April 2007

Classic Garden Structures: Book Review

– Posted in: Book reviews

When I'm thinking of building a garden project, the first book I turn to for ideas and inspiration is Classic Garden Structures by Jan and Michael Gertley. I've read and leafed through many books on making and building objects for the garden but this one remains my favorite. Beyond their inherent usefulness, all of the [...]

Northern Gardener Magazine praises Cold Climate Gardening

– Posted in: About this site, Recommended Links

Look at the hardiness map for Minnesota and you will see that the whole state is in zone 4 or colder. The Minnesota State Horticultural Society, which publishes Northern Gardener Magazine, is devoted to helping northern gardeners. If you join the society, besides the magazine you will get borrowing privileges at the society's library (they [...]

Scanned snowdrops

– Posted in: Flowers on the Brain

Many people who commented on the Katinka Matson post encouraged me to try the technique of obtaining images of flowers by scanning them with a flatbed scanner (an HP Scanjet 2400) myself. So I did. Even though it remains cold and we get some flurries every day, the snowdrops are slowly going over. Many of [...]

Pruning forsythia in mud season

– Posted in: Forsythia, Mud Season, Plant info
Forced forsythia in vase

The standard advice for pruning spring-blooming shrubs is to prune them no later than two weeks after they're done blooming. This is because most spring-flowering shrubs, at least, all those commonly grown, develop their flower buds on the previous year's wood. So if you prune them in high summer, or autumn, you are cutting off [...]

The Intimate Garden: Book Review

– Posted in: Book reviews, Design

The Intimate Garden: Twenty Years and Four Seasons in Our Garden by Gordon and Mary Hayward belongs to the rare breed of landscape design book that is actually helpful: One private residential garden--not little glimpses of a dozen gardens The garden was developed over many years. (They figured it out as they went along) They [...]

Ug99: No more cheap white bread

– Posted in: Pests, Plagues, and Varmints

According to the Cereal Disease Laboratory, there is an emerging virulent stem rust race that is infecting supposedly rust-resistant strains of wheat. It is called Ug99 because it was first discovered in Uganda in 1999. SeedQuest says that About 70 percent of U.S. wheat varieties are thought to be susceptible to Ug99. Between 70 and [...]

Book Review: The Sweet Pea Book

– Posted in: Book reviews, Plant info

I am a sweet pea ignoramus. I tried growing them once, after reading an article in an early Fine Gardening issue. I thought they'd be just perfect climbing up the chicken wire fence surrounding the chicken yard, and after learning how fragrant they were, well, I couldn't wait. They did rather poorly, and though I'm [...]

Prizes I’d Like to Win

– Posted in: Miscellaneous

This is sort of like the game Jeopardy, except instead of getting an answer and having to come up with a question, I'm submitting a list of prizes I'd like to win, in the hopes someone else will create the contest and let me win it! A set of professional, to-scale landscape drawings of my [...]


– Posted in: Plant info, What's up/blooming

A strong argument for calling Magnolias Tulip Trees I grew up with a large Southern Magnolia in a small backyard. Its great size dominated the space, smothering the ground below and adjacent plants with massive quantities of leathery leaves and sucking up all available moisture with large surface roots. I was unknowing of its survival [...]