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Craftsy and gardening

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Craftsy and gardening

I love to garden and I love to learn about gardening.  That’s a good thing as there’s always something new to learn.  One site I’d like to introduce you to is a place where I will be holding a class next year.  Craftsy invited me to be an instructor for a 90 minute course on Healthy Soil but in the meantime I’ve been checking out their other offerings by experts across the country.

Notice the button to the right CRAFTSY!  Click on that and take a gander at all the different classes offered.

I love doing my Garden Bite radio show because I can give you a nibble of knowledge that I hope piques a passion in you to learn more or play outside more!  My desire is to get you to desire getting out in the garden, playing in the dirt, enjoying the sunshine or the rain.  Nature brings me to a wonderful place.

ahhhh

It’s not a place to be afraid of what you may or may not do right or wrong.  That’s how I came by my saying “the garden is no place to stress for success but to soak up some sun and renew your spirit”.

contemplate

From the balcony to the backyard to the back 40, I want you to enjoy your triumphs and the defeats.  So, please, send me your questions, your comments, your suggestions for future gardenbites on my website, gardenbite dot com  or on my Garden Bite with Teri Knight facebook page.  I really love to hear from you.

Vegetable harvest

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Sedum aka Uncle Charlie plant

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Sedum aka Uncle Charlie plant

My sister and I called Sedum, “Uncle Charlie plant” for years.  Years ago, and I’m talking DECADES ago, he gave my mom a few slices of his ‘Autumn Joy’ sedum, who gave my sister some, who gave me some and to this day, some of them still survive in other peoples landscapes.  Remnants of “Uncle Charlie Plant” are scattered from northern Illinois to northern Minnesota!

Sedum - Autumn Joy

Sedum – Autumn Joy

The point is, if you want a plant that flowers an unobtrusive shade of pink from the end of summer into Fall, has pleasant succulent leaves and gives you some winter interest, then think ‘Autumn Joy’.  I spray paint the dead flowers and use them in my outdoor Christmas planters.

winter container 2013 a

When I moved into my home 3 years ago, there was one large plant at my back door.  There are now 5 other plants in my landscape from that one and I’ve given slices away.  There are lots of varieties within the sedum family but none quite so prolific!

I do have some of the groundcover types…

Sedum 'Red Dragon' in a tub

Sedum ‘Red Dragon’ in a tub

sedum kamtschaticum

sedum kamtschaticum

A recent improvement on ‘Autumn Joy’ I found in my Northern Gardener magazine.  It’s called ‘Mr. Goodbud’.  Rich pink flowers are borne on purplish stems. The blooms average about 5 to 6 inches in diameter.  The foliage is a deep blue green and serrated.  The thick stems resist flopping.  ‘Mr. Goodbud’s mature height is about 16 inches.

Sedum - Mr. Goodbud

Sedum – Mr. Goodbud

Walters Gardens, alongside Proven Winners, created the Sedum Rock ‘n Grow series.  Their 2014 introduction is ‘Lemonjade’.  The blooms on citron yellow rather than the classic pink.  As the 5 to 7 inch blooms mature they take on a peachy hue.   (these look more like green flowers to me!)

Sedum - Lemonjade

Sedum – Lemonjade

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Eco-friendly furniture

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Eco-friendly furniture

Eco-friendly furniture does not mean a hollowed out rotting log found in the woods.  Although there are certainly uses for it, till, well it disintegrates.  On my television show, Dig In Minnesota, I had the opportunity to find out more about a company that is really doing something great with plastic bottles.  I stopped by Paddy o’Furniture in Eden Prairie and discovered Breezesta.  Check out the video below where I interview Pat Schindler from Paddy O’Furniture in Eden Prairie.

Breezesta is a company has their own onsite recycling facility, manufacture the “lumber”, so to speak, and then create sturdy and, I think stylish, patio furniture.  Each chair takes about 400 plastic bottles to make.

There’s a vast array of colors for a large selection of chairs, tables, benches, tables and more!  There are LOTS more but here’s a sneak peak:

Breezesta Adirondack

Breezesta bar stool

Breezesta bench style

 

I thought I’d share a few bloopers with you too…

 

 

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Annuals for Fall

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Annuals for Fall

By now most of our summer annuals, if they survived the heat, are looking browned and leggy. Honestly, I tossed my petunias and put my poor pansies out of their misery.   I did keep my fuchsia and coleus!

fuschia and mums

Coleus planter 2015

It’s time for a little fall plant shopping!  ;-)  There are some annual plants that can tolerate both heat and cool temps, a light frost won’t kill them.

Osteospermum is one of my favorites.  I bought it aplenty this spring and it’s hung in there but some sprucing up is in order.  This flower is also known as the African Daisy.   Breeders are creating scads of lovely colors in shades of purple, yellow, orange, white, pink and blue and varying petal shapes to make them even more enticing.

Coleus, osteospermum, sweet potato vine

The bright yellow Osteospermum is one of my favs but there are so many more.  Gaze through these beauties on Osteospermum.com

Osteospermum 'nasinga cream'

They can be the showcase to your trailing plants like calibrachoa, the mini petunia also called Superbells.  This wonderful little eye popper also comes in lots of colors and is more heat tolerant.  I have some coral superbells that are still working for me.

Coleus, Guara, superbells

Pretty in pink!  Superbells in this container are repeating their bloom!  Admittedly, this picture was taken earlier in the year but the superbells are still superb.

Bacopa trailing plant

Bacopa is another great trailing plant to go with your Osteospermum.

Lantana is a plant that I’ve recently had several people say “I love this plant, what is it”.  Lantana is a native of the tropical Americas and Africa.  The flower clusters come in many colors including several in one cluster.  Lantana is easy to grow and truly looks happy anywhere!  Lantana can be grown indoors!  Check out this website for more colors!  The Growers Exchange

Lantana 'Fuchsia'

Of course there are non-hardy mums!!!!

Mums and coleus planter 2015

 

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Elderberry and lawn chemicals

 

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Elderberry and lawn chemicals

In mid summer, my husband and I dug out rocks, pulled up plastic and pulled out, in my opinion, the awful black plastic border that had been in place of decades.   I then picked out some shrubs I wanted to plant.  As usual, it doesn’t always work out that I BUY the plants I PLANNED on but find my way to the sale areas and see what they’ve got.  This time I spotted some very fun shrubs called buttonbush and then wanted to find something contrasting but cool looking.  So I wandered my local nursery and found a beautiful shrub called Elderberry ‘Lemon Lace’.

Buttonbush - Sugar Shack

Buttonbush – Sugar Shack

Elderberry 'Lemon Lace'

Elderberry ‘Lemon Lace’

A week after planting one of the Elderberry simply started to wilt.  And there was no turning back.  I searched through my books, talked with other Master Gardeners and still, none of the diagnoses was quite right.   There were no visible insects or disease.  Then, oh no, the other started to wilt.  It was slower but still, nothing was going to be left.

Elderberry wilting

Elderberry wilting

Elderberry wilted branch

Finally I lifted them out of the ground and took them to back to my local nursery.  The owner took one look and told me that Elderberry are highly sensitive to broadleaf herbicide. He told me that it happened to him and he was very careful.   He did NOT know my husband had hired a lawn service to help our weed-infested lawn.  In all that research there was no mention of the sensitivity to chemicals.  Below is what the plant should look like!

Elderberry - Lemon lace

Elderberry – Lemon lace

I called the lawn service and spoke to the salesperson who was, frankly, clueless.  He’d also given me misinformation about my Hackberry tree claiming that it had aphids and needed to be sprayed.  First, it has psyllids, which is normal, second, if you planned on spraying for them, it should be in the Spring.  Third, my tree’s too large to spray anyway.

Here’s my take-away, IF you hire a lawn service, make sure they know what they’re doing, buy local and you’ll find someone who knows what they’re talking about.   I’m not trying to discourage you from a lawn service but to encourage you to ask them questions.  This particular service would’ve gotten about $200 more out of us had I not known about our Hackberry tree AND they would have needlessly sprayed chemicals all over a very large tree in a neighborhood with my vegetable garden feet from it.  ARG!  They are going to reimburse me for the 2 shrubs…

Barberry - Emerald Carousel

Barberry – Emerald Carousel

I’ve replaced the Elderberry with Barberry ‘Emerald Carousel’  – these are not as sensitive to chemicals.  I wanted something there but didn’t want to risk buying more ‘Lemon Lace’ and losing them too.

Barberry and Buttonbush

Barberry and Buttonbush

 

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Those helpful hints

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Those helpful hints

Dad used to say “kid, I learned the hard way, that’s why I’m telling you now so you don’t have to”.  And yet….

I seem to learn the hard way too.  Maybe it’s genetic!  I’ll still list some helpful hints so YOU don’t have the learn the hard way:

  • wear gloves when chopping hot peppers OR make sure you don’t rub ANY part of your body until you’ve washed your hands thoroughly!  I JUST did this!  Boy howdy, does that BURN!  ;-)

chopping jalapenos

  • when harvesting, have a wash basin or water source nearby to get the big chunks of dirt off before you go into the house
  • have a sharp knife handy
  • wear easy slip-off shoes so you’re not struggling with a basket of produce in your hands while opening the door to your home
  • start a small veggie garden, you can always make it bigger but don’t overwhelm yourself
  • when digging holes for large plants, lay a tarp down nearby and toss the soil on that.  You can drag it easily across the lawn and it doesn’t leave a mess

  • AND HAVE FUN!

Flower stick person

Some other hints from my tv show Dig In Minnesota:

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Fair food and fun 2015

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Fair food and fun 2015

It’s Fair time in Minnesota and across the country.  That means bizarre foods on a stick AND some healthier choices.  New Fair Foods 2015.

Salad named Soo

Salad named Soo

Minnesota Bee Nice gluten free muffin

Minnesota Bee Nice gluten free muffin

It also means the Eco-Experience put on by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.  Lots of fascinating facts.  Here’s just a tease for you at Eco:

  • The 25-foot tall plastic tornado “Bagnado” calls attention to the fact that Minnesotans throw away 500 tons of plastic bags and packaging every day – more than 12 pounds every second.
  • The first 800 kids each day who complete the kids activity receive a YOXO toy made in Minnesota from recycled materials.

And the nature adventure for your backyard!

nature adventure

 

Be sure to stop by the Horticulture building and talk with the Master Gardeners there!  It’s a great way to get questions answered and advice on all things in your garden.  I had a chance to be there as a Master Gardener a couple of times years ago and loved it!

Also check out the bee exhibits!  Learn more on bees from Victoria Ranua here:

Of course I have to add the Maple Bacon funnel cake!

Maple bacon funnel cake

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Daylilies

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Daylilies

Can you believe how fast the season is moving?  From Spring to “Back to school” shopping!   Well, I say let’s shop for “Back to Spring”!   My head is filled with daylilies as I’m teased by recent emails from nurseries showing off some gorgeous new selections!  For instance:

Daylily - Spirit of Truth

Daylily – Spirit of Truth

The above photo is from White Flower Farm.

I have several daylilies myself.  I’ve purchased them from local breeders.  You can see them on my Garden Bite with Teri Knight facebook page.  I love them for their majesty and their toughness.  I have dug up daylilies in bloom in the heat and moved them and still they forgive me and thrive!  Not that I recommend doing that, but it was a good idea at the time!  These plants can define pathways, edge borders, prevent erosion on inclines, and fill in hillsides where mowing the lawn can be a nuisance.

Daylilies I bought from a local breeder.  Notice the thicker stems

Daylilies I bought from a local breeder. Notice the thicker stems

Another reblooming stunner is called ‘Ebony Pools’, you could drown in it’s beauty. Sultry, deep red petals are elegantly rolled back with tightly ruffled edges framing a velvety black eye. The flowers on this darling are 4½?, and their rich, golden green throats add contrast.  If you want a stand out that screams “hello, I’m here” then check out ‘Fear Not’.  This fragrant red/orange/yellow rebloomer has delicately ruffled yellow edges.   As always, if you can find the plants you’re looking for at a local nursery/grower, it’s best to buy from them, but if not, there are reputable nurseries online!

Daylily 'Ebony Pools'

Daylily ‘Ebony Pools’

Daylily 'Fear Not'

Daylily ‘Fear Not’

 

 

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Fall is great for planting shrub roses

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Fall is great planting shrubs roses

And boy has it FELT like Fall!  While I love crisp cool air and beautiful Fall colors, I’m not QUITE ready for it to transition!  ;-)

Arbor day should be moved from Spring to Fall.  Fall is the best time to plant trees and shrubs. They love the warm soil and cooler air. There’s also still have plenty of time to scoot their roots down into the soil.

Rose - Belle Poitevine
Hybrid Rugosa Rose ‘Belle Poitevine’

Rugosa roses are a hardy bunch.  Many are quite fragrant, need little attention and produce blooms for much of the season.   The above ‘Belle Poitevine’ has rich green foliage that turns yellow/red in Fall.  ‘William Baffin’ is a great climber.

William Baffin rose.

William Baffin rose.

All the roses I talked about in my radio show are suggestions from the University of Minnesota.

Blanc Double De Coubert

Roses prefer at least 5 to 6 hours of full sun for the best petal power.  An eastern exposure is ideal.  Dig your hole 2 to 3 times as wide as the container it came in and about 12 inches deep or so, this is to add organic matter.  Spread the roots out but plant only as deep as the start of the root system.  Create a dirt dike around your plants so the water goes into the root system.   Be sure to water new plantings up until the ground freezes.

Carpet roses reblooming

Carpet roses reblooming

I’ve listed roses, but now really is a great time to plant all kinds of winter hardy shrubs and trees.  Cover with soil to the root/stem line, water well and mulch with 2 to 3 inches of woodchips or other organic matter.  Stake trees for at least one full growing season.

An ornamental tree I love for it’s multi-branched shrub shape.  I’ve yet to plant one in my landscape but that doesn’t mean I’m far from it!!  ;-)

Fringe Tree aka chionanthus

Fringe Tree aka chionanthus

The above photo comes from Clemson University.  Photo by Karen Ross, it’s Latin name is Chionanthus Virginicus.

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Asparagus

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Asparagus

I’ve never been a fan of asparagus until I had dinner one night at a very lovely golf club.  I don’t golf, I eat and drive the cart.  Anyway, that got me thinking about planting this perennial that’s prized by many including my husband.  Gardeners have been growing asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) for more than 2,000 years, so apparently I’m in the minority.  A well-maintained asparagus bed will start bearing one year after planting and will stay productive for 10 to 15 years.

Asparagus - 'Jersey Giant' from Burpee

While many sites I visited recommended optimal planting in the Spring, Fall is just fine as temperatures cool off.  In fact you can purchase 2 year crowns from some nurseries that would be ready to harvest next season.

Asparagus - Mary Washington

In fact you can purchase 2 year crowns from some nurseries that would be ready to harvest next season.

Asparagus furrow

As the asparagus begins to grow, gradually fill in the furrow with soil. (Be careful not to cover any of the asparagus foliage.) The furrows should be filled to ground level by the end of the first growing season. Add organic fertilizer (about 1/4 cup per plant of granular) spreading the fertilizer on each side of the asparagus and cultivate it lightly into the soil. Keep your new plants well watered.  Allow year 1 plants to grow into brush which looks like dill or a ferny bush. Late in the fall of the first growing season, after the brush has turned completely brown, remove the brush (old stalks) and any weeds.

Asparagus

To learn more check out The Tasteful Garden and Growing Asparagus in Minnesota home gardens [University of Minnesota]

Make sure you know whether you’re planting 1st or 2nd year plants.  They can also be grown from seed indoors if you’re so inclined.

Check out my Facebook page “Garden Bite with Teri Knight” for lots more pictures of gardens and to offer suggestions, comments and questions!

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