Where has this little gem been all my gardening life? Bachman’s is a florist and nursery in Minnesota. They have created a whole slew of caresheets on just about every gardening topic imaginable, aimed at helping the Minnesotan gardener succeed. Since all of MN is hardiness zone 4 or colder, any cold climate gardener should find helpful advice. And this is not generic advice, but specific recommendations based on fingers-in-the-dirt experience. “Marginally Hardy Blooming Shrubs” answered some long-standing questions of mine about butterfly bush and caryopteris. “Hardy Hydrangeas in Minnesota” told me something I hadn’t even expected: that with the proper treatment and a little bit of luck, you can get Hydrangea ‘Nikko Blue’ to bloom in a zone 4 climate–most years, at least. I can’t think of any cold climate gardener who won’t pick up at least one tip browsing through these caresheets, unless it’s Mary Henry or Margaret Purcell, the authors of all the sheets I read through. Would that my town had such a knowledgeable nursery!
Now, the digging and dividing of perennials, the general autumn cleanup and the planting of spring bulbs are all an act of faith. One carries on before the altar of delayed gratification, until the ground freezes and you can’t do any more other than refill the bird feeder and gaze through the window, waiting for the snow. . . . Meanwhile, it helps to think of yourself as a pear tree or a tulip. You will blossom spectacularly in the spring, but only after the required period of chilling.
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