With each year that passes, Forsythia shrubs and trees have become more and more one of my favorites.  After a tough winter, I find myself longing for a burst of spring color and Forsythia are among the very first to produce blossoms.

Northern Gold Forsythia, and Meadowlark Forsythia are two varieties that consistently deliver masses of bright yellow/gold blossoms that delight the eye and lift the spirit.  Northern Sun Forsythia also shows good flower bud hardiness and we have this variety available as a small ornamental tree.

Whether you choose a shrub form or tree form, Northern Gold, Meadowlark, and Northern Sun Forsythia will provide the hardiness and bright spring color you’re looking for.

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Got the Itch? Try This…

For gardeners who have spring fever and have the itch to plant something even though it’s only the very beginning of April, try planting trees and shrubs.  If the ground has thawed enough to dig, trees and shrubs can be safely planted even though the ground is cold.

I just wrote an article for the Northfield Entertainment Guide on successful tree planting and am publishing it here as well.

Successful Tree Planting Tips

Planting trees in our landscapes is a long term investment of effort, dollars, and time.  Taking steps to increase the chances of having a healthy, beautiful and long lived tree makes a lot of good sense, both economically and to beautify the landscape.  Here follows some suggestions for success:

  1. Pick trees that have demonstrated good winter hardiness for southern Minnesota. If the variety you are considering has a zone rating of 4, 3, or 2, it will probably do well here.  Zone 5 rated trees are borderline hardy.  They may do well for a period of years, but there is a risk that they could die during a hard winter.
  2. Choose trees that have excellent root structure. Trees that have poor root structure due to circling, matted roots that are root bound are likely to fail after a few years in the landscape.  Trees produced in special air root pruning pots form almost perfect root systems.
  3. Use proper planting techniques. Do not plant too deep. Dig the hole wider, not deeper, and very aggressively cut any roots that are observed to be matted or circling.  Trees that are planted too deep more easily develop stem girdling, circling roots that would later strangle the tree.
  4. Water just enough, but not too much. More frequent and modest amounts of water prevent super saturation of the soil which can encourage root rot.  Over watering is a common cause of failure of newly planted trees.
  5. Eliminate soil compaction in the planting area over as wide an area as possible by digging the soil, and breaking up clumps. Trees will root out faster if the surrounding soil is loose and free of compaction.
  6. Pick a planting site with good soil drainage. Not very many varieties of trees do well in chronically water logged soil.
  7. Pick a planting location with the amount of sunlight preferred by the variety you have chosen. Too much shade often causes a tree to grow poorly and often the tree gets lopsided as it seeks sunlight.
  8. If you already have picked the location for a tree, choose a tree that is a good match for the site conditions. Consider soil type and fertility, soil pH, exposure to winter winds and damaging winter sunlight, the amount of sunlight available during the growing season, soil drainage, and the soil compaction.  Not all trees will do well on every site.

If you are unsure about HOW to plant, stop by our Garden Center and we will  answer any questions, provide you with a copy of our Planting Guide which we have created to help you follow the best practices to ensure great results.  It’s easy to follow and has clear diagrams.

We now have most of our shrubs and trees available for sale and ready to plant.  For perennials, we suggest you wait a few weeks to get past most of the danger of spring frosts!


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Stars on Ice Photos and Video

Northfield Skating School - Sat, 03/28/2015 - 1:49pm

See our 40 local skaters perform in “Stars on Ice: Dancing for Joy” at the Xcel Center on March 22:

View more photos in our Flickr album

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Bonus Bucks are Back

Melting snow, buds swelling on the trees, tulips and daffodils lighting up the landscape and Knecht’s Bonus Bucks!   All signs of Spring.

During April and May you will receive one bonus buck for every $25 you spend!  Then – in June – you can redeem the Bonus Bucks!  Start your shopping list now!

Also – coming next week we will have our first e-news coupon for the 2015 growing season.  These coupons are only available for customers on our e-news mailing list.  If you are not on our list – you can sign up on our home page.  Don’t miss the opportunity for additional savings!

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Open for Business

The  week of March 30-April 5 we will finish uncovering trees and shrubs, and will be getting our sales areas organized.  Stop in – walk around – take in a little bit of spring.  We will be able to help you find just the right tree or shrub that you are looking for!

The trees and shrubs that we have covered and protected through a long winter are ready to plant as soon as the ground thaws at your planting site.  We invested the time and care to produce a well developed root system on each plant during last years growing season.  This will allow each of these trees and shrubs to grow vigorously and establish quickly during the 2015 growing season.

Pictured here is the Forsythia shrub – one of the first of the spring bloomers.  In a few short weeks, you will see this splash of yellow all over town, and it is the Forsythia.  Come on in to check out our trees and shrubs.  We have hundreds of varieties in stock and ready to plant.

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The Spring Roller Coaster

It’s happening again.  The roller coaster called Spring.  February was bitterly cold even as the days grew longer, as was early March.  then a couple of weeks of above average temperatures in mid-March stripped away the snow and got us to the first day of Spring at least according to the calendar.  That was last Friday, March 20th.

We got to enjoy one more day of spring like weather on Saturday the 21st which then allowed Deb and I to do a little cleanup around the yard at home.  On Sunday, the 22nd, winter came roaring back with about 9 inches of snow, and it felt like winter all this week.  In other words, its a pretty normal spring.

Lots of flipflopping of warm and cold air masses, and lots of hope on the part of Minnesota gardeners that warmer days will soon return to stay, and the fields, forests and our landscape plants will soon push fresh and vigorous new growth.

Today we have temps in the 30’s, tomorrow the 40’s and the next day on Sunday -it should hit the 50’s.  Early next week – the 60’s come back.

I’m always amazed that for the most part the plants and animals an withstand the big variations of the roller coaster of a Minnesota spring.

Every spring I experience a profound sense of wonder as I am treated to the grand spectacle of the entire web of life going from dormant and seemingly dead to an explosion of new life.  What a blessing it is to be on the roller coaster with Mother Nature.

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Welcome, Katelyn Regenscheid to the Brand Yourself Team!

Brand Yourself Consulting - Tami Enfield - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 11:31am
Birds are chirping, flowers are sprouting, and business is budding. That’s right–Brand...
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Welcome Spring

Spring officially arrives today even though it has felt much like spring for the last ten days!  Enjoy – it was a long winter.

Look around and see what’s doing the blooming!  Pussy willows are beginning to push their catkins.  An enduring rite of spring – sometimes starting when there is still some snow on the ground.

Pussy willows – a member of the Salix family – prefer moist soils making them the perfect choice for wetland areas and poorer soils.  A large shrub – you should plant in a spot that it will get plenty of room.  Preferring full sun – it will do fine with some shade.  An added bonus – clip a few branches for a tabletop arrangement.

We have pussy willows available in shrub form and also as small ornamental tree  – the weeping pussy willow.


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Spring Clean Your Home

Northfield Construction Company - Thu, 03/19/2015 - 10:13am

It’s that time of the year again. With the snow melting and the temperature rising, we’re ready to kick-off spring with a traditional and thorough cleaning of the home. To make things are a little easier on you this year, we put together a list of our favorite spring cleaning tips. Do you have an […]

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First Up

Lenton Rose

First up…


It’s hard to believe that our perennial “heralds of spring” will be emerging in just a few weeks.  Some of them will even pop up whether we have snow on the ground or not!  The sturdy crocus bulbs, that I planted about seven years ago, are always my first to emerge.  I planted them by the side door so that they can be truly appreciated for their early arrival each year on our way in and out of the house. The Lenton Rose (Helleborus) won’t be far behind, sometimes pushing right up through the melting snow.  Our native Pulsatilla, also known as pasque flower or Easter Flower, tend to bloom right around Easter, giving it its name.  And the Virginia Bluebells will be in their full glory split seconds before the Bleeding Hearts (Dicentra)!  All this talk of my favorite early spring bloomers is making me homesick for the garden and the smell of the fresh spring air.  If these plants are our first taste of floral color here in Minnesota after a long brown and white winter, then I think I should be planting many more of them!

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Local Skaters to Perform with Stars on Ice

Northfield Skating School - Tue, 03/17/2015 - 4:56pm

Check out the Northfield News article about our 40 local skaters performing an opening number in this season’s Stars on Ice show at the Xcel Center, under the direction of Northfield Skating School director Carey Tinkelenberg:

Local Skaters Perform in ‘Stars on Ice

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Got Spring Fever?

If you have a case of spring fever and are having your thoughts turn to spending some quality time working on your landscape, consider starting with pruning of trees and shrubs.  The next three to four weeks are one of the best times of the year to prune.

During late March and early April the disease organisms that cause cankers, mildew, mold and vascular diseases are not yet active.  Pruning cuts can be made with little fear of contamination by disease organisms.

Some diseases are spread from infected plants to cu

This is a correct pruning cut.

ts on healthy plants by insects.  Since insects are not yet active, there is also very little change of infection by tree and shrubs disease where insects are the vector of transmission.

Pick a nice day with low winds, and get outside to prune trees and shrubs.  Could be a cure for spring fever!

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A Skating Poem by Emily Huang

Northfield Skating School - Mon, 03/16/2015 - 12:52pm

Read coach Emily Huang’s syllabic poem, entitled, “Putting on my figure skates” written for a creative writing class at Carleton College:


Putting on my figure skates


I stroked the blade width-wise,

splitting my finger and drawing blood only when freshly sharpened.

The thin edges of my shoelaces crisscrossed up my white boot.

I started from the top

crossover, working my way down, by loosening each loop.

Index fingers mechanically collecting the wings

each swizzled outward by

middle fingers pulling them loose. I seized the tip of the

padded tongue, pulled it toward me, flipped it outward to layback

against the bridge of streamers.

I slid my nude stocking-covered pointed toes into the

abyss for bloody blisters and sore toes – keeping secure

swollen, twisted ankles.

I grabbed the butterflied lasso nearest to the toe pick

and tightened upwards, fitting the tongue to my calcified

foot’s navicular bone.

My fingers spun the laces, circling them around the

joints, creating new creases – sections of white, tips of red.

I tugged spread eagle in

opposite directions, fists grabbing any loose string, red

tips pulsating the heartbeat of my blood, swelling vessels.

I spiraled the laces

over my boot by crossing arms, letting go, uncrossing

arms, and quickly capturing the falling strands to tighten

them around metal hooks.

This procedurally done three times on three copper hooks,

finishing up the routine with a simple bowknot like

regular tennis shoes.

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Five Tips for an Energy Efficient Home

Northfield Construction Company - Wed, 03/11/2015 - 4:36pm

Are you looking for ways to save energy around the home? Investing in energy efficient appliances and practices can will reduce your energy cost/consumption. We put together a list of energy improvements you can make around the home. Do you have any energy efficient tips to add? Comment below! Insulation – Install proper insulation to […]

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Thanks for a Great Session!

Northfield Skating School - Wed, 03/11/2015 - 2:43pm

Just in time for the warm weather, our Winter Session 2 is complete! A big thanks to our coaching staff, skating families, arena staff, and Northfield Public Schools Community Services Division for another successful season of Building Skills and Confidence for Skating and for Life. Summer registration will open April 17th. See you at the rink in July!


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First Step to a Beautiful Landscape

Whether a landscape of beauty and distinction is created in an intensive effort over a period of several days to several weeks, or the landscape is a result of doing a little bit each year over a period of many years,  a major key to success is having a clear vision of how the various parts will complement each other, and a plan to follow.  Having a goal and a plan will make the whole process easier, less costly, less stressful and more enjoyable.  Life is good when you have a good understanding of your goals and apply consistent and persistent effort until the goal is reached.  So too with landscaping.

If you enjoy being creative and taking on projects yourself, start by creating your own landscape plan.  If you  would just as soon have some professional advice and assistance with landscape design, our Landscape Designer, Chris Lambert, can lend a hand.  Chris is great to work with, a good listener and very creative.  Just give us a call, send an e-mail or stop in and we can help you get the process started that will result in a beautiful and functional landscape.   Click here and you will find complete details on our Design Services.

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Spring Forward

This weekend, as we turn our clocks forward, I am looking forward to the thaw that is on its way!  If you are anything like I am, you will be out poking around in your garden or landscape, being careful not to compact the thawing earth or to step on any sensitive plant crowns.  You’ll do a quick survey of any critter damage (or hopefully, lack thereof).  Taking stock of the areas that you know might need a little extra attention this spring.  I’m already dreaming up a daylily combo for along my garage, and deciding how many rows of beans, peas, lettuce, and carrots will be going in the vegetable garden this year.  Perhaps this will be the spring my husband and I install a patio for the basement walkout.  Or, I could have Chris our designer, come out and help me figure out that retaining wall for the east side of the house.  Jim and Todd would make quick work of that for us and I could have it planted before summer.  How could I forget those overgrown and dated shrubs by the backdoor?  They should be torn out and replaced with something fresh and new.  Ideally, with something that blooms.

I know, there is still snow on the lawn and frost in the ground.  I’m going to use that to my advantage.  Before the plants leaf out or spring up, I am looking at a blank slate.  There is really very little there to distract my imagination.  My planning will be all done so I can dig right in as soon as the yard and garden are ready!  Spring forward indeed!


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Red Twig Dogwoods

There are very few landscape plants that can brighten up the winter landscape as much as Red Twig Dogwoods.  Native throughout the entire state of Minnesota,  Red Twig Dogwoods will grow nicely on upland soils, and are one of the few native shrubs that can also grow happily in moist and even swampy soils.

This great versatility means that you can use Red Twig Dogwoods to add a beautiful mass of red color to the winter landscape on almost any property.  It is the newer twigs and stems that have the brightest red color during the winter.  During the growing season the color of the bark is less intense, but when the leaves turn color in autumn, so do the younger stems, taking on more intense shades of red.

Red Twig Dogwoods will grow almost anywhere except in deep shade.  The more sunlight they receive  April through September, the more brilliant the winter bark color becomes.  When stems get older they do not show good winter bark color.  To renew the color, remove the older stems in early April, and new stems will fill the void and once again show nice red winter color.

The common native Red Twig Dogwood is quite nice, but personally, I prefer two other selections because they have more intense red winter bark color.  Both Cardinal Red Twig Dogwood and the Baton Rouge Red Twig Dogwood have a more intense and lovely red twig color all winter long.

Try to avoid planting just one Red Twig Dogwood.  Pick a sunny area and do a mass planting to get an eye popping mass of red that almost glows when there is snow covering the ground and the sun is shining.

Whatever you choose —

Cardinal Red Twig Dogwood


Cardinal Red Twig Dogwood, Baton Rouge Red Twig Dogwood or the common Red Twig Dogwood, you will have a large, colorful, disease resistant massed planting shrub that is sure to please the eye for many winters to come.

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Five Simple Nature-Inspired Remodels

Northfield Construction Company - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 10:16pm

Aristotle once stated, “In all things of nature, there is something of the marvelous.” We also believe that nature contains something of the marvelous. Incorporate nature’s beauty into your home by following this list of nature-inspired remodels. From sustainable design to increasing natural lighting, you’re likely to find these simple suggestions helpful. How do you […]

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Mayflower Hill Downsizing Sale -Friday March 6 & Saturday, March 7

Kuhlman Auctions - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 3:22pm

Scott and Tracy Woodruff have sold their 5 bedroom home and are moving to a condo and are having a major downsizing sale located at 1603 Goldenrod Court in Northfield, MN.  Don’t miss this sale.  The sale will be held on Friday, March 6 and Saturday, March 7 from 9:00AM until 4:00PM both days.  Numbers will be given out at 7:30AM on day of sale.  See more pictures on our photo gallery.

Items include: sofa & matching love seat, upholstered arm chair, lamps, pictures, punched tin cabinet, hall table, kitchen table & chairs from Bierman’s, painted cupboard, wicker porch set, 2 Bernzomatic outdoor propane heaters, Weber grill, oak dining room table & 6 chairs w/matching corner cupboard and server, rugs, hall table, hall chest, armoire, 3 drawer chest, linens, blankets, sheets, towels, coats, suits, outdoor clothing, king size bed, Pizza Pal electric oven, Casio keyboard, bookshelf, over 100 children’s books, Build-a-bears, Sega, Nintendo, Game Boy, GI Joes, Pokemon, golf clubs, luggage, fishing rods, vintage Zeiss Icoflex camera, Shader collectible china doll, XBox 360, Mongoose bike, Glacier Point 15 speed bike, Little Giant ladder system, vintage LP vinyls, 2 wood shaft golf clubs, shot glasses, all sorts of holiday decor, nautical decor, numerous pictures, vases, wall decor, small appliances, etc.

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