Knecht's - Northfield, MN Nurseries and Landscaping

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BOGO Sale Continues

Thu, 07/23/2015 - 8:28pm

Over the next three days – Friday – July 24, 2015 through Sunday, July 26th, 2015 – we will continue to offer some of the plants that were on sale on Thursday for Crazy Daze – still on sale through the weekend.  Each day, a few varieties will come off of being on sale – but others will remain until Sunday!

Stop in between now and Sunday and continue the BOGO savings!

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‘Blue’ Hostas

Thu, 07/23/2015 - 8:25pm
Blue Hosta

My hosta garden is looking great this year.  Amazingly, I haven’t had any deer nibble on any of my hosta.  (Let’s hope this continues.)  We have marked a few of the mature trees in our hosta garden that will need pruning this winter to let in a little more sunlight.  Some areas are just getting too shady.   In doing a review of the blue hostas that we have – a few are leading the pack!

Blue hosta .  Why is a hosta blue?  The leaves of the blue hosta are covered with a glaucous coating – or a waxy covering – which gives the leaf a blue or grey appearance.  This covering protects the leaves – from sun and heat and the insects that may come a calling.  This same waxy covering is found in some fruits – such as blueberries & plums.  The more the waxy appearance – the bluer the leaf appears.

All hosta – even though they are considered a SHADE perennial – need some sunlight.  The blues love indirect sunlight – or morning sun.  The more direct sunlight it receives, the sunlight will eventually “melt” this waxy covering and cause it to fade out – or sunburn on the leaves.   Overhead watering can also cause the glaucous covering to fade away.   A blue hosta gets bluer and bluer with each passing year – maturing eventually at age 5 or 6.

My favorite blues – Abiqua Drinking Gourd, Love Pat, Krossa Regal, Black Hills and Deep Blue Sea.   These are five that I have had in my mature hosta garden for years.  HOWEVER, there are a few new comers that are definitely making a statement.  Summer Squall – a medium to large hosta in only its second summer, is amazing.  Bluetini – a small to medium hosta is about the cutest little clump of pretty blue leaves..  I may need to do more than one of these in my hosta collection.

The two new blues that have made the biggest impression on me this summer are Blue Lettuce and Smokey Mountains.  Both have a somewhat rippled leaf and for a blue hosta – are growing vigorously.

Blue hosta can be paired with gold varieties  or variegated hosta and will make a statement.  Keep in mind that you should not give blue hosta the afternoon or direct sunlight!

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Perennial Veronica

Thu, 07/23/2015 - 2:13pm
Perennial Veronica

The veronica is in full bloom in the display garden!  They provide us with a long season of bloom from early to late summer in a range of colors from white to pink, purple to blue.

In recent years, Veronica Royal Candles has become a particular favorite here at the nursery.  Masses of purple-blue spikes rise up above the dense dark green foliage on compact plants.  Royal Candles is an excellent choice for the perennial border or in rock gardens because of its shorter stature and compact habit.  For those of you that have tried veronica in the past and have been disappointed with foliage die out at the base, I am happy to report that Royal Candles does not share this trait!

Here’s the dirt on Veronica:

These deer resistant, salt tolerant perennials thrive in full sun and moist, well-drained soils.  They grow to be 12-15” Tall and 10-15” wide.  Deadhead to extend the bloom.  Plant with some of our other favorites for a nice combination.  Rudbeckia Goldsturm, Hemerocalis Happy Returns, Asclepias tuberosa and Coreopsis Moonbeam all make excellent companions for Veronica.

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Stargazer Lilies

Thu, 07/23/2015 - 12:01pm
Stargazer Lily It’s that time of year again!  The best known meteor shower, the Perseids, are streaking our night skies with falling stars.  Somewhere, an upturned face gazes into the darkness in hopes of catching sight of one in its decent.  The Perseid meteor shower lasts from July 13th to August 26th this year, peaking around August 12th-13th, which happens to coincide with another best known phenomenon: the Stargazer Lilies are in bloom. They were given the name Stargazer for their upward facing flowers.  These beautiful hot pink blossoms are so heavily fragrant that you can often smell their wonderful scent before you see them.  Here are a few growing tips for Stargazer Lilies:  Because they don’t require a lot of real estate they are ideal tucked in between established perennials.  Stargazer plants thrive in full sun however, their bulbs and roots prefer to be shaded and cool.  Planting among established perennials can provide a shaded root zone.  Mulch will also help keep their “feet” cool.  You can grow them in just about any well drained soil from zone 3 to 9.  The 28-36” sturdy stems and those spectacularly fragrant and showy hot pink flowers make them an excellent addition to any cutting garden.

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Russian Sage – Perovskia atriplicifolia

Thu, 07/16/2015 - 2:15pm
Russian Sage

Years ago, before I ever knew that plants were going to be more than just a passion,  but also my life’s work,  I watched a “Home and/or Garden” show on television.  I don’t remember the name of the show, what channel it was on, or even who the gardener was, other than it was a woman, but I got this idea from her some fifteen or twenty years ago.  On either side of the entrance to I believe it was the kitchen/back door, she had planted beautiful Lavenders that were, during the taping, in full glorious bloom.  Unfortunately, I learned very quickly that in Minnesota you can’t reliably grow most varieties of lavender and the varieties that we can work with tend to be lower and, lets say, less organized.  So, I went in search of a replacement.  That is when I found Russian Sage,  Perovskia atriplicifolia.  What an excellent substitute!  It’s zone hardy, deer resistant and long blooming.  It also provides long lasting, fragrant, purple-blue flowers as well as fragrant, silvery grey-green foliage.  On top of all these wonderful attributes Russian Sage will grow in just about any well drained soil.

As I was learning about Russian Sage “way back when” it didn’t seemed like there were a whole lot of varietal options.  Now we have ‘Little Spire’ which offers a more compact plant at around 3′ in comparison to the standard which grows 4-5′.  And our newest variety of Russian Sage at the nursery, Proven Winner ‘Peek-a-Blue’ which is even more compact and denser yet.  That one tops out just over 2′ at 24-28”.  Any of these plants would make a gorgeous perennial hedge or as pop of airy color here and there in a prairie or cottage garden.  Just pick the right size for your project!

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Categories: Businesses

Northfield’s Crazy Daze

Wed, 07/15/2015 - 8:48pm

Next Thursday – July 23rd – is the annual Crazy Daze “Salebration” here in Northfield.

BOGO will be back  at Knecht’s!  In the next few days we will be identifying all of the items that we will be having on sale including many different varieties of trees, shrubs and perennials that will be BOGO – Buy One Get One free!  Watch for the orange flags which will indicate a BOGO sale item!

We will be open at 7 am on Thursday – and will close as usual at 6 pm!  Mark your calendars and make Knecht’s a stop on your Crazy Daze shopping agenda!

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Big – Bold – Beautiful —- Ligularia

Wed, 07/15/2015 - 8:36pm
Ligularia – ‘The Rocket’

Shade (and sun)  gardeners – stop.  Do you want a plant that MAKES the back of the border?   Try Ligularia.   Large ltriangular eaves with showy yellow flowers.  Definitely makes an impact in the perennial garden.  It is a ‘moisture loving’ plant.   Especially good for wetter spots and behind a water features and does well in part sun part shade.

One of the most popular varieties of Ligularia is ‘The Rocket’.  Reaching a height of 2′ or more – it’s decorative foliage will tower over your other plants.   It will blossom in mid to late summer.  Drawbacks – the slugs like Ligularia so you should watch for them..  My Ligularia haven’t shown slug damage this season – but I have also applied an application of “Sluggo”  around my hosta and other perennials.

A smaller variety is ‘Bottle Rocket’ and another with darker purple/green foliage is Britt Marie Crawford.   I have three in my hosta gardens – one in the center with hosta all around, one on the edge of a hosta garden with hydrangeas and the other is on the edge of a berm with rudbeckia, a Blue Beech and of course – more hosta.




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Flower Power with Hardy Hydrangeas

Wed, 07/15/2015 - 8:05am
Incrediball Hydrangea

Very few families of shrubs can rival the flower power of hardy hydrangea shrubs and trees in our northern tier states.  Hardy hydrangeas bloom starting in late June with Quickfire Hydrangea and Little Quickfire, then in July we see blossoms on Vanilla Strawberry and Pink Diamond Hydrangea.

By late July, Limelight, Little Lime, and Bobo Hydrangea along with

Limelight Hydrangea Tree Blossoms

Firelight Hydrangea are starting to show lots of luscious blossoms.  In mid to late August, Tardiva Hydrangea blossoms finally form, and last all the way to mid-October.

Paniculata is the botanical name for this family of incredibly hardy hydrangea and I don’t mean just barely hardy.  Many have shown they can thrive for decades in places where temperatures hit 40 to 50 degrees below zero, like Ely and International Falls.

Not only are hardy hydrangea able to withstand the bitter cold, they are prolific bloomers, covering the entire shrub with mounds of big blossoms that last for two months or longer!  Most often sold as shrubs, many of the hardy hydrangeas are also available in tree form.

As with most newly planted trees and shrubs, the first year of watering is very important.  Hydrangeas like to be kept watered during their first year of establishment.

Here at Knecht’s, we currently carry the following varieties of hardy hydrangea –

Bobo, Little Lime, Little Quickfire, Firelight, Pink Diamond, Limelight, Vanilla Strawberry, Strawberry Sundae, Pink Diamond, Quick Fire and Zinfin Doll.  Representing other families of hydrangeas we also carry are the Incrediball, Invincibelle Spirit and Bloomstruck Hydrangea (which blossoms blue/purple blossoms).

Invincibelle Spirit Hydrangea Bloomstruck Hydrangea

Get in on the FLOWER POWER this summer by checking out all of the hydrangea shrubs and trees that produce boatloads of blossoms.  They are sure to please your eye for years to come.

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Categories: Businesses

Blueberry Crisp for Two

Tue, 07/14/2015 - 6:05pm
Blueberries Blueberry Crisp

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a recipe.  I make this quite often – all year long, but it is the best in the summer with fresh blueberries.  This year I beat the birds to our blueberry patch and we’ve been enjoying fresh blueberries!

This recipe is for two – and I use individual ramekin dishes.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Mix 1 1/2 c. blueberries with 1/4 cup sugar, 1 1/2  t. of lemon juice and 2 T. of corn starch.  Place 1/2  of mixture in each ramekin.

For the topping  make a crumble topping using 2 T. quick cooking oatmeal, 2 T. flour, 2 T. brown sugar,  2 T. cold butter, 2 T chopped pecans and a dash of cinnamon.   Place on top of blueberry mixture.  Bake 20-25 minutes until blueberry mixture bubbles.

Serve warm or cold – great with whipped cream or ice cream!

I have doubled this recipe and it works great!

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Alert for New Plantings

Thu, 07/09/2015 - 7:46pm
Watering Chart

Newly planted trees, shrubs and perennials are at risk if they do not receive the care they need in order to become a healthy and beautiful part of your landscape.  Adopting a plant into your landscape means you have accepted several simple responsibilities.

It may seem odd to think of it like this, but landscape plants need many of the same things that a new pet or a new baby needs.  Enough nutrition to grow and develop, enough fluids to keep metabolic systems functioning well, a safe place to grow and develop, protection from the extremes of heat, cold, harsh winds, and enough space to grow and enough sun, but not sun exposure that is excessive for the plant variety.

New landscape plants need just enough, but not too much water during the first one to two growing seasons when they are establishing a new root system.  Too little water and the leaves turn yellow or brown and fall off.  Too much water and the root system may rot before it can grow out into the surrounding soil.  Most new landscape plants have a root ball 6″ to 24″ deep, and just enough, but not too much water needs to be applied to moisten the entire depth of the root ball, but not waterlog the soil.  Too much water drives healthy oxygen out of the soil, which invites root rot.  Irrigation systems are usually set to water 2″-3″ deep.  Hand watering in measured amounts is the best way to provide just enough and not too much water.  We provide a blue watering chart with every purchase.  It is an easy to use tool to get watering done right.  It does mean that you need to water by hand the first growing season.

Children and pets need good nutrition while they are growing, usually 2-6 times per day!  Plants are easy by comparison.  They can get by with 2-3 feedings over an entire growing season.  If you skip modest fertilizer applications, your plant probably won’t die, but it is likely that the plant won’t thrive and look great like it could with just a bit of extra nutrition available through its first year.  Be sure to avoid heavy fertilizer applications that could damage the plant.  A little fertilizer is good, a lot is not.  Fertilize from April through the end of July and let plants use up the modest amounts provided during August and September so that they will go dormant properly in October and November.

Even shady area plants benefit from a little bit of sunlight.  Sunlight is a primary driver of metabolic processes in plants.  Some prefer full, all day sun.  Most are perfectly happy with part sun and part shade.  A few want mostly shade, but they will usually be more beautiful when they receive 1-3 hours of sun.  Seek the assistance from one of our staff for more specific guidance on the varieties you are considering.

In a future blog, I’ll try to focus on other important factors for new plants such as soil drainage, soil pH, protection from winter sun, rodents, deer, weed whips and mowers, and other factors that affect the health of new landscape plantings.

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Asclepias tuberosa – Butterfly Weed

Thu, 07/09/2015 - 4:23pm


Some of you may have noticed the wildlife gardens, native plantings, prairies and ditches around town are full of beautifully blooming and sweet smelling milkweed, swamp milkweed and butterfly weed right now.  The butterfly weed is hard to miss as there are few such long blooming and long lived perennials that show off such bright, head turning orange flowers.  They actually bloom in shades ranging from golden yellow to orange but it always seems to be the orange ones that catch my eye!

Butterfly weed, Asclepias tuberosa, is a low maintenance native perennial species.  It is a great choice for wildlife gardens, rain gardens, and eclectic perennial borders.  Deadheading will keep them blooming all through the summer but as we near summers’ end please stop deadheading so that you can enjoy the beautiful seed pods that rise up above the foliage.  When the pods mature they will pop open exposing the seeds with their silvery-white, silky hairs; reminding me of its cousin, common milkweed.

Here’s the dirt on Asclepias tuberosa, Butterfly weed:  This one is a sun lover!  Clumps will grow to 24” tall and wide.  They are deer resistant yet attractive to many winged forms of wildlife.  You can grow them in just about any type of soil provided it isn’t soggy for long periods of time.  Consider planting them along with Threadleaf Coreopsis, Veronica, Yarrow and/or Monarda.

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Hosta Royal Wedding

Wed, 07/08/2015 - 7:57pm
Hosta Royal Wedding

The flowers of hosta plants are sometimes thought to be a waste with some gardeners.  Insignificant some say.  Well, you haven’t seen Royal Wedding yet!  The flowers of this beautiful hosta measure almost 4 inches long and the fragrance  will garner attention as it will linger in the air.  Plant it next to a walkway,  by your patio where you will be able to sit and enjoy it or anywhere close!   Hosta Royal Wedding is a sport of Hosta Diana Remembered and it is definitely a “royal” hosta.

The white flowers of Hosta Royal Wedding will appear in mid- to late summer.  The plant will grow to about 16 inches tall by 20 inches wide.  It can take some sun as well.

I just planted mine this past week and I placed it in front of my Ligularia Britt Marie Crawford which is a dark purple, tall shade perennial which is a fall bloomer.  The lighter green of this hosta with the cream to white border is set off so nicely against the deep purple of the Ligularia.

We currently have a limited number of Hosta Royal Wedding.  Find a spot in your garden and stop in soon to add this hosta to your collection!


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Categories: Businesses

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