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…

True Confession: My ‘Winnipeg Parks’ love affair

Oh, where do I begin? Shrub roses are faithful garden lovers, I have discovered. I had always sort of overlooked them — like sweet science nerds and band geeks in high school — but I designed three garden spaces at a retirement community this past summer and I fell under the magic spells they cast….

Clemactic joys and sorrows: I need a clematis-growing support group

An editor I work with does not like her writers to use phrases like clematisaholic or clematisphile and I’m on-board with that — it does seem to make light of very real and serious issues. That said, this week alone I purchased ‘Carnaby’ (sometimes reported as zone 5) and ‘Venosa Violacea’  and transplanted Clematis Virginiana…

Garden Task: Dividing the feather reedgrass

A quick shout-out to an oft-overlooked ornamental grass that really is one of my favorites. Fall-blooming Feather Reedgrass (Calamagrostis brachytricha) can work as an anchor in your perennial border, with its graceful, arching, inverted-V form. At 4-feet tall and a spread of about 3-feet, it fills holes and pockets in your design and sits happily…

More Garden Heidi-ology

A big part of the fun of gardening is getting to know your fellow gardening peeps. This past year, I got to get up close and personal with great gardener Heidi Heiland of Heidi’s Lifestyle Gardens of Plymouth, MN. My profile of Heidi and her gardening lab and studio — which also happens to be…

Succulents are succulent; they make me happy

Fine Gardening magazine recently had an article on 10 outstanding succulents to try, which prompted my thinking — midst continuous snow fall and crazy temps — of how happy succulents make me. They teach us snowbunnies much about surviving the winter. They tolerate dryness by holding onto any moisture they can muster up, as best as they can. This…

My on-and-off-again love affair with Globe Thistle (Echinops ritro)

Deer resistant, drought tolerant, will handle some shade, all around tough as nails, and interestingly beautiful to boot. So, what’s the problem you may ask. Well, these handsome devils in the garden like to re-seed like crazy. If you happen to be like me and have trouble hoe-ing down volunteer plants, especially ones you love, they can…