Outlets don’t go here

Vivus Architecture + Design - Fri, 05/22/2015 - 9:31am

During the demolition phase of a current project, the walls were stripped down to the studs. In a house that is almost 150 years old, you can expect to find signs of several different remodelings, additions and updates.

What you don’t want to find is this:

In an effort to save space/time/money, a previous owner had an outlet junction box installed into space carved out from a stud. What may or may not have been realized, is that the wall was originally the exterior wall, and holds up that portion of the roof. Compromising any of the studs in that wall (which didn’t have too many to begin with) could cause support problems that show up right away or at a later time. (Think about 30″ of wet snow on that roof and the weight that would be, for instance.) By removing all but the toothpick-y sides of the stud, the lumber really couldn’t do its job.

Since remodeling almost always unearths something unexpected, it makes good sense to hold a contingency in your budget. The more complicated your remodeling will be, the bigger the percentage of your budget should be held for “what ifs.” It is much easier to utilize unspent contingency funds at the end of the project (light fixtures, window treatments, furniture) than to have to cut back part of the project because you ran into something unexpected.

This wall was easily corrected by the addition of more support studs, and new wiring by a licensed electrician. The homeowners were wise to fix a potential problem with the wall while they have the opportunity….and not leave that surprise for the next time the home gets remodeled.

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Dakota Pinnacle Birch

If you are looking for a tree that has moderate size, a handsome shape, beautiful bark, leafs out early, holds leaves until late fall, has buttery yellow fall color, is disease resistant, can grow in a wide variety of soils and is very cold hardy, Dakota Pinnacle Birch might be the tree for you!

With a narrowly pyramidal shape and growing to a width of about fifteen feet, Dakota Pinnacle Birch tapers gently from bottom to top, creating a graceful profile.  Leaves are a shining dark green and are fairly resistant to the Japanese Beetles.  I rarely see blemishes on the leaves of Dakota Pinnacle Birch which are among the first to leaf out in the spring, and just about the last to turn color in the late fall, which extends the fall color season at a time when the rest of the landscape is turning grey and brown.

Dakota Pinnacle Birch grows quickly from a small tree to a stately specimen tree that really catches the eye with its beautiful white bark, and narrow form.

Single stem Dakota Pinnacle Birches make a great focal point in the landscape, and multi-stem clumps of Dakota Pinnacle are simply stunning.  Plant Dakota Pinnacle Birch in just about any soil except soggy, poorly drained spots, and avoid excessively shady locations.

Dakota Pinnacle Birch can easily tolerate heat, bitter cold, and nasty winter winds, but does not like areas that get hit by salt spray kicked up by high-speed traffic on major roads.  Mature height is about 40 feet, making Dakota Pinnacle Birch smaller than many shade trees that reach to 80 feet tall.

Check out our Dakota Pinnacle Birch this weekend!   We carry both single stems and clumps in several sizes.

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Good as Gold

Goldmound Spirea

While Goldmound Spirea has long been a shrub considered to be a old standard for placing some vibrant leaf color in our landscapes, some people consider spireas in general to be too old fashioned.  I differ, viewing spireas as hardy and reliable shrubs that can serve a useful function and provide several types of beauty throughout the season, with few problems.

Deb and I have enjoyed a garden border planting of Goldmound Spirea at our home for over twenty years, and have necessitated little more than an annual pruning each spring as we clean up the landscape after a long Minnesota winter.  The yearly pruning stimulates a strong flush of bright gold new shoots that light up the planting bed where they sever as the backdrop for a drift of annuals where we plant a different variety each year to keep things fresh.  We never tire of the beautiful gold foliage of the Goldmound Spirea as it contrasts with the annuals.

Goldmound can be grown in full to part sun, grows to a height and width of about 3′.  Zone 4 hardy.  In early summer the Goldmound Spirea will sport beautiful dainty pink flower clusters.  Once the flowers have faded, a light pruning will generate a modest second round of blossoms later in the summer!

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The Shade Garden

Shade Garden

We have many hosta gardens at home, some with all hostas, others with a few ferns mixed in, my garden gnomes stand guard over my miniature hostas and others are planted in with shrubs and boulder accents.

One of our favorite island garden beds is right on the edge of the yard- with a Limelight Hydrangea tree, a Quickfire Hydrangea shrub, a couple of Taunton Yew, a Russian Cypress and a mix of shade perennials and hosta.  The hosta are a mix of green, variegated  and plenty of yellow / gold varieties which in the early part of the season – lights up the garden.

Leif found the sculpture when visiting one of our wholesalers this spring and that adds an aura of spirituality.  Colors, textures and natural elements all combine to make this wonderful setting.

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Otto the Construction Dog Shares His Tips on Style

Northfield Construction Company - Sun, 05/17/2015 - 10:08pm

Diary Entry #231: How I keep lookin’ so good. There has been quite the buzz around the office about how famous I’m getting. Don’t get me wrong, I love the attention (what dog wouldn’t). But, I have come to a couple of conclusions on what it takes to keep myself as lookin’ as good as […]

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Golden Shadows Pagoda Dogwood

Early Spring Leaf Color

his spring Deb and I have  been enjoying the graceful layered form and eye-popping gold leaf color of our Golden Shadows Pagoda Dogwood.  In addition to aesthetically pleasing branch architecture, the bright gold variegated leaves of our Golden Shadows Pagoda Dogwood add an intense color burst to our spring garden that rivals that of our Northern Sun Forsythia tree that just finished its bloom cycle.

Golden Shadows Pagoda Dogwood is a large shrubs / small tree that looks to us as if it will be slightly smaller than the common Pagoda Dogwood – likely maturing to about 8′-10′ feet in ten years.  

The bright gold variegation of the new leaves each spring will light up the garden for about 5-6 weeks, and gradually turn to a more muted yellow/green as he heat of summer sets in.  Even when the bright gold has faded, our Golden Shadows Pagoda Dogwood continues to add an artistic element to our garden with its angular layered branch structure that is almost sculptured.

For best results, place your Golden Shadows Pagoda Dogwood in a part sun / part shade location with good drainage, fertile soil, low deer pressure, and most importantly, winter shade.  If your Golden Shadows receives some direct sun part of the day from the high angled summer sun, but has long winter shadows from trees or a structure that spares it from intense winter sun exposure, it will likely prosper.  It appears that Golden Shadows Pagoda Dogwoods can handle our cold winter temperatures and hot humid summers just fine, but have thin bark that can sunburn if direct winter sun bounces off snowbanks onto the stems.  Even the partial shade of the bare branches of shade trees in the winter will be enough to protect the Golden Shadows Pagoda Dogwood.  Total winter shade does not appear to be necessary.

We have Golden Shadow Pagoda Dogwoods in three sizes and in somewhat limited quantities.



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Annual Flowers and Flowering Crabapples

Color abounds here at Knecht’s Nurseries.   We are fully stocked with a wide selection of annual flower and vegetable liners, specialty annuals, hanging baskets and patio planters.  Soil temperatures are warming, so this should be an excellent time to finish planting warm season annual flowers and veggies.

The beautiful blossoms of the flowering crabapples are at their peak this week.  Dwarf flowering crabs that are highly disease resistant are a great choice for smaller spaces in the landscape.  With very good resistance to leaf blemishing scab, these dwarf flowering crabs maintain a modest size while providing a very nice show of spring blossoms.

My three favorite dwarf flowering crabs are Tina Dwarf White Crab, Coralburst Dwarf Pink Crab and the Firebird Dwarf White Crab.  With mature heights of 8 feet to 12 feet, these three varieties require very little pruning and grow well in a wide variety of soil types.  These trees should be planted in well-drained soil and full sun to a half day of sun.  They are sure to please for years to come!

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Hosta Victory – Hosta of the Year – 2015

Photo courtesy Shady Oaks Nursery

The Hosta of the Year in 2015 is hosta Victory.  Each year, a hosta is picked by the American Hosta Society for it’s ability to do well in all areas of the country, be widely available and affordable.

Hosta Victory is a giant cultivar introduced by Q & Z Nursery and once its a mature hosta – makes a dramatic statement in the landscape .  A slightly variegated hosta –  it sports a cream edge that turns more yellow as the season progresses.  A slower to medium grower, the leaves are heart shaped and about a foot long at maturity.  Upright and vase shaped early on, it spreads out to a large mound of 28-32 inches high and 4-6 feet wide.  A stunning specimen plant!  The leaves have good substance and are fairly slug resistant.

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Saying Goodbye to Gabby

On May 10th, 2015, we lost one of our own here at Knecht’s Nurseries as we said goodbye to our beloved Gabby.  For 15 years, she has welcomed customers,  warmed up to the little ones, rubbed up against the legs of our employees during meetings and most of all – loved each and everyone of us unconditionally.  She was with Leif and me- 24 / 7.  She’d come to work with us,  went home with us, and except for some winter vacations – she would go on our canoe trips or cabin trips.

During the night Saturday, she suffered a stroke.  Sunday morning, she still wagged her tail, but her personality and strength were waning.  She is now at peace.

Losing a loving pet is like losing a member of your family.   Jared and Steph had grown up and moved on, starting their own families.  She was there to lift us up and provide the companionship when the house was quiet.  She would lay on the floor and let the grandkids crawl over her and tug at her ears and she would just absorb it all.    When she was 6, we adopted Cooper – another Rat Terrier.  In just a matter of hours, they became brother and sister.   Cooper was a littler harder to train than other dogs I have worked with, and Gabby sensed this and took the lead.  She’d go to the door, wait for Cooper, and the two of them would go outside together.  This is just one example of the incredible spirit Gabby possessed.

Her greatest pleasure was fishing with Leif.  When she would see the fishing gear come out and the canoe put on the car – she was frantic to go with.  Some of our most special memories of Gabby are on the many, many trips to the Boundary Waters.

Cooper misses his big sister – the morning routine  just isn’t the same right now when she isn’t along for the ride and the daily treat for “coming to work” isn’t being shared.  She was just to the vet a month ago for her annual checkup.  She was in great shape for an elderly dog.  You can’t predict a stroke.  Cherish your pets – scratch their ears one more time – let them know that you love them.

RIP Gabby.


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“Animalia” Auction Saturday, June 6 Dundas, MN

Kuhlman Auctions - Sun, 05/10/2015 - 7:36am

Joy Ganyo is selling part of Seven Gables Bookstore’s extensive collection of Dog, Cat, Horse, and Wild Animal figures, prints, collectibles, books, and paper items.  The auction will be held indoors at 410 Stafford Lane S, in Dundas, MN.  Dundas is three miles south of Northfield, MN.  The auction will start at 3:00PM, with viewing opening at 2:00PM.  Dog items will start selling at 5:00PM

The auction will include: animal collectibles; salt & peppers, figurines, mugs, plates, etc. Framed and unframed animal prints, “Yard of Puppies”, horse, dog, and cat prints, hundreds of vintage dog & cat postcards, dog trading cards, dog stamp collection, animal playing cards, vintage animal advertising, fox hunt postcards, animal greeting cards, Nat’l Geographic animal prints, over 3000 dog, cat, horse, and wild animal books, breed books, Shepherds, Danes, Shelties, Collies, Bull Terriers, Schnauzer, Maltese, Labs, exotic breeds, Police dogs, Guide dogs, dog training books, stud books, war dogs, children’s stories, London, Kjelgaard, O’Brien, Curwood, sled dogs, Polar adventures, cat books, horse books.  Anything and everything animal.  Live auction only, so please plan to attend.  NO BUYERS PREMIUM AT THIS AUCTION   See 100+ pictures in our photo gallery

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Zebra Stripes Hosta

Photo courtesy Mark Zillis

One of the new hosta varieties that we are carrying is Zebra Stripes.  It is a unique hosta – and actually, pretty exciting for early spring.  It is a creamy white color right now and will develop green veins by early summer as it leafs out.   The leaves will be all green during mid-summer.

Zebra Stripes – a cross of Abba Dabba Do’ x ‘Outhouse Delight’  Prefers bright morning sun to hold the white color longer. This hosta prefers good fertile soil with adequate moisture.  Lavender flowers make their appearance in July.  Reaching a mature size of 12 inches tall by 30 inches wide

We have a limited supply of this unique hosta!  Stop in and add a new specimen to your hosta garden!

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Flowering Crabs are now Peaking

The blossoms of flowering crabs are now at their best.  Few ornamental landscape trees can equal the massive flower display of flowering crabs.  Colors are various shades of pink and white.

Some of the best varieties for use in southern Minnesota are Tina, Firebird, Coralburst, Adirondack, Red Jewel, Sugar Tyme, Spring Sow, Prairiefire and Royal Raindrops.

Red Splentdor and Golden Raindrops are notable because their fruit is a favorite food for many species of song birds.

Crabapples have diverse growth habits or tree shapes. From weeping), rounded, spreading , upright  vase-shaped, and pyramidal.  They vary greatly in size. At maturity certain varieties will only attain a height of eight feet, while others will reach of 15 to 20 feet.

The crabapples that we sell here at Knecht’s have persistent fruit – meaning that the fruit will hang onto the tree well into winter – and early spring on some varieties.  They do not produce the large fruit that falls in autumn and makes a mess under the tree.  This will add a dimension to your landscape in the winter with the various colors of red and maroon of the berries hanging onto the branches.

Versatility describes the flowering crabapples.  Like most plants the crabapple prefers the rich loam soil however it can prosper in heavier soils that are well drained.

If you are thinking of a flowering crab – now is the time to stop in at the nursery here and check them out.  There’s not a better time than when they are in full blossom to see just the crab that will make your landscape a brighter space!

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Bulk Manure

We currently have a supply of composted and screened manure available in bulk.  We can load into your truck or trailer, or you can hire us to deliver to your site.  This is the same great product we have mixed into our soil mix for many years.

This year sweeten up the soil in your gardens with some screened, composted manure.  For your convenience, we also have this screened manure available in 40# bags.

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Woodland Wldflowers

Southern Minnesota spring wildflowers are now blooming in our woodlands.  Blood root and Dutchman’s Britches along with Trout Lilies have been lovely the last two weeks and the False Rue Anemone drifts are now sporting delicate white flowers.  Spring Beauties are also making their appearance.

For a couple of more weeks these spring ephemeral woodland wildfowers will be readily apparent as you stroll through a piece of the Big Woods Ecosystem.  Try a short walk to enjoy, but don’t wait too long to catch the show!

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Wonderful Fragrance with Plum Trees

Some of the very best garden fragrance experiences are now happening as plum trees of all kinds are coming into full bloom all across Southern Minnesota.  Thickets of American Wild Plum in the countryside fill the air with sweet fragrance that you can catch even driving by them if you have your window down and the breeze is coming toward you from the plums.

Cultivated varieties of the plum family are also blooming such as North Star Cherry, Mesabi Cherry, Evans Bali Cherry, Meteor Cherry, superior Plums, Toka Plums, Pipestone Plums, Alderman Plums, Black Ice Plum and ornamental varieties including Newport Purpleleaf Plum.  Most of these also have very nice fragrance when blooming and the treat of some tasty fruit in mid to late summer.

Plum trees grow best in well drained soils with good organic matter content and plenty of sun.  Avoid soggy, poorly drained areas, and heavy shade.  A half day to full day of sun should keep your plum trees happy.

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Dancing Serviceberries

Photo courtesy Bailey Nurseries

Serviceberry trees and shrubs provide beautiful white blossoms in early spring, followed by tasty reddish/purple fruits in June or July and wrapping up with nice fall colors of yellow/orange/red.  As I have watched Serviceberres offer me visual and taste treats in spring, summer and fall over the years, my admiration for the Serviceberry family has grown and grown.

Amelanchier is the  botanical name for this group of large shrubs / small trees, and the common names for varieties we have found quite useful are Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry, Regent Serviceberry and Shadblow Serviceberry.  Another common name for the Serviceberries is Juneberry.  Regardless of the variety, Serviceberries grow best in soils with good to moderate drainage.  I think its best to avoid soggy / wet ground when planting Serviceberries.

Regent Serviceberry has a smaller mature size than Autumn Brilliance and Shadblow. with a size rating of  3′ x 6′ tall and wide.  Regent Serviceberry has dense branching and produces a bumper crop of subtle flavored fruit in late June / early July.  The shorter size of Regent Serviceberry makes for easy picking!

Both Shadblow Serviceberry and Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry have size ratings of 15′ -20′ tall and wide making them a large shrub / small tree and are used in landscapes as an ornamental tree to frame a corner, establish a side yard and as background for planting of smaller shrubs and perennials.  Shadblow Serviceberry (Amelanchier Canadensis) is usually found as a multi-stem / clump shrubs / tree.  Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry (Amelanchier xGrandiflora) is available in both a single stem tree and a clump / multi-stem form!

Serviceberries are versatile, being able to grow in full sun to part shade.  The sunnier the location, the better the fruit production and fall color.  The serviceberries I see growing wild in Northern Minnesota and Canada seem to be an edge tree that grows along  the lake shore, open ridges and as a pioneer species in burned areas.

On a late May journey to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area some years ago, Serviceberries began to dance in my imagination and right before my eyes as never before.  There is always anticipation and  excitement when I head North on another adventure in Canoe Country  and as we head up Interstate 35 toward Ely,  I began to see something like small white clouds floating on the edges of woodlots, fields, lakes and streams.  At first, I didn’t realize what I was seeing but mile after mile I saw the delicate white dancing in the wind on the branches, swaying with each wind gust.

Then I remembered the day many years earlier when we had discovered a burned island in the Boundary Waters that was re-growing vigorously with a mix of raspberries, pin cherries and Serviceberries.  I feasted on the raspberries until a friend got me to try the Serviceberries.  I love the subtle and mildly sweet flavor and I was hooked on Serviceberries.

In subsequent years, as my truck rolled North I saw more and more of the white dotting the forest edge.  Suddenly I knew.  It was the Serviceberries in bloom, just as they had been on the burned over island.  I had to be sure, so I stopped the truck and hiked up the ditch to closely examine the blossoms I’d been seeing for a couple of hours.  The lazy white blossoms were indeed Serviceberry and covered almost the whole tree.

Every time the wind came up the Serviceberries danced and my imagination danced with them.  I would soon be slipping my canoe in the water, and gliding quietly past the dancing Serviceberies on the place that more than any other on earth provides me with a deep connection toe natural world and a sense of spiritual renewal.


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Meet Otto the Construction Dog

Northfield Construction Company - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 3:27pm

You may have seen him around town, perhaps his most recent Facebook photo has popped up in your news feed, or maybe you’ve even spotted him working on site. However you met him, chances are you fell in love. Northfield Construction Company is proud to introduce Otto the construction dog. Coming in at 82 lbs, […]

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It Takes Courage to be Vulnerable

Brand Yourself Consulting - Tami Enfield - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 12:08pm
It takes courage to be vulnerable. As an entrepreneur (and as a...
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Jerry & Diana Kokoschke Depression Glass Auction, Tuesday, May 12, Morristown, MN

Kuhlman Auctions - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 10:32am

Jerry and Diana will be moving to Northern Minnesota and need to downsize their extensive collection of 1500 pieces of depression era and collectible glassware (ALL IN MINT CONDITION) as well as collections of president, sheep, and dog pictures.  Attend this auction and see the beautiful collection of colored and crystal glassware.  Auction will be held indoors at the Morristown, MN Community Center, starting at 5:00PM, with viewing starting at 4:00PM.

The glassware collection consists of many popular patterns and some not so common.  In pink there is Mayfair (46 pieces), Miss America (41) Lace Edge (29), Floral (25), Royal Lace, Cherry Blossom, Doric, and many others.  In green, there is Floral (33), Georgian (45), Colonial, Princess, Royal Lace, and others.  Other patterns include amber Madrid and Patrician, yellow Horseshoe and Cloverleaf, cobalt and pastel Moderntone, blue Bubble, Iridescent and crystal Iris, crystal Sandwich, several Fostoria and Cambridge patterns, stemware in various colors, Fire King patterns including ovenware, Game Bird sets, and many others.

Rare and harder to find items include the following: 7 Madrid dinner plates, 2 Old Cafe dinner plates, Open Lace platter, Mayfair cup ring saucers, Fire King roaster, butters with lids, pitchers, cookies, tumblers, and many serving pieces.

The president picture collection includes most of the presidents and other presidential items, such as wastebaskets, puzzles, plates, and more.  The dog and sheep pictures are mostly older pictures that they do not have room for in their new home.

See all the pictures in our picture gallery and join us at the auction.

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Registration NOW OPEN for Summer Skating Lessons!

Northfield Skating School - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 1:29pm

Do you want to learn to skate fast, to perform, to jump and spin, or to be a great hockey player? Parents, do you want your children to meet new friends and receive professional instruction in a supportive and challenging environment, with the official curriculum designed by U.S. Figure Skating and USA Hockey?

You’ve come to the right place!

Online registration for winter classes is NOW OPEN through June 25th for winter classes beginning July 7th

Beginner, advanced, adult, and hockey group lessons available, as well as spin and power specialty classes, private lessons, and special events. View class descriptions and calendar to learn more about our classes. Registration deadline June 25th.


Interested in more information about programs? Contact us or attend our Parent Meeting on Tues, June 30th from 7:15-8:15pm at the Northfield Community Resource Center, 1651 Jefferson Parkway, Northfield MN.

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