a practical, salt tolerant, weed proof garden. Start with a sod-free, clear area.  Turn the soil and amend with compost.  Set out your plants, per the design.  Take a pre planting pause to make sure you like the look of things and that you think the spacing is appropriate for plant growth.  Dig…

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Cabin Plant Guide-Zone 3

Posted by on June 29th 2015 in Ask the Expert, blog, Featured

Sunny Penstemon Peonies Phlox Dianthus Rudbeckia Perovskia Salvia Sedum (above) Scabiosa Lamium Yarrow       Shady Sedum (or sun) Cinnamon or Ostrich Ferns Hosta Painted Fern (above) Daylilies Geraniums Alchemilla Deer Resistant Nepeta All Ferns Asclepias (zone 3 or 4) Allium Echinacea Achillea

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Vegetable and Seed Display

I Feel Good From My Head Tomatoes – Veggie Gardening

Posted by on May 31st 2015 in Ask the Expert, blog, Featured, News, Plants

Veggie gardens are a great way to have affordable, healthy produce all summer long. From beginner to expert, these gardens can be very rewarding. Here are a few tips to get you started. Get your plants some friends. Have you tried companion planting? Once you have an idea of what plants you’d like included in your backyard grocer, do a quick Google search to see if your combos play well…

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Potted Basil

10 Plants You Didn’t Know Repel Mosquitoes

Posted by on May 13th 2015 in Ask the Expert, blog, Featured, News, Plants

“Minnesota has two seasons, winter and road construction.” “We’ve got 20,000 lakes when it rains.” “The state bird? Mosquito.” We have a saying for everything and have heard it all as Minnesotans. We know that in this land of abundant lakes and short, humid summers, we’re going to have mosquitoes. We spend serious time and energy fighting the mosquito battle each summer season.   So what if we could make…

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Herbs and Veggies on Cart

It’s About That Thyme: Herb Care & Food Pairings

Posted by on April 27th 2015 in Ask the Expert, blog, News, Plants

As Minnesotans, we know how short summers can seem. We tolerate grocery store greens most of the year, and look forward to the season where we can pick our own to throw on the grill, in a salad, or even use around the home. With the season changing before our eyes, it’s smart to plan ahead and map out our gardening plans so we can make the most of our…

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Hydrangea – poor blooming

Posted by on September 29th 2012 in Ask the Expert

Hi Janet, I think that you already have a handle on what could be wrong.  With an extremely hot and dry summer, it’s safe to say that watering even two to three times a week may not have been enough to keep your Hydrangea shrub healthy and blooming fully.  Also, if you think that your soil may be lacking nutrients, now would be a great time to amend and “feed”…

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Is it OK to cut back roses in the fall?

Posted by on September 20th 2012 in Ask the Expert

Hi, Ugly as they may be after a long, hot, dry summer we don’t recommend cutting down your roses early, Hybryd Teas or otherwise. Here in Minnesota, Zone 3/4/5, the advice for our most prevalent rose, the Modern Shrub Rose is to wait to prune until spring: This group of sturdy roses are repeat bloomers, blooming on mature, but not old, woody stems. Leave them unpruned to increase vigor for…

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Posted by on September 17th 2012 in Ask the Expert

The preferred time to spray for crabgrass in MN is from May to Mid-August, when the plants are actively growing.  April is the best time to apply a crabgrass granular Pre-Emergent. Crabgrass thrives when temperatures are hot and cool-season lawn grasses are least competitive. Still, they have a tough time invading a healthy lawn, so now would be the best time to apply a fall fertilizer to boost the health…

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Ornamental grass that works in shade?

Posted by on August 25th 2012 in Ask the Expert

Hi Sarah, There is one zone 4 perennial grass that does well in shade, the Hakonechloa, Japanese forest grass.  A cascading golden grass, 18″ long whose texture and color  will brighten any shady perennial garden. You’re right, ornamental grasses and shade don’t mix all that well, the result being poor coloration, floppy stature and ultimately death to the plant.

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Leaning Russian Sage

Posted by on August 14th 2012 in Ask the Expert

Hi Jerry, There are a couple reasons why your Russian Sage may be flopping.  First, if your plant is new, it doesn’t have a broad enough root system to hold up your plant at it’s full height and width.  With age and good watering to stimulate root growth, the plant will stand upright. Second, your plant may be in too little light and leaning to maximize exposure to the suns…

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Name That Plant

Posted by on June 23rd 2012 in Ask the Expert

Hi Sharon, Well, it could really be called the ‘Candy Corn Plant’! Candy Corn Plant (Cuphea micropetala)   Or there is a succulent in the store called a lipstick plant or goldfish plant that also comes to mind. Nematanthus wettsteinii

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Shrubs for Shade?

Posted by on June 23rd 2012 in Ask the Expert

Hi Lauri, I few deciduous shrubs come to mind. Hedge Cotoneaster Wentworth Viburnum (would eventually get larger than 6′, but could be trimmed back) Aronia, Chokeberry    

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Ornamental backyard fun

Posted by on June 23rd 2012 in Ask the Expert

Hi Mo, Well, the competition for water may make for a quite a challenge in getting the new tree established.  If you have a half day light you can grow a smaller stature crabapple tree or we like to suggest the snowball viburnum tree for its adaptability to low light. If you are interested in making a go of it, be sure to amend your soil quite well with a…

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Dying Elijah Blue Fescue

Posted by on June 17th 2012 in Ask the Expert

Hi B., Seldom do grasses die from over watering.  In fact we have a rule here to water our grasses two to three times a day to keep them going in their nursery containers.  Same goes for the spruce, more water.  5 minutes of water four times a day doesn’t seem like enough.  Plants would benefit from one soaking from supplemental irrigation that lasted a full hour (at least!!).  And…

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Perennial for walkway

Posted by on June 7th 2012 in Ask the Expert

Hi Jenny, Here are a couple of thoughts for your sunny walkway: Missouri Evening Primrose, Ozark Sundrop Oenothera missouriensis Salvia ‘Marcus’ Elijah Blue Fescue, Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue’ Sedum cauticola ‘Lidakense’ Campanula ‘Blue Clips’ or ‘White Clips’  

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Indoor Herb Garden

Posted by on June 7th 2012 in Ask the Expert

Hi Sarah, Gardening herbs indoors can be a huge challenge as there isn’t ample sunlight or airflow to maintain healthy herbs, especially Rosemary.  My advice would be to remove the rosemary entirely and try cutting back the other herbs.  Make sure to let the soil dry out to the touch between waterings and put the container in as much sunlight as possible. Herbs that grow well in  indoor conditions are…

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Stopping Thistle

Posted by on June 7th 2012 in Ask the Expert

Hi Roberta, Landscape fabric or thick layers of newspaper under the new topdress of mulch can help suppress the thistle.  Some harsher week killer may be an option too.  Round UP makes a brush and poison ivy version of their popular weed killer, it’s in a yellow capped bottle and is powerful!

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Hedge Options

Posted by on June 7th 2012 in Ask the Expert

Hi Cynthia, An answer to the hedge question can be a simple as a Hedge Cotoneaster or Privet Hedge.  But interesting hedge?  Consider a row of variegated Weigela or even a Dwarf Korean Lilac Hedge.

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Grub treatment timing

Posted by on June 7th 2012 in Ask the Expert

Hi Christine, From what I’ve read, the Milky Spore powder will be most effective when applied in April-May.  However, the neat thing about the product is that if you apply a little later or earlier, the spores still live and  your efforts are not lost for subsequent seasons.  Even cooler, when the  grub digests the spore, the grub will die immediately but those spores will decompose the larva and continue…

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