From hot to cold – 2 more new plants for 2014

Thu. Jan. 9, 2014

First up is a stunning Hardy Hibiscus ‘Jazzberry Jam’ I found at White Flower Farm.

Hibiscus 'Jazzberry Jam'

This hibiscus is hardy to zone 4, grows to 5 feet tall in full sun and the blooms can reach 9 inches across!  Hibiscus die down to the ground over winter and don’t start showing up till June so don’t get nervous if you don’t see any growth till then.  They like it hot.

From hot to cold, let’s talk Winterberry.  A native shrub in Minnesota that can grow to 15 feet.  However there’s a  … [Continue reading]

Northern Gardener magazine

Wed. Jan. 8, 2014

Hands down, Northern Gardener magazine is my favorite source for garden information and pleasure reading!


The Minnesota State Horticultural Society, of which I am a member, puts out Northern Gardener magazine which never fails to give me ideas.  I was just reading some interesting facts that have nothing to do with plants but, rather, planting healthy communities.

MSHS has a program called Minnesota Green.  For 25 years this program has distributed plant material to community spaces in Minnesota.  Donations from growers, nurseries, garden centers, seed companies and homeowners  … [Continue reading]

Super foods – the new garden trend

Tue. Jan. 7, 2014

So called super foods are not new and neither is planting them.  But this year MORE people will be choosing to grow them.  What are they?  Here are just a few:

Kale is an amazing vegetable.  It’s part of the cruciferous family that includes broccoli and cauliflower.  Kale is easy to grow, loves cooler temps and sun to semi-shade.  Curly kale is on the left.  Red cabbage on the bottom with a purple dragon carrot.  yum.


For the best health benefits, the recommendation is to steam it for 5 minutes.   … [Continue reading]

Garden trends for 2014

Mon. Jan. 6, 2014

Lists and more lists to remember and forget the best and worst of last year and what’s to come for this year!  In my research for 2014 gardening trends there were plenty of different takes on what’s to come…  I like that, it means not everyone’s landscape will look the same!

Some trends are just continuing and that’s another good thing!  Such as:

  • more folks planting veggies and fruits
  • using containers to plant in for small space gardening and just for fun
  • planting natives
  • planting for a sustainable future
  • multi-purpose
 … [Continue reading]

The Victory Garden

Fri. Jan. 3, 2014

Not that long ago, from, I’d say the 1970’s thru the early 2000’s, vegetable gardening was for people with farms or suburban gardeners who grew more flowers than veggies.  It’s really changed.  Again.  There’s a revival of Victory Gardens.  From backyards to balconies.

In 1943 over 20 million Victory Gardens were planted.  The harvest accounted for nearly 1/3 the veggies consumed that year.  Today we think about our environment.  Our food, on average, travels 1500 miles to get to us.  A lot of energy is expended in processing, packaging  … [Continue reading]

Benefits of gardening

Thu. Jan. 2, 2014

Oh let me count the ways!  I have a saying, or mantra, if you will, about gardening:

“The Garden is no place to stress for success but to soak up some sun and renew your Spirit!”

The above garden changed many times but it was a favorite place to sit and renew my Spirit!

Gardening offers numerous benefits:

  • stress Relief
  • exercise
  • fresh air
  • fresh produce
  • nutrition
  • environmentally friendly
  • beauty
  • challenge in both body and mind

In my radio show I talked about the “Duchenne Smile” – it’s the one that  … [Continue reading]


Tue. Dec. 31, 2013

ACK!  Resolutions?!?  NOooooooo…………..

Alright, it’s probably not that dramatic but we tend to feel like we HAVE to resolve something at the beginning of the year.  I’m of the mindset that we can resolve anything we want at any time, we don’t need a specific date on a calendar.  BUT, since it is a New Year, how about starting a Garden Journal? ;-)

OH, I can HEAR your GROANING from here!  I can’t tell you the number of times, having a journal has prevented me from purchasing a plant I’d already  … [Continue reading]

Number one mistake in the garden

Mon. Dec. 30, 2013

Soil is the foundation by which all things grow.  Without decent soil prep, you’re not giving your plants their best opportunity to give YOU their best.  The number one mistake of new gardeners (and some of us who’ve been doing it a while) is to not prep the soil.

You can’t completely change your soil’s make-up, but you can amend it.  Adding organic matter is optimizes your plants chances of delivering whatever it is you’re hoping to get from them.

Chemical-free grass clippings, dried/chopped leaves, manure and compost can be  … [Continue reading]

2014 AAS Vegetable winners

Fri. Dec. 27, 2013

Click below to listen to my Radio Show:  2014 AAS Vegetable winners

As we talked yesterday about pumpkins and squash, my first thought was to share with you this “magical” new pumpkin that won the AAS designation.

Straight from AAS:  ‘Cinderella’s Carriage’ is a dream come true for any princess-loving child who wants to grow their own fairy tale type pumpkin. This bright reddish-orange pumpkin is the first hybrid Cinderella-type pumpkin on the market which results in a higher yield as well as Powdery Mildew resistance in the garden. Robust  … [Continue reading]

Pumpkin or Squash?

Thu. Dec. 26, 2013

Click below to listen to my Radio Show:  Pumpkin or Squash?

What’s the diff?  Not much…

There are 3 different types with hundreds of cultivars.  From orange to green to yellow to white, from large to small from thick skin to thin; these beautiful veggies/fruits are filled with fantastic fiber and much more!

  • Cucurbita pepo – have very hard stems.  Includes some pumpkins and Delicata squash
  • Cucurbita maxima – have wider, softer, pulpy stems.  Includes Buttercup and Hubbard squash
  • Cucurbita moschata is the buff colored Butternut squash – which is
 … [Continue reading]