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Technito Arbovitae

Thu, 08/27/2015 - 8:28pm
Photo courtesy Bailey Nurseries

Technito Arborvitae is a smaller sized selection of Techny Arborvitae that has all the great features of its parent while taking up considerably less space in the landscape.

Technito Arborvitae has the same beautiful dark green evergreen foliage as theTechny Arb, and is also very resistant to winterburn, able to withstand the effects of the winter sun without turning brown come spring.

A very dense growth habit enables a Technito Arborvitae to be used for visual screening from ground level up to eight to ten feet, while Techny Arborvitae matures to a height of 20 to 25 feet tall.  Technito Arboiivtae also takes pruning extremely well, which makes it pretty easy to shear to maintain a certain chosen height from 3 feet tall to 10 feet tall.  With its more restrained growth, Technito Arborvitae won’t have to be pruned as often as the standard Techny Arborvitae.

Technito Arborvitae can be safely planted from early April to mid-November making it an excellent choice for fall projects.  Technito Arbs mature to a size of 5 feet wide by 10 feet tall.

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Tardivia – Late Panicle Hydrangea – Tree Form

Thu, 08/27/2015 - 8:11pm
Knecht’s Tardiva Hydrangea tree

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Tardiva’

Late Panicle Hydrangea is trained to a single stem with a round head.  An upright, vigorous grower, the white flowers start to bloom in late August that are showy and which age to a lovely mauve pink.  The flower heads result in an elegant and airy floral display. This select variety is a personal favorite  because of its rounded shape and dense foliage. Strong stems support the weight of flowers so they do not hang down unlike other varieties of tree form hydrangeas. The Tardiva tree makes a great focal point in any landscape design. Tardiva is hardy in zones 4-9, prefers sun and can tolerate some filtered shade and are rare to be never fed on by Japanese beetles. The typical growth of this tree is 6 – 8 feet in height and 8 feet in width.

We have had this Tardiva Hydrangea in our garden here for more than ten years – and it delights us every fall.  One of the most important things that you need to do with all hydrangea trees, is to remove the spent blossoms in November.  The hydrangea tree branches are more brittle than most plants and if you do not prune off the spent blossoms, you will risk the snow, ice and frost of early winter to cling to these blossoms and weigh them down resulting in the breakage of a branch.  (Yes that happened to this hydrangea)

Brenda Cahalan of our retail staff contributed to this blog!  Thanks Brenda!


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<p>Sorghastrum nutans &#8216;Sioux

Thu, 08/27/2015 - 7:58pm

Sorghastrum nutans ‘Sioux Blue’ Blue Indian Grass

Photo courtesy of Monrovia

The native grasses are beginning their seasonal transformation and ‘Sioux Blue’ Indian Grass has really caught my eye this year!  Dense, erect clumps of powder blue foliage are gracefully showing off their nut brown flowers and bright yellow pollen pouches.  In a few more weeks the lovely blue leaves will transform this plant again as they turn yellow in autumn.  This disease resistant ornamental grass is a native cultivar of our North American prairies.  Making it an excellent selection for prairie and rain gardens as well as cutting and drying plantings.  Plant it with Rudbeckia and Sedum for a classic summer into fall combination.

Blue Indian Grass is easy to grow! Clumps mature around 6′ tall and 2-3′ wide.  It tolerates a wide range of soils from heavy clay to well drained sandy sites and will grow in any level of soil moisture from dry to constantly moist.  It is deer resistant and sun loving so give it a location where it will get at least 6 hours of direct sun or more a day.

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Best Time to Seed Grass

Fri, 08/21/2015 - 5:49am

Mid August to early September is the best time of the year to seed grass.  Whether you are over seeding thin areas, seeding smaller bare spots, or seeding a large area, right now is a great time.

One key to success in preparation.  Eliminate weeds in the area, rough up the top inch or more of soil with a claw, hoe or stiff tined garden rake.  Grass seed will germinate much better and faster when it is gently worked into the top 1/2″ of crumbly soil.  Grass seed lying on the top of bare soil germinates poorly, and the same is true if grass seed ends up deeper than 1/2″ deep.  Excellent germination is usually the result when the seed is mixed into the top 1/8″ to 1/2″ of soil.

Another key is to keep the seeded are moist.  I recommend a light watering early to mid-morning, and a second light watering mid to late afternoon.  If you can keep the seeded area consistently moist for 10 days, you will most likely have a wonderful stand of grass.

On slopes the addition of an erosion control blanket may be wise to prevent erosion resulting in gullies that require more soil mix and seed.

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North Country Dreaming

Fri, 08/21/2015 - 4:32am
Mountain Ash berries

It’s coming soon.  Every August when a push of cool dry Canadian air works its way into southern Minnesota, I begin to dream about returning to the canoe country of Northern Minnesota and southwestern Ontario at a time of incomparable beauty.

When the Red Maples, Quaking Aspens, Northern Pin Oak, Sugar Maple, Big Tooth Aspen, Birch, Tamarack and Showy Mtn. Ash begin to sow their first blush of fall color, my excitement builds.  It’s coming soon, and one of the very first north country trees to begin decorating the landscape with bright color is our native Showy Mountain Ash.  In early August, large clusters of berries begin to slowly turn orange/red .  By late August the color in these clusters intensifies into a lush display that both attracts and feeds many birds and even some mammals, such as deer, squirrels and mice.  A good-sized Showy Mountain Ash covered with large berry clusters or orange/red is a sight to behold, especially when it occasionally puts on it show while clinging to the edge of a rocky cliff.

Even here in Northfield the Showy Mtn. Ash are now attracting attention with their colorful berries.  It’s coming,  Fall in all of its glory is coming and our native Showy Mountain Ash is leading the way.

Most years the last 15 days of September and first few days of October are the peak of fall color in the Canoe Country.  It’s coming soon.  It will be the North Country in its finest hour and Showy Mtn. Ash will lead the way with the first good color from their berries.

Blue skies, sparkling waters and rocky cliffs combine with brilliant reds, yellows and orange to produce an all day long kaleidoscope of color.  Shwy Mtn. Ash has more than berries to help dress the landscape.  When Showy Mtn. Ash leaves turn colors it s a delightful mix of yellow, orange and red.

It’s coming soon.  If you’d like to see a little taste of the show to come, stop in and we will show you the Shwy Mtn. Ash that are already producing the beautiful orange berries, even when they are quite young.  Showy Mtn. Ash prefer well-drained soil, so avoid planting them in wet spots.

Adopt a Showy Mtn. Ash for your property and get a start on your own North Country Dreaming!

NOTE:  Showy Mtn. Ash are not true ash trees, and are not vulnerable to the Emerald Ash Borer which attacks Green Ash, White Ash and Black Ash.  Showy Mtn. Ash are part of the Sorbus genus of trees, while the other Ash trees are members of the Fraxinus genus that is being devastated by the Emerald Ash borer.

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Helenium AKA: Sneezeweed or Helen’s Flower

Wed, 08/19/2015 - 4:10pm



It’s hard to beat Helenium for native late season color.  At three feet tall (or more) it always ends up at the very back of the perennial bed.  Dwarf and/or compact varieties have become available in recent years and this has opened up new opportunities for Helenium!  These newer cultivars with their compact size are great used in foundation or mass plantings, butterfly or cutting gardens and perennial borders.  No longer is sneezeweed limited to the back of the bed!    Helenium ‘Fuego’ produces huge masses of orange petaled daisy style flowers with brown central cones that are ringed by a golden halo.  Helenium ‘Salsa’ blooms just as abundantly with deep red petals surrounding dark chocolate brown central cones.  Both varieties grow to a mature height of 18-21” and 18-24” wide.

Here are some growing tips for Helenium…

Helenium are native to sunny woodland edges, low meadows and moist prairies.  They prefer moist, well-drained, average to rich soil in full sun.  Dead heading will promote rebloom and you can keep them looking fresh and vigorous by dividing them every 3-4 years.   If you do lean in for a whiff of their light sweet scent, don’t worry!  You aren’t going to sneeze like crazy!  Their pollen is too large to cause allergies in that way.  The common name sneezeweed came about back when they used the dried and crushed leaves to make a snuff that induced sneezing.  It was considered a remedy for an assortment of ailments.   I attest from personal experience that their dried leaves can cause sneezing by those means, having cut them back at the end of the season for many years.  Now days we know that Helenium is toxic if ingested in large quantities.

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Goldsturm Rudbeckia

Fri, 08/14/2015 - 6:48am

Goldsturm Rudbeckia has to be the greatest perennial there is.

Among the best border perennials available,, it is a selection of one of our native North American wildflowers. Goldsturm Rudbeckia will form an upright clump with a dazzling display of brown-eyed, golden flowers from midsummer through the fall.  Seedheads have good winter interest and you will notice the winter resident birds feasting on these seedheads.

They will self-seed and naturalize forming a dense and colorful mass planting.  We have two plantings at home – one getting about 5 hours of sun a day and one only about 3 hours of sun a day and the impact right now is totally amazing.  We look out our window and it lights up our shade garden.  Yes – our shade garden.   Another attribute of this perennial is the bloom time – we will have flowers from now until frost.    With deadheading – the blooms stay much fuller.

Plants may be easily divided in early spring.  Goldsturm Rudbeckia was named Perennial Plant of the Year in 1999.

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Mums are Here

Fri, 08/14/2015 - 6:34am

If you go shopping anywhere right now you see the ‘Back to School’ sales and displays.  Yup, this is a signal that fall is around the corner.  This must then mean that it is time to freshen up your annual planters!  Our garden mums and Minnesota hardy mums are in and ready to show off their fall colors!

We also have many fresh annual planters that will complement your mums to make a welcoming garden, deck, patio or entrance for your fall entertaining.

Purple Fountain Grass

Companion plants of ornamental kale, ornamental peppers, Swiss Chard, and Purple Fountain Grass are available as well.  Need a straw bale?  We have a limited amount of these available!

Even though today it is going to be over 90 degrees with an even high dew point, don’t miss out on the perfect mums and plants for your home for fall!


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Perennial Hibiscus

Fri, 08/14/2015 - 6:23am
Cherry Cheesecake Hardy Hibiscus

Perennial hibiscus in Minnesota?  You betcha!  This is a perennial for the back of the perennial border.  Even small perennial gardens can have a hardy hibiscus.  Growing to heights of 3′-4′ tall – it will wake up quite late in the spring – making you think you’ve lost it due to a cold winter.  My hibiscus has been in the far side of our garden for several years now.  This past spring, I thought it was a goner since we had little snow and I thought it had froze too hard.  However, early June it sprang up and is now filled with many blossoms.   The blossoms?   Dinner plate size.

Hibiscus like full sun to partial sun/shade.  Provide adequate moisture.  In the fall, after it has gone dormant, prune down to 2′-3′ and apply a heavy layer of shredded mulch over the top of the crown to “tuck it in” for a long winter’s nap.  In mid-April, pull the mulch away and wait for it to wake up for the growing season.  Let your hardy Hibiscus become the summer “star” in your perennial garden!

Summerific ‘Cherry Cheesecake’ Hardy Hibiscus.  Creamy pink buds open to very large 7″-8″ white flowers with magenta tipped ruffled petals and magenta veining radiating out from the cherry red eye.  Relatively compact, well-branched, rounded habit with dark green foliage and boasts flower buds all the way up the stem.  Cherry Cheesecake is proud to be in the Proven Winner series of plants!

‘Heartthrob’ Hardy Hibiscus

‘Heartthrob’ PPAF.  Our darkest red flowering hibiscus!  Near-black, glossy buds open to luscious deep red blossoms with a blackish red center and veining.  Larger flowers – 8″-10″ wide, it has rounded, overlapping petals.  It will form a compact well-branched rounded clump of green, hydrangea-like foliage.  Hibiscus are attractive to hummingbirds and are deer resistant.

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Low Maintenance Evergreen Shrubs

Fri, 08/14/2015 - 5:57am
Russian Cypress

With busy 21st century lifestyles, most people would like to have a landscape that requires less maintenance.  Many evergreen shrubs are available for use in your landscape that will require less pruning than leafy deciduous shrubs.  Junipers, Russian Cypress, true Dwarf Mugo Pine, Hillside Creeper Scotch Pine, Hetz Midget Arborvitae and Dwarf Globe Blue spruce are all pretty low maintenance conifer shrubs that still add beauty and variety to Minnesota landscapes.

Spreading junipers that top out at heights of 4” to 18” tall usually only need a bit of pruning around the edges every two to three years.  Excellent spreading Junipers include Wilton Blue Rug, Blue Prince, Japgarden, Blue Chip, Blueberry Delight,, Andorra Compact, Calgary Carpet, Arcadia, Grey Owl, and Good Vibrations Gold.

Good Vibrations Golden

Several truly dwarf varieties of Mugo Pine include Sherwood Compact Mugo Pine, Slowmound Mugo Pine and the wonderfully asymmetrical Jakobsen Mugo Pine that takes on a Japanese garden look as it develops over time.  These Mugo Pines are very cold hardy just like the spreading junipers.

Globe Blue Spruce

Russian Cypress are beautiful almost feathery looking low growing evergreens that are extremely cold hardy.  Some nice new varieties have become available in recent years such as Celtic Pride Russian Cypress, Jakobsen Russian Cypress ad Fuzzball Russian Cypress.  All are very versatile as well as a proven ability to grow well in shady areas that might not have enough sunlight for junipers and pines.

For a full sun to part sun groundcover evergreen, you might want to try Hillside Creeper Scotch Pine.  It has nice stiff needles that give good texture while spreading gradually to form a good looking mat.

Hetz Midget Arbrovitae is a good looking small globe that tends to not outgrow a space and is able to prosper in full sun to part day sun.  Other globe arborvitae varieties tend to get bigger than most people want.

All these lower maintenance evergreens do require some maintenance, but certainly not on an every year basis like sunny leafy shrubs.  Give them a try and you will probably have more time to relax and enjoy you yard.

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Paul’s Select Norway Spruce

Thu, 08/06/2015 - 8:00pm
Paul’s Select Norway Spruce

If you are looking for an alternative to Colorado Blue Spruce, you might want to try the little known ‘Paul’s Select’ Norway Spruce to add a beautiful blue conifer to your landscape.  Paul’s Select Norway Spruce sports beautiful blue needles, superior disease resistance and a modest stature.   This Zone 3 plant will only reach a mature height of 12′ x 6′ wide.

Paul’s Select will grow best on fertile and well-drained soils.  Avoid wet soil.  If you want a handsome spruce tree that won’t outgrow its space, consider the Paul’s Select Norway Spruce.  We have some nice ones in our inventory, but since it is not widely available, quantities are limited.

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Evergreen Nursery

Thu, 08/06/2015 - 7:51pm

On Thursday, July 30th, Deb and I were privileged to visit Evergreen Nursery in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.  For over 15 years,  Ron Amos and Vicki Vanderhoof have done a fantastic job propagating evergreen tree liners and deciduous shrub liners and moving Evergreen Nursery to the leading edge of modern technologies.  Evergreen Nursery give these plants a great start with superior root systems, and we grow the little guys into landscape ready sized plants that grow like gangbusters for our customers.

We are honored to have Evergreen Nursery and all their excellent employees as our partners in bringing the very best plant materials to the retail market place and look forward to many more years of sharing information and ideas with Ron and Vicki.

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Versatile Dogwoods

Thu, 08/06/2015 - 7:39pm

Few shrub families can match the versatility of Red Twig Dogwoods and their close relatives.  Dogwoods like Cardinal Red Twig

Cardinal Redtwg Dogwood

Dogwood and Baton Rouge Red Twig Dogwood are able to grow and thrive in damp soils that cause other shrubs to struggle.  Bailey Red Twig Dogwood is a tough selection native to Minnesota, and Arctic Fire

Arctic Fire Dpgwppd


Dogwood is a great fit in many areas of the landscape due to its smaller size.

For people who love plants with

Ivory Halo Dogwood

white variegated edges on green leaves, the modest sized Ivory Halo Dogwood is an excellent choice.  If you are looking for a smaller shrub with very distinctive foliage, Pucker Up Dogwood might be just the right plant!

Pucker Up Dogwood

While all these dogwood varieties tolerate wet soils very well, they are also excellent and vigorous shrubs when planted on better drained upland soils.  Another versatile characteristic of dogwoods is their ability to grow well in both full sun and areas with partial shade.  One variety named Garden Glow Dogwood adds even more versatility by doing its best in locations with only a few hours of sunlight during the long days of summer.

Another good reason to try these dogwoods is their excellent winter stem color.  Most of the varieties we carry have beautiful burgundy red to bright orange-red stems once they have dropped their leaves in the fall.  A mass of Red Twig Dogwood on a sunny winter day is a feast for the eyes as glowing red twigs contrast sharply with the white dominated landscape.  

Stop in today to check out all the dogwood varieties that can be successful in many different areas of your property.

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