Knecht's - Northfield, MN Nurseries and Landscaping

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Container Gardening – Outside the Box

Fri, 05/29/2015 - 5:58am
Wagon container garden

Trash to treasure — kind of.  Heidi Brosseau – of our retail staff – has such a creative mind that she sees a container garden in almost anything.  Pictured here are all examples of her work!

We have put a couple of old wheelbarrows to use as container gardens.  An old plastic birdbath developed a hole and wouldn’t hold water – so instead of throwing it away – it now adorns the butterfly garden as a container garden.  One of our landscape customers sent back an old red wagon with the guys and Heidi transformed it into a container garden.

 

A succulent perennial garden fills one of the wheelbarrows!

Perennial succulent perennial garden Perennial succulent container garden

Heidi created it three years ago and each fall, it gets moved into one of the hoop houses for the winter and with a little “perennial clean-up” in the spring,  we bring it back out and it’s beautiful once again. Heidi added a few pieces of leftover limestone as natural accents.

Last weekend, Heidi took the other wheelbarrow and I thought she was cleaning up the potting area.  Wrong.   She piled all kinds of old terra cotta pots and placed them in the wheelbarrow –  some stacked inside the other, some going this way and that way – and all of a sudden – it is now one the most clever container gardens she has come up with.  It now features a sunny annual container garden.  

If an area at your home needs an accent or a “pop of color” – think outside the box – look in the garage or shed and see what you have that could now become a container garden!

Thank you Heidi for all of your creative ideas!

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Categories: Businesses

Hosta Winter Snow

Thu, 05/28/2015 - 8:22pm
Hosta Winter Snow

Another of my favorites… Hosta Winter Snow…

This will become a giant hosta – 33 inches tall by 75 inches wide.  Shiny chartreuse leaves with white margins.  A sport of Sum and Substance and Parhelion.    Pale lavender flowers will appear mid-summer.   The corrugated leaves  will reach 16 to 20 inches on the mature plant.  Hosta Winter Snow is fairly tolerant to quite a bit of sun.

A great hosta to use as a specimen plant or in the back of a hosta garden with small and medium hosta or other perennials in the front.  Combine with a blue hosta – a dark green hosta – purple heuchera, and astilbe.

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Categories: Businesses

Common Chokecherry Tree

Thu, 05/28/2015 - 8:08pm

Spring is the time of year when many of us think about planting fruit trees, and unfortunately, the Common Chokecherry tree often gets overlooked.  If you like to make jams and jellies, it would be a good tree to consider planting.

Chokecherry trees are a southern Minnesota native that produces small tart fruits relished by birds, and have long been prized for the outstanding jam that can be made from this little sour fruit.  A common practice when making chokecherry jam is to mix the juice from the chokecherries with juice from the old fashion Dolgo Crab to get the chokecherry jam to jell properly.

Plant chokecherry trees as stand alone trees, or mix them with other natives like wild plum, black cherry and Shadblow Serviceberry to create thickets / borders / privacy screens / wind screen that will become a haven for wildlife of all kinds.

Mature size is rated at 15-25 feet wide by 25 feet tall.  Avoid soggy soils.

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Categories: Businesses

Fox Valley Dwarf River Birch

Thu, 05/28/2015 - 7:59pm

If you have an area in your landscape that has soil that is intermittently soggy and other small trees or shrubs have failed in this damp soil, you may want to try planting a Fox Valley Dwarf River Birch, which can tolerate wet soils.  Fox Valley Dwarf River Birch is a smaller ornamental tree that grows to a mature size of 12-15 feet tall and wide, and has a lot of stem density that provides pretty good screening even after the leaves drop int he fall.

Because Fox Valley Dwarf River Birch is by its nature a chubby butter ball, be sure to allow space for it to spread to the sides and choose a location that has plenty of sunlight for the best vigor and appearance.  Acidic to neutral soils are preferred by Fox Valley Dwarf River Birch, which happily are virtually immune to attack by the bronze birch borers.

I’m pretty sure if you have a nice Fox Valley Dwarf River Birch in your yard, it will catch the eyes of friends and neighbors, and will be a conversation feature of your landscape.

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Categories: Businesses

Dakota Pinnacle Birch

Thu, 05/21/2015 - 9:36pm

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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Categories: Businesses

Good as Gold

Thu, 05/21/2015 - 9:25pm
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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Categories: Businesses

The Shade Garden

Thu, 05/21/2015 - 5:16pm
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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Categories: Businesses

Golden Shadows Pagoda Dogwood

Fri, 05/15/2015 - 6:04am
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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Categories: Businesses

Annual Flowers and Flowering Crabapples

Thu, 05/14/2015 - 9:23pm

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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Categories: Businesses

Hosta Victory – Hosta of the Year – 2015

Thu, 05/14/2015 - 8:39pm
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

Mon, 05/11/2015 - 8:50pm

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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Categories: Businesses

Zebra Stripes Hosta

Thu, 05/07/2015 - 8:26pm
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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Categories: Businesses

Flowering Crabs are now Peaking

Thu, 05/07/2015 - 7:18pm

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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Categories: Businesses

Bulk Manure

Thu, 05/07/2015 - 6:59pm

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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Categories: Businesses

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