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Resurrection Lily

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Resurrection Lily

This lily is a member of the Amaryllis family and also goes by the names Naked Lady, Surprise lily and Magic Lily.  It loves full sun, will tolerate some shade, good drainage and is supposedly only hardy to zone 5.  Well, I live in zone 4 and it’s done quite well.  The flowers are fragrant and a pretty pale pink to purplish. The photo below was from 2012.

The Resurrection Lily grows wide grass-like leaves similiar to an iris but the leaves die back and then BOOM, this 2 foot tall stalk grows and bursts with up to 5 blossoms per stalk.  After razing this bed in late 2012 and moving the lily bulbs into a container for the winter, I thought I’d lost them after seeing many of the bulbs turn to mush!!  The terrible winter didn’t help!  I transferred the decent bulbs and in 2013 and hoped for the best.  When nothing showed up in 2014, well, I figured that was the end…  then, with a names like Resurrection Lily, Surprise Lily and Magic Lily….  BOOM

Resurrection lily 2017

AGAIN, I did some more renovations and this year, my lily weren’t pleased with me but I did get ONE to bloom!  Much to my surprise…  the foliage really does look OVER when it yellows and turns into the soil but then…   Now if I can just learn to leave well enough alone!  ?

lily

Blooms coming August 2016

I planted the bulbs 6 inches into the soil.

Lily has no pest issues!  I cannot WAIT to see these flower!  AND spread!  Patience has not always been my strong suit.

Surround this lily with plants that will hide the dying foliage.  I never saw it as mine were planted with Globe Thistle and also, in another spot, with Siberian Iris.  From the picture below you can see that the leaves are gone, the flowers are held by a stem.

If you can find a source for the bulbs locally, try that first, however here are a couple of resources online for cooler climates:

Heritage Flower Farm – Wisconsin

Old House Gardens – Michigan

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Gooseberries and Currants

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Amid the world of raspberries and strawberries come a couple of tarts worth a go!

Gooseberries and Currants are closely related, they’re also prevalent in Minnesota.  They’re tolerant of most types of soil, some shade tolerance but do best in sun.  Don’t plant under the shade of a tree as they’ll compete too much for moisture.

The gooseberries you mostly see are green but the University of Minnesota came up with this cultivar in 1957.  ‘Welcome’…

Gooseberry 'Welcome'

A tried and true abundant producer.  Red, sweet-tart berries ripen on long curving branches in late spring or early summer.  Eat fresh or use in pies and jams.  Fruit freezes well.  More shade tolerant than other varieties.   Hardy to -40°F.   Grows to 3 feet tall and about 5 feet wide.

In 1933 the University of Minnesota created ‘Red Lake’ currant – it’s still the top seller.

Currant 'Red Lake'

 Large and juicy red berries ripen in late spring through the summer months, with intense flavor ideal for making preserves. Red berries, although tart, can be eaten fresh picked and are attractive to birds. With showy, bright red fruits and aromatic leaves, vigorous bushes make attractive hedges in the garden. Best grown in rich, well-drained soil. Very resistant to White Pine Blister Rust. Very high in vitamin C.  Grows to 5 feet tall with a 3 foot spread.
For Currant recipes click on this link to Food.com.  And here’s a link to Gooseberry recipes.   Here’s a little tease…
red currant muffin

red currant muffin

 

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Small space gardening – shrubs and a fruit!

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Small space gardening – shrubs and a fruit!

Small space gardening is very doable.  There are gorgeous containers, creative ways to place with space and some wonderful dwarf plants to set the stage for a lovely little landscape.

For shrubs, and these CAN be placed in containers, a hydrangea to choose is  Paniculata ‘Bobo’ was introduced in Belgium where its compact size was celebrated as a center of interest tucked in smaller garden borders and in containers on terraces. The 3 foot tall plants are covered midsummer to fall with large pale green to white blooms held on strong stems. It’s a Gold medal winner for its innovative size and habit.   This hydrangea can be planted inground too!

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Bobo’

For some crazy chartreuse color and airy, deeply cut foliage, Sambucus ‘Lemony Lace’ is worth looking into.  This elderberry shrub grows from 3 to 5 feet tall and wide. The foliage will catch even the slightest breeze. It creates a vibrant, feathery mound in the garden all season, and its red fruit attracts birds in autumn.  This is a Proven Winners® Variety. One thing to mention is, I had two of these, they were both killed by an errant lawn care guy.  They are very sensitive to chemicals.

Sambucus Elderberry ‘Lemony Lace’

Fruit for your small space!  It can happen with ‘Bushel & berry ‘raspberry shortcake’.  This zone 5 raspberry grows to just  3 feet tall.  It requires full sun for full fruiting! Plants thrive in containers as well as in your garden and require no staking.  If you plant in a container, you can overwinter it in a non-heated garage.  Just be sure the soil is moist when you put it away.

‘Raspberry Shortcake’

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Lawn care – fertilizing

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Lawn care – fertilizing

This is a yearly ponderable by the lawn faithful.  Fertilizing the lawn, should you or shouldn’t you?  The most correct answer, according to research, is NOT now.  I know, I can hear many of you gasping, but the BEST times to fertilize your lawn are Late summer and fall.

fertilized lawn

This is contrary to the traditional springtime application. But here’s why:

Early spring applications of nitrogen cause a surge of top growth in the plants, which makes the lawn look nice in the spring but depletes the plants’ energy reserves. Consequently, when summer stress periods occur, plants are weaker and less able to survive.

stressed/weedy lawn

Applying fertilizer in late August or early September will provide the plant with adequate nutrition to overcome any summer stresses. In addition, an application of fertilizer in late October or early November, when top growth is minimal but when soil temperatures are still warm enough for nitrogen absorption, plants resume growth and green-up early the following spring without the excessive shoot growth associated with early spring nitrogen applications.  The University of Minnesota Fertilizing Lawns

And here’s the other thing, when using herbicides, try not to buy ones that have fertilizer in them.  When fertilizing lawns, particularly with quick-release nutrients, it is important to consider the weather and turfgrass conditions to achieve maximum effectiveness. Ideal conditions include a cool day with a good rainfall or watering immediately following the fertilizer application to wash the fertilizer off the leaves and into the soil.

July rains created a green lawn.

 

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Lawn care – weed killing

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Lawn care – weed killing

Does forsythia bloom foretell the coming of crabgrass?  Perhaps, but Mother Nature is fickle.  Sometimes we get above average temperatures, like this year.

Forsythia

Preemergent herbicides affect germinating seeds. That means, to be effective, the herbicide should be applied two to three weeks before weed seeds germinate.  Some researchers say that’s about the time when forsythia starts to drop its blooms.  The University of Minnesota Extension, which is in zone 4, says application of preemergents should be between May 5 and May 20.  This year that will likely be too late.  The University of Wisconsin has THIS list of what to do and when.

So what about Post-treatment considerations?  There are a lot of varying views as to the HOW of this operation.  I’m using university based information.  Post Emergent herbicides may be applied any time the weeds are actively growing, the air temperature is 60–80 degrees F, there are no winds, and there is no rain in the forecast for 48 hours. Most effective control of perennial broadleaf weeds is when applied in early fall (August 15–October 15) or in spring (May 1–June 1). Some weeds will need repeated applications.

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Earth Day – celebrate!

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Earth Day – celebrate!

Van Gogh said “if you truly love nature you’ll see beauty everywhere”.  It’s true, even the weeds can be pretty amazing.  This photo was taken at a parking lot tollbooth in Minneapolis!  I love the tenacity of this petunia.

petunia in pavement

petunia in pavement

You can’t see an ounce of soil but those weeds don’t give up, life doesn’t give up!  I so appreciate the life that lives in our soil,  allows us to grow our own food, feeds the trees that offer us shelter, warmth and some really tasty maple syrup, as well as a myriad of mouthwatering fruits and nuts!  The flowers that bring a delightful scent to our gardens while also attracting beneficial bugs to help our veggie gardens produce.

daylilies, sneezeweed, monarda, salvia

daylilies, sneezeweed, monarda, salvia

The increased awareness of taking care of our planet Earth keeps us active in more physical pursuits as well.  Gardening is a great physical activity as well as a release for the mind.  I get peaceful when I’m out there digging around.  It lifts my spirits after a long, cold winter.

Wahoo

Wahoo

No need to go all “Ed Begley Jr.”, but ALL of us doing a few things green makes a significant difference!

  • Shopping without plastic bags is my favorite.  Not only are the bags recycled but they’re so much sturdier and I can pack more in them without worrying they’ll bust.  Plus, some stores give a nickel credit.  ?    Cotton, jute and natural fiber bags are washable!  Plastic bag statistics
  • TURN THE LIGHTS OFF.  This is the one my husband and I have a problem with.  He is notorious for not turning the lights off!
  • Quick showers with warm water – not hot
  • Recycle scrap paper at work for notes.  I don’t think we’ll put 3M out of business if we used scrap paper for notes rather than post-its.
  • Change the temperature on your thermostat 2 degrees in either direction depending on season and save on heating and cooling.
  • Compost!
  • When you mow your lawn, leave the cuttings, letting them settle and decay back into the soil.
  • Don’t rake leaves into the street.  If the storm drain near your home is loaded with debris, get some gloves and clean it out.  All that gunk goes into our rivers, streams and lakes and damages their ecosystems.

If you want to go all “Ed Begley Jr.” then check out Green Living Ideas for home energy use and a whole lot more.

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The poop on manure

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  The poop on manure

Manure happens!  And in abundance but fresh manure should never be put on a veggie garden!  You can buy composted manure at most garden centers.

creekside cow manure

Temperatures in a compost pile should reach 130 to 140 degrees to kill weed seeds and pathogens.  It should stay at that temp for at least 5 days.  Most folks stay away from pig manure.  It’s best to stick with dairy, sheep, horse or poultry manure.

Never use dog or cat manure.  It’s just not worth the risk as dogs may have worms and cats can carry parasites.  You can use your PET rabbit, guinea pig or hamsters bedding but only AFTER it’s been composted.  However, you CAN use wild rabbit droppings with no composting.  Those bunnies are usually depositing them in your garden for you!

sneaky bunny

long view of hosta, compost, iris 5-26-15

My compost bin – this whole area is being reworked!  It was a jungled mess.

 

My own story of blindly getting horse manure from a farmer is one I’ll share in order to stop you from doing it!  ALWAYS SEE what you’re getting before putting manure on your garden.  Just goes to show you that we’re always learning!!!   And that’s a good thing.  Note:  not all of those roundish things are rocks, some are gobs of hay.

Horse manure with rocks!

Horse manure with rocks!

My tale of woe isn’t to discourage you from getting composted livestock manure but rather to make sure you know what you’re getting…  With Creekside you don’t have to be concerned.

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Pollinators and their pals

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Pollinators and their pals

I talked with you last week about attracting and keeping pollinators.  It’s not just honeybees, there are plenty of other insects and, to a far lesser extent, mammals that can pollinate our planet.  Hummingbirds are natural bird pollinators as they drink the nectar of plants and carry the pollen to other flowers.  Worldwide, there are 2,000 birds that are pollinators specifically.

White Lined Sphinx Moth

I caught this beautiful moth on my Honeysuckle vine – the feed on nectar at night!  It’s wings flap as quickly as a hummingbird.  It’s often called a Hummingbird Sphinx moth.

Butterflies also carry pollen, but it’s not because they’re trying.  It collects on their legs and bodies as they flit from flower to flower.  As I mentioned, even mammals can be pollinators.  They’re utterly unaware of it, but as they wander through your plants, pollen can get on their bodies which can touch down on other flowers.  And, of course, wind is a pollinator too!

But what you’re likely looking for are the shrubs/trees and flowers that will bring the birds, the bees, the butterflies and even beneficial beetles to your landscape.

List of plants from early Spring to late Fall – Pollinator plant list – TK

Go to gardenbite.com where I’ve a list of plants for blooms from early Spring to late Fall.  This is by no means a complete list but it WILL give you some wonderful choices.

Selecting plants for pollinators

100 Plants to Feed the Bees – Xerces Society

Prairie Restoration

Prairie Haven

Early trees and shrubs include Pussywillow, which grows to 20 feet in full sun.

Pussy Willow blooming

Thornless Hawthorn, a slow growing specimen tree will grow to 25 ft tall and is okay in part sun.  This lovely will live for 50 years and has orange Fall color.

Thornless cockspur Hawthorn

Eastern Redbud, a gorgeous pink flowered early beauty grows to 30 ft. Purchase ‘Northern Strain’ for colder climate zones.  Blooms precede leafout.  You may see them in late March/early April, depending on weather conditions.  Eastern Redbud has yellow Fall color.

Eastern Redbud

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The information superhighway – Mycelium – my whatium?

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  The information superhighway – Mycelium – my whatium?

It’s an information superhighway that speeds up interactions between a large, diverse population of individuals. It allows individuals to communicate and help each other out. But it also allows them to commit new forms of crime. You thought I was talking about the internet, not so, I’m talking about mycelium!

The mycelium of a fungus spreading through soil (Credit: Nigel Cattlin / Alamy)

 Mycelium are the thin threads of fungi that link roots of different plants.  According to the BBC, plants aren’t just sitting there quietly growing. By linking to the fungal network they can help out their neighbors by sharing nutrients and information – or sabotage unwelcome plants by spreading toxic chemicals through the network. This “wood wide web”, it turns out, even has its own version of cybercrime.  Around 90% of land plants are in mutually-beneficial relationships with fungi.      BBC Plants talk to each other! 

In mycorrhizal associations, plants provide fungi with food in the form of carbohydrates. In exchange, the fungi help the plants suck up water, and provide nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen, via their mycelia.  That’s why some gardeners are adding mycorrhiza fungi to their planting holes.

This interesting interlink between widely separated plants has been known for decades, all the intricacies, however, are still not completely understood!  Scientists DO say that plants warn each other of unfun fungi!

mycorrhizal fungi

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Tour of Lakewood Cemetery greenhouses

Lakewood Cemetery invites the public to tour its greenhouses for the first time this Earth Day, Saturday, April 22, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. These guided tours offer an opportunity for people of all ages to catch a rare, behind-the-scenes glimpse of Lakewood’s elaborate gardening operations. Read more below:

Mar29_GreenhousePressRelease

I’ve signed up for the 10:30 tour!  Click HERE to sign up.

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