The slow reveal: cutting back grasses; leaving the leaves

The garden blog is back, baby! I employ a certain slow rhythm to my spring garden clean-up. It’s not laziness, I don’t think, and certainly not a lack of enthusiasm – it’s the greatest time of year. It simply does not feel right to do it quickly or certainly, hastily. That would be akin to…

What do I do for Earth Day 2015

Happy Earth Day everyone. What does one do on a day like today, dedicated to environmental awareness, when you are a nature-loving tree-hugger? It’s a work day, so I’m stuck with whatever I can do over my lunch hour or this evening. Or am I? The original Earth Day, April 22, 1970, had a certain…

Let Mother Nature be your garden scheduler

Do you curse when rain or wind or ungodly temps or even snow thwart your gardening plans? Ever dream of an epic garden day all week, only to be washed out on Saturday? Face it, Mother Nature makes up your garden calendar and assigns you shifts and they don’t always jibe with your plans. So,…

I’m too big of a plant geek to ever have a picture-perfect garden

And I think I’m fine with that. This dawned on me last night when I was digging up a nearly dead Barberry ‘Crimson Pygmy’ and moving some Cimicifuga racemosa into its place. The tough winter nearly took out all three of the barberry in the garden, but this one was especially hard hit, with just a few…

For the love of the mad garden bramble

I read the books. I keep my eyes open. I visit pristine gardens. I try to plant in waves of odd numbered plants and I do my best to practice “right plant, right place,’ knowing that sun-loving plants pass out in the shade. But no matter how hard I try, my garden turns into a…

The pent-up spring garden

Clearly, winter has overstayed his welcome. Enough said. No more complaining from me. No more overstating the obvious. Winter is the one-night stand who wants you to cook him breakfast. Like at the dinner party that won’t end, I’ve conspicuously yawned, I’ve brought up the lights and I’ve even opened the front door. “This has been fun,…

Full-frontal gardening spotted in the Twin Cities

So, the title is a little racy, a little out-there, but it describes to a tee what front-yard and community gardeners do. They put it there, they expose themselves in their gardening exploits. They don’t keep it in the backyard — they bring it out front, full-front, where it can change lives and make a…

Meeting Betty Ann

I’m a lucky man. I love gardening and because I write about it to help pay the bills, I get to meet a lot of gardeners. I feel a kinship with most of them–and then some knock me slightly off my epicenter. This fall I have gotten to know Betty Ann Addison, a garden designer…

Gardens we say goodbye to

I spent last weekend with my sister in Gaylord, Minn., prepping and tending the rummage sale to prepare for selling my mom’s house. Selling off family possessions, whether in a sale or auction, is not for the faint of heart. We were lucky. The three day crowd was a friendly lot. Considerate, and in awe…

The Gardening Turning Point

One of the greatest things about gardening in Zone 4, is that you get a pretty big break from it. Absense makes the heart grow fonder, and I guess I can only speak for myself, but by frost, I am ready to hang up the hoe for a while. Then comes the winter winds and…

A Reflection On Why I Garden

I was compelled to rise this morning and write about why I garden. I garden in quite a small space, actually–a typical city lot in south Minneapolis, closely flanked by two houses that look quite similar to mine. Behind me lies the typical depressing alley, with bits of broken glass and tall weeds that people…