Knecht's - Northfield, MN Nurseries and Landscaping

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Summer Sale

5 hours 41 min ago

Our summer sale begins today on July 1st!  All regularly priced plant material is on sale at 10% off!  You will still continue to find great bargains in our bargain areas for shrubs & trees!   Now is the time to get a new tree or two- get some shrubs replaced or add some perennials!

Our summer sale will go from July 1st through the 14th!

All of our remaining annuals are on sale at 50% off.  Our beautiful cannas are going to be in bloom soon and are on sale at 50% off!


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Sale on Strawberry Plants

Fri, 06/24/2016 - 9:35am

Start your own strawberry patch!  We have well developed strawberry plants on sale!!  A tray of 10 plants for just $6.99.  (While supplies last)

Strawberries need full sun, and you should plant them about 12″ apart.  They will root into your garden now and send out runners which will fill out your strawberry patch.  Late fall, you should cover your strawberry patch with straw for the winter.  This will help insulate the patch for the winter.  Then in the spring, you rake back the straw and leave it between the rows to help in keeping the weeds down!

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What’s Doing the Blooming? Plains Prickly Pear

Fri, 06/24/2016 - 12:09am
Opuntia macrorhiza (Plains Prickly Pear)

This time each year a steady stream of visitors come to ask us, “What is that plant in the display garden with the beautiful yellow flowers?” Before we can answer they follow with, “It looks like a cactus!” Well, they are exactly right! Not only is it a cactus but it is one of 3 varieties of cactus that are native to Minnesota. Yes, you read that correctly, Minnesota has native cacti. If you haven’t been in during their bloom before, it is definitely worth the stop. They are impressive!

Opuntia macrorhiza (Plains Prickly Pear)

We carry one of two varieties of native prickly pear commonly referred to as Plains Prickly Pear. This unique, perennial would be found in sunny, dry prairie environments and among exposed rock outcroppings. However, for our purposes, they are a fun and easy addition to any sunny, well drained perennial bed or border. Mature colonies produce a 12” high, dense groundcover or mat, which is covered with bright yellow flowers each June.

Opuntia macrorhiza (Plains Prickly Pear)

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My Woodland Garden – The Large Hosta

Thu, 06/23/2016 - 8:13pm
Hosta Sum & Substance

A walk around the garden tonight, highlighted several of the large hosta.  An old standard in the hosta line-up is Hosta Sum & Substance.  It’s lime green / yellow color provides an accent to the various shades of green and brightens up the corner of the garden.

Hosta Komodo Dragon is a nice large green and stands out as either

Hosta Komoda Dragon

a specimen hosta or simply a silent solider in letting the other more colorful hosta take the limelight.

Hosta Guardian Angel

Hosta Guardian Angel – my favorite – is a tri-colored blend of green, blue and a cream mix.  Blended together – it provides that unique touch to your hosta display.

Hosta VIctory – a past winner of the AHS Hosta of the Year is a winner in that it is upright, somewhat vase shaped an stands up

Hosta Victory

and over other hosta plants.  It’s variegation provides a contrast with plain colored hosta plants or other shade perennials.

Perhaps the largest hosta plant at maturity – Hosta

Hosta Empress Wu

Empress Wu will be a show stopper.  Earning the title of a Proven Winner – it’s mass will make you take notice.   I have two Empress Wu – across the garden from each other and they have each grown into such nice plants.  They are just beginning to send up their flower stalk and I am anxious at seeing their height this season.   They are in their 4th full season and continue to get bigger each year.

These five hosta are all considered either large or extra large plants.  You need to have space for them.  They are impressive.  Either as specimen plants are in the back of a shade garden to act as an anchor with other shade perennials,

We currently have four  of these in stock and Komodo Dragon will be available in late summer.

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The Yellow Peril

Thu, 06/23/2016 - 4:37pm
Wild Parsnips

Two or three years ago the road sides of Rice County Hwy 20 near our house were graced by the lovely orange of the native Indian Paint Brush plants scattered along the ditches in early to midsummer.  This year the scene is far different.  The Indian Paint Brush plants are fewer and harder to spot in a sea of yellow invaders waving in the breeze, and I dare not walk into the area to check things out due to the very real danger of getting a horrible skin rash.  The yellow peril has arrived in full force, and is taking over acres and acres of our countryside, making large areas unsafe for human activity.  Wild parsnip is spreading along miles and miles of our township, county, state and federal roads.

Sadly, little is currently being done to stop the spread of the poisonous wild parsnip along our highways.  The government officials responsible for the highway right of ways are caught in a predicament between people who do not want to herbicides sprayed to control noxious weeds and brush along the roads, people who want no mowing of the roadsides until after the wild parsnips have produced huge quantities of seed, and tight budgets for men, machines and materials.

This year I have noticed a big change in the way the poisonous wild parsnip is spreading.  Previously, the primary means of spreading wild parsnips has been the late summer movement of mowers through tall stands of wild parsnip with seeds hitching a ride on the equipment for a little while and falling off a little further down the road ditch into an uninfected area.  Of course, the seed has also been spread by the winds of fall and winter.  The big difference is that now I’m seeing wild parsnips spreading into private lands and wild lands.

Imagine a beautiful country acreage that has been a place to walk and play, and a place to enjoy wildlife and country breezes and native plants.  Now imagine that same lovely meadow heavily infested with wild parsnip to the extent that it is no longer safe to walk through the area due to the danger of getting skin rashes worse than that of poison ivy.  It is starting to happen.

Just yesterday I noticed a heavily infested pasture and in another area the wild parsnips have spread into a meadow of mixed grasses and scattered brush.  Your land may be next; particularly if your land is next to a road where wild parsnips are spreading like wildfire.  To protect you and your land, you may want to ask your local unit of government to eradicate the wild parsnip growing in the road ditches.  So far, most highway departments have done little to eradicate wild parsnips in the road ditches for fear of criticism were they to herbicide spray as a control measure.

Now the same highway department will receive criticism for not preventing, and unwittingly spreading the yellow peril.  These public servants are caught in the middle, and the resulting inaction is having disastrous results.

While I am not an expert on this subject, I do have a strong hunch that the best solution will be the unpopular option of spraying herbicides on wild parsnips repeatedly over a period of years, and combined with mowing at a time when the mowing will make re=growing wild parsnips vulnerable to herbicide spray.

It will be interesting to see what control measures prove to be the best.  The one thing I’m certain of is that doing little or nothing will produce a terrible outcome with millions of acres at risk of becoming unsafe for human activity.  Join me in urging your township, city, county and state officials to take decisive action to eliminate the yellow peril.

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The Scourge of Wild Parsnips

Fri, 06/17/2016 - 6:36am
Wild Parsnips Wild Parsnips Wild Parsnips

You can help slowdown a silent epidemic that is rapidly spreading along Minnesota roadways, and threatening to invade private properties.  Wild Parsnip is spreading at an alarming rate along roadways all though Southeast Minnesota, and is extremely toxic to human skin, causing blisters and skin rashes that can be worse than those caused by Poison Ivy when exposed skin touches the wild parsnips, or comes in contact with the particles of wild parsnips created when the weed is mowed.  See article produced by the Minnesota DOT .

The three photos here were all taken this morning – 6-17-16, along County Road 20 in Bridgewater Township.  You can tell how this toxic weed is spreading rampantly up and down the ditch.

Spraying Wild Parsnips with broadleaf herbicide to kill them before seeds can fully develop may help slow down the spread of this toxic weed.  This may be the best control measure rather than mowing.

Mowing the Wild Parsnip when they are lush and juicy can be dangerous for the person mowing.  Mowing after the seed heads mature actually spreads the weed to new areas.  On both counts, mowing appears to be counter productive.

One of the reasons Wild Parsnips are spreading so quickly is that most units of government mow roadside ditches after wild birds are done nesting.  This is also after the seeds of Wild Parsnips are fully mature.  As mowers move through the dried up Wild Parsnips, seeds lodge on the top of mower decks, only to fall off a while later as the mowers shimmer and shake their way over the rough terrain of the ditch.  It’s happening on State, Federal, County, Municipal and Township roads, and the yellow seed heads that resemble dill seed heads in shape are easy to spot right now.

Beside the yellow Wild Parsnips, I’ve heard there is a variety that is greener, taller and has a white blossom.  I need to learn more about this one, and will share what I learn over the next year about control measures.

One of the best things you can do is to talk to your elected officials and the folks responsible for maintaining our roadways.  Ask them to implement a control and eradication program to protect our lands and our people from this toxic plant.  Right now the highway departments are inadvertently spreading Wild Parsnips rather than eliminating them.  We need to encourage them to find good solutions to keep from spreading Wild Parsnips and other invasive plants.

It is very important to protect birds nesting in the road ditches.  Mowing road ditches earlier in the summer will kill LOTS of birds, so this is not a good option.  Unfortunately, spraying noxious weeds like Wild Parsnips, thistle, and  leafy spurge with herbicide may be a better and less environmentally destructive control measure than early mowing.  This is going to be a difficult balancing act and a subject of discussion and research.  I’m eager to see what control measures turn out to be the best.

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Japanese Tree Lilacs

Fri, 06/17/2016 - 6:11am

In mid to late June, Japanese Tree Lilacs put on a really nice show with their large cone shaped creamy white blossoms that are also very fragrant.  I love Japanese Tree Lilacs not only because they have lush, large fragrant blossoms, but also because they are tough!

If you struggle with clay soils, Japanese Tree Lilacs may be a good choice if you make sure they pick a location where the clay is well drained.  Lilacs of all kinds absolutely hate wet feet, but can grow

quite nicely in clay soil as long as its not a soggy, poorly drained spot.

‘Ivory Silk’ Japanese Tree Lilac has become very popular with its more upright than spreading shape.  The common Japanese Tree Lilac and ‘Snowdance’ Japanese Tree Lilacs are rounded and wider spreading.  While ‘Ivory Pillar’ and ‘Snowcap’ Japanese Tree Lilac are smaller and narrower.  ‘Summer Storm’ Japanese Tree Lilac is another vigorous new variety.   While Japanese Tree Lilac will grow well in rich and fertile soils, they remain one of the best options for a flowering tree on sites where there is lots of clay, in a well drained spot.  Enjoy the beauty and fragrance of a Japanese Tree Lilac.

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What’s Doing the Blooming? Yarrow

Fri, 06/17/2016 - 12:19am
Yarrow, Achillea millefolium ‘Pretty Belinda’

‘Pretty Belinda’, ‘Moonshine’, ‘Terra Cotta’, and ‘Strawberry Seduction’... With names as fanciful as these you may not expect me to bring up “native roots”. Yarrow is native all over North America and shows it’s resilience and tolerance for soils and growing conditions by it’s ability to thrive in ditches, in gravel pits and in sunny pastures and meadows.

Yarrow Achillea ‘Moonshine’

The cultivars we provide are different in their vibrant colors and fun names but their “roots” are what I consider to be very native and very hardy! Yarrow is a perfect selection for those tough areas where the sun is hot and the soil well drained. They lend themselves beautifully to cottage and prairie gardens and are lovely planted en masse with their colors mixed. Their large clusters of delicate flowers are held high above ferny foliage on strong stems; creating brightly colored and long lasting landing pads for butterflies to frequent.

Yarrow, Achillea millefolium ‘Terra Cotta’

The foliage and stems are strongly fragrant when disturbed or crushed, making them resistant to deer and rabbit graze. Some say yarrow deters mosquitoes – I have not tested this theory myself.  I have, however, tried and enjoyed them as cut flowers in both fresh bouquets and dried arrangements.  They are long lasting and easy to work with on both of those counts. Occasional deadheading will keep them blooming throughout the summer months and keep them looking clean and fresh.

Yarrow, Achillea millefolium ‘Strawberry Seduction’

Their mature height will vary by variety and also by soil quality. Most will top out around 2′ tall creating clumps from 24-36” wide.

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My Woodland Garden – June 16th

Thu, 06/16/2016 - 7:45pm

Just when I was making headway on all of the gardens, the storm last week produced winds which brought down hundreds of small branches and leaves.  I must have hauled out 15 wheelbarrows full of sticks and leaves.   Even the smallest of branches fell to the forest floor – some going right through my hosta leaves.  The small holes are not from slugs – but decorated by Mother Nature!  Then, the next storm on  this past Tuesday, we


measured 3 1/2 inches of rain in our gauge.

The gardens are all weeded, most have received a light application of fresh mulch – just a few left to go – and the garden art has all been strategically placed which produces a smile no matter which way you look!

Our toads!

After all, this is what it’s all about!

The pink elephant!

Today, I finally took a day off and some of the crew came out and hauled some mulch and refreshed the red rock on our paths in the main hosta garden.

I installed the mulch around my miniature hosta area – and then brought out the gnomes!  This is my favorite area – creating a little gnome village in amongst the “giant” hosta plants!

The Gnome Village


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My Woodland Garden – June 8, 2016

Fri, 06/10/2016 - 5:39am
Minuteman Hosta

The hosta and shade perennials are looking fantastic right now.  I have mostly individual hosta varieties in groupings and in a few places, I have more than one of a variety.  Under the birch tree by our front door, we have 3 small boulders placed, and around the boulders we have 3 Minuteman hosta planted.  This variety of hosta is considered a medium sized and is a vigorous grower – meaning it reaches maturity faster than other varieties.

Next to this area, we  have more rock outcroppings and hosta

Hosta Wheee!

planted around the stone.  One hosta that is looking so good right now is Hosta Wheee!  A Proven Winner – this small to medium hosta is unique as its leaves are wavy which contrasts nicely with the hosta and yews that are close to it.

Aralia Sun King

Several years ago, one of our suppliers sent out some new varieties of plants that they wanted us to “trial” for them.  One was Aralia  Sun King.  A unique perennial for the shade that complements the hostas and the woodland surroundings.  In the early spring, it sports beautiful bright gold  leaves on reddish brown stems.  With some sun, it holds its color for the season.  If there is more shade, the leaves will revert to a lime green mid-summer.  An added bonus is the small clumps of white  flowers that are produced which follow up with  purple/black edible berries.    Now – ready for the added bonus?  The flowers are attractive to the honey bees and this 3 foot perennial is deer resistant!  We have five of these planted within 20 feet of each other among boulders with hosta and other shade perennials now for a third season and it is proving to be very hardy and true to the description!

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What’s Doing the Blooming? Hardy Shrub Roses

Fri, 06/10/2016 - 1:35am
Hardy Shrub Roses

Every June I am amazed by the classic beauty of our low maintenance, hardy shrub roses. They provide our Minnesota garden beds and borders with reliable and long lasting color throughout the spring, summer and early fall without the fussiness that garden roses or hybrid tea roses might require. We take time to study the many varieties of shrub roses available for us to grow and sell, ensuring that we are offering plants both zone hardy as well as disease resistant.  We offer ever-blooming and recurrent blooming varieties.  Recurrent varieties will bloom for 2-3 weeks and then rest for 2-3 weeks before beginning another bloom cycle.  Generally,  they will go through 3 bloom cycles in a  growing season. Pictured are Como Park and Campfire, both are recurrent bloomers.

Como Park Shrub Rose

Hardy shrub roses require full sun to produce their best bloom and growth habit. They will thrive in average garden soil and benefit from regular watering during dry spells. Deadheading occasionally will produce a cleaner looking plant and extend their bloom. Most of the varieties we carry mature in the 3-4′ range making them a versatile plant in the landscape or flower garden.

Campfire Shrub Rose

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Tannebaum Mugo Pine

Thu, 06/09/2016 - 8:42pm
Tannebaum Mugo Pine

Have you been hoping to find an evergreen tree that won’t outgrow a modest sized space, look really nice year round, is very resistant to winter burn, has tough medium length needles, can tolerate extreme cold and relentless winter sun bouncing off snow banks, and can withstand winter time salt spray blowing off a busy street or highway?   Tannebaum Mugo Pine may be just the tree you’ve been looking for, and it is also a very nice looking evergreen that is so winter hardy that it can withstand temperatures in excess of minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sporting an upright and pyramidal shape, Tannenbaum Mugo Pines are completely different from their Dwarf Mugo Pine cousins.  While Tannebaum Mugo Pine looks very much like a compact Red Pine or Scotch Pine, the more familiar Dwarf Mugo Pines have a short rounded half dome shape that gradually grows irregular as they grow to a surprisingly large 6′-8′ tall.  Tannebaum Mugo pines mature to an upright triangle shape to slightly over about 15 feet tall by 6 feet wide.  You should be able to decorate your Tannenbaum with holiday lights for many, many years.

We planted a Tannebaum Mugo Pine on a south-facing hillside here at the garden center where it gets regularly coated with salty road spray every winter.  I was really surprised how well it has stood up to these brutal conditions.  Stop in here at Knecht’s and look at our star Tannenbaum Mugo Pine.  At this time we carry Tannebaum Mugo Pine in five different size containers with a variety of price pints to choose from.

Plat Tannebaum in fairly sunny locations with good drainage.  Avoid wet sots and excessively shady locations.


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What’s Doing the Blooming? Peonies

Thu, 06/02/2016 - 11:49pm
Kansas Peony

The peonies are in full bloom! I can smell their beautiful fragrance before they are even in view. Many consider peonies a much loved perennial, not only for their floral beauty and fragrance, but often because they carry sentimental meaning. Peonies are hardy, low maintenance, long-lived plants. They have been around for a long time. Generations even. Each spring I enjoy hearing stories of, “grandma’s favorite flower”, and hand-me-down or family peonies. Often these plants began from an original clump that was dug and divided, then shared among all the children or grandchildren. You don’t have to see them blooming. Their fragrance fills our late spring air. When you catch a whiff you’ll remember why you love peonies too.

Kansas Peony

The perennial spotlight this week is on Peony Kansas. The double purple-red flowers produced by this variety have been enjoyed since the 1940’s. Many think it to be the best double red peony ever. They have excellent vigor and disease/pest resistance. Their strong 3′ stems are able to support the weight of those full fragrant flowers. Peonies grow well in average to good quality garden soil. They require full sun and don’t mind being divided. Always pay attention to planting depth when replanting peonies. Never plant them deeper then they were previously established at.

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My Woodland Garden – June 2, 2016

Thu, 06/02/2016 - 8:53pm

I have finally gotten all of my annual beds weeded, deep dug and planted for the season.  What a good feeling knowing that this is done.

Hibiscus starting a new season

Lots of changes this week.  A question we get alot this time of year with perennials is “I think my hibiscusA died over the winter – I don’t see anything”.  We then explain that it’s one of the last perennials to wake up for the year – waiting until almost June to make it’s appearance.  Mine is no exception.  Pictured here is the new growth for the season as of June 1, 2016.   It is one of those perennials that you need to be patient with.  And – it is worth the wait.

A couple of winters ago when it was a harder winter – I lost my red

William Baffin Climbing Rose

climbing rose.  We replanted with a William Baffin climber and this year, it is absolutely loaded with buds and they’re just now starting to open.  This spot in our yard gets about 6 hours of direct sunlight a day and it keeps the rose nice and happy.

Hosta Winter Snow

I’m not quite sure if it’s the rain from a couple of weeks ago followed by the week of warm weather – but all of my hosta are doing so well this year.  It is such a treat to walk through the main hosta garden and just look at what each one has to offer.  One of my favorites is Hosta Winter Snow.  It is a lighter lime green in color with a cream color border.  Large leaves – this large hosta is a vigorous grower.   The leaves are glossy  which adds to its charm.   Pictured here with other hosta, heuchera and baptisia – it is definitely a specimen plant.

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