My vote for clematis of the year: ‘Guernsey Cream’!

So, it’s quite early in the season, but I am already declaring the clematis ‘Guernsey Cream’ as the clematis, the flowering vine, and perhaps the perennial of the year for zone 4. Look at it and this is May 4th! Now, of course, given the year, this would probably be blooming closer to the end…

Plant applause for: Bergenia

One of my favorite spring-blooming groundcovers is in its glory this week. Bergenia have large lobed, waxy leaves, like giant green tongues, that can sometimes have jagged edges, but in a soft, friendly way. Rather cabbage like in feel, rub the leaves and you will understand how it earned its common name of Pig Squeak….

I’m thinking of clematis a lot lately as we look to planting time

Whatever you are looking for in a perennial flowering vine, there is a clematis to help you out. Most require as much sun as possible, consistent watering, and cool roots. Planting a 12 to 18 inch plant at the base of the clematis will accomplish this. Clematis need a little lateral help to reach their…

“Comtesse de Bouchaud”: A Clematis for Nearly Full-Shade!

We shade gardening fools know  that flowering vines that tolerate shade are few and far between. Well, I have numerous buds on a newly planted ‘Comtesse de Bouchaud’ Clematis, in two separate shady spots, and I am “to the moon!” ‘Comtesse de Bouchaud’ is the variety of clematis that likes a hard pruning to the…

Foxgloves for Father’s Day

Foxgloves remind me of my dad, who has been in spirit for nearly 25 years now. Vernon was the ultimate gardener, you could say. He was a farmer for much of his life, growing corn, soybeans, and one year, sunflowers to feed the world. This is what I thought as a kid in Arlington, Minnesota…

Clematis ‘Guernsey Cream’

So much fun comes from finally seeing the true color of a plant you picked out at the garden center. I planted this Clematis ‘Guernsey Cream’ last summer and have been waiting for the bloom to arrive. Having grown-up on a farm, I had my own idea of what the color ‘Guernsey Cream’ would be,…

Geums are another source of nice spring color

As we are awash with the purple waves of lilacs, fleeting crab apple blossoms and the spent tulip blooms curling back to the earth, I can’t help but admire the humble, yet lovely geum that blooms in the front yard of the Garden Drama test garden. Geums are a diminutive little perennial (varieties range from…

Garden Clubs rule the world… one plant at a time

Last Monday evening, I had the pleasure of speaking to the South St. Paul Garden Club’s March meeting. It was a great night of hanging with the gardening peeps. Garden clubs are such a great way to connect with fellow gardeners, to share info and ideas, and during a winter like we are having, help…

Peony people are a passionate sort

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of interviewing two passionate peony gardeners, Linette and David, who garden on four acres near Chaska. You know how there are some people who make you feel better about the world, even on a snowy Minnesota day? These are two of them. I am featuring them in my regular column,…

Euphoric about Euphorbia

This little stunner is sometimes commonly called Spurge! Such an overly common, common name for such a jewel in the spring garden crown. Scientifically, it’s a succulent, making it a great addition to an alpine or rock garden. It can take dry conditions like a little soldier (this spring proves it). The colorful yellow/chartreuse-green bracts…

Classic coneflowers are still my favorite

I’ll confess. A few seasons back, in a gardening feng shui attack, I nearly pulled all my coneflowers and donated them to Minnesota Green. At the time, my anal-retentive gardening side had had enough of their prolific re-seeding, their washed out lavender hue and their tendency to catch a late summer fungi that turns them…