Make the Best of the Shade Garden
by Nancy Szerlag

The secret to growing a healthy, easy care garden is finding the right plant for the right place. And, nowhere is that more important than in a shade garden. The first thing to access is how much sun the plants will actually get. And that can vary in different parts of garden.

In a part-shade garden, the area may get direct sun for a few hours a day and than the sunlight is filtered through leaves for several hours. If the total sunlight equals four hours of sun a day, part shade plants will thrive there. However, if all or part of the garden gets only filtered sun, that area is a true shade garden.   >> read article
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Glorious Ground Covers!
by Betty Earl

Let’s face it. The term “ground covers” doesn’t inspire a great deal of passion. For generations, ground covers have been regarded as plants for covering exposed soil in places where poor soil conditions, deep shade or steep slopes make it hard, or even impossible, to grow grass. But today, many gardeners recognize ground covers not only for their utility but their striking beauty as well.

Ideally, filling the spaces between plants with more plants instead of mulch provides color and textural contrast, increases habitat and food for beneficial insects and wildlife, beautifies the landscape, gives you ornamental foliage and various growth habits that are particularly attractive during the active growing season and – not surprisingly – might even provide winter interest to boot. If chosen correctly, a yard with established ground covers is a visual treat.   >> read article
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Don’t Cry ‘Uncle’ When You See Ants
by Douglas A. Spilker

Ants are good guys in the garden, but bad guys in the house. Learn more about these colony-dwelling insects.

Whether it is a lone ant wandering the countertop or a column on a mission, an ant invasion can be unnerving. Landscaping with organic mulches, movement away from broadcast applications of lawn insecticides and recent mild winters seem to have increased the encounters with these unwelcome visitors.   >> read article
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Tablescaping: Celebrate the Season with a Centerpiece
by Peggy Hill with Trace Barnett

“Wow, that centerpiece looks good enough to be in a magazine. I wish I could put together something half that beautiful. I usually just plop some hydrangeas in a vase – pretty, but totally unimaginative.” That's what I said to my friend and talented designer, Trace, last spring. It was late February, when buds are swollen on bare branches and hyacinth flowers are only a promise, and I loved how the centerpiece celebrated that feeling of anticipation. Trace replied, “Thanks. It’s not that hard; I could teach you.” Thus began my yearlong training, learning how to create impressive centerpieces and tablescapes for every season.   >> read article
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Become a Water-Wise Gardener
by Nancy Szerlag

Plant madness consumes gardeners in the months of May and June. But before loading that hot new plant on to your garden cart, give some thought as to what it needs in terms of care and how you plan to provide it. Will it be stuck into an empty spot in a perennial bed, with no thought as to its need for water? Or will it spend a couple of months in its pot, requiring daily watering, as it becomes root- bound and struggles?   >> read article
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Lawn Care for Minnesota Landscapes
Has grass gotten a bad rap?
by Diana Rankin

Deb Brown, garden writer and retired University of Minnesota Extension horticulturist, thinks maybe so. In a newspaper article a while back, she made some very good arguments for having a yard and garden with at least some turfgrass. Here’s her thinking:

Having a lawn is less work than maintaining a small prairie in a front yard ...   >> read article
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A Battle with Emerald Ash Borer is in Your Future
by Jonathan Heaton

Emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) is an invasive beetle that has killed tens of millions of ash trees in the Midwest since first discovered in Michigan in 2002. If you haven’t already dealt with this serious problem, you, your neighborhood and community will face it in the not-too-distant future ...   >> read article
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The Right Tool For The Right Job
by Nancy Szerlag

Planting and caring for trees and shrubs is one the best things you can do for the environment. Trees are critical tools in nature’s control of water and air pollution. They cast shade on hot sidewalks and reduce heat and air conditioning needs in homes and offices. Trees and shrubs provide food for pollinating insects, birds and people while beautifying the views ...   >> read article
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