Apr 3rd, 2011
If you live in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area you have to go see the Towers of Flowers Show at the Downtown Macy’s Department Store. My family always looked forward to going to the Dayton’s Flower Show there every spring, because they would fill the entire 8th floor Auditorium with themed floral displays. Even the kids like going because often there would be themes like Babar the Elephant that they could enjoy, as well. When Macy’s first took over though, they decided that instead of doing the show in the auditorium, they would spread the floral displays all through the store so people would be encouraged to move from floor to floor in order to see everything. Not good. I just wasn’t impressed and haven’t been back for quite a few years as a result.
This year though my daughter asked me if I wanted to try it again with my granddaughter so I decided to give it one more shot. I am so glad I did because it is amazing! I really felt like I was back in the old Dayton’s days when money was no object and anything was possible. If you haven’t gone for a few years, I heartily recommend making a visit soon to the Macy’s Towers of Flowers Show. You will be glad you did.
You can see more photos of the show HERE.
Macy's Towers of Flowers Show runs March 27th to April 10th, 2011
Mar 26th, 2011
Looks to be a late spring here in MN this year, but it is never too early to start making a wish list for that welcome day when we can begin our frequent forays to the nurseries and garden centers. Here are just a few of the new varieties of perennials, flowering annuals and vegetables that you might look for when you are out and about finding plants to fill your gardens.
Field of Dreams Ornamental Corn
Mar 24th, 2011
I have not been as successful with container plantings as I would like. I usually end up spending over $30 per large deck container just for the plants and rarely do the containers look the way I had hoped that they would look at the end of the season. I’ve finally decided that I am container-challenged so when I saw this photo album on the Proven Winner’s Color Choice Shrub Facebook page…I was excited. They are colorful, much less costly, and a lot less hassle to plant. I can even take the hardier shrubs out of the containers at the end of the season and plant them into my landscape.
Black Lace Elderberry with chartreuse sweet potato
You can find many more flowering shrubs for your pots in Monrovia’s .pdf catalog online or Bailey Nurseries New 2011 Varieties Page.
Jan 2nd, 2011
The beauty of the winter garden
My gardens are covered in a blanket of fresh snow, and I can’t help but go back to the windows often during the day to enjoy their serene winter beauty. I wonder at gardeners who put their gardens to bed and then never look at them again until spring arrives. When you live in a cold climate like ours, winter can last as long as the other three seasons combined so I have learned to appreciate the subtle beauty of the winter garden and the respite from the other season’s pests, chores and other demands.
When I look out the window now I can also see things in my landscape that I never noticed during the growing season. Trees that were covered with leaves in warmer months are now exposed and can be appreciated for their lovely skeletal shapes and the color and texture of their bark. Dried flower heads glow in warm russet tones and grasses add texture and movement to the snowy scene. After a light dusting of snow, even tall weeds glisten and have a magical quality in the landscape.
It is quite beautiful and I can’t imagine gardening anywhere else.
Read my new article for advice on designing your gardens and landscape to have winter interest and color.
Dec 4th, 2010
In 2009 the area where I live went from rarely seeing a Japanese beetle to being overwhelmed. This season I decided to be proactive and do everything I could to avoid attracting any more of the dreaded and extremely voracious pests.
The first thing I did was to get rid of many of my hardy shrub roses. The Japanese beetles seemed to especially like all of the Pavement Roses from Canada so they were the first on the chopping block. I had also noticed when the plague of Japanese beetles struck in ’09 that they seemed to stay away from most of the Easy Elegance roses so I left them and a few other roses of which I was especially fond. I decided they would be my “trap shrubs” and I would check them meticulously every day for any signs of JB and immediately drown any I might find in soapy water.
Another change was that I quit trapping moles. I had become quite proficient at trapping and disposing of the ugly critters, and had an all time record in 2009 of 24 mole trapped and relocated to the dumpster. That’s a lot of moles. In fact, too many moles, and I was feeling pretty darn guilty about the whole thing. After all, I had been registered as a Wildlife Habitat at my previous home and this just didn’t seem like something that the National Wildlife Federation would be too happy about.
There isn't any lawn left without mole tunnels
I knew that moles ate grubs including Japanese beetle grubs so this was my chance to go cold turkey and quit the trapping. When my husband complained about the tunnels, I just explained about the Japanese beetle grubs and how they were eating his turf roots and how the moles were eating the nasty grubs and aerating his lawn–for free! He was happy–at least for awhile. At first there were only a few tunnels and then there were a few more and before I knew it our whole lawn was one giant mole tunnel. I couldn’t even invite people over to see my gardens because they might turn their ankles or trip and fall.
Don’t believe me and/or think I am exaggerating? Check out the photos and I know you will agree that there is only so much a person can take. It is them or me–at least the gardener me. Next season those hideous little digging machines are DEAD!
Note: The good news is that thanks to all of my preventative efforts I had very few Japanese beetles this year. For more information on what steps you can take to control Japanese Beetles, read my article Managing Japanese Beetles.
Find out how I trapped so many moles before my hiatus this season on my Mole Control Page.
A closeup of the extensive mole damage