Which is it, a rhododendron or an azalea? Actually, it’s both!

Rhododendron is the genus for both the plants that explode like happy, colorful fireworks this time of year. In our parts, rhododendrons are evergreen, have larger leaves and fuller flowers. They actually provide an interesting winter specimen. They bloom earlier. Azaleas lose their leaves come fall, have a slightly more delicate appearance and bloom a little…

What am I seeing? Forsythia

April showers bring forsythia. Many gardeners find this shrub’s somewhat scrubby summer appearance too high a price for the spring show–but I challenge that. We need this harbinger of warmer days after months of cold, and the stems of dainty lemon Jell-O® flowers are a balm to the soul in temperamental April. Introduced in 1982 by the University of Minnesota…

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….

Hello Lilacs! The late spring isn’t looking so bad now, is it?

In my world, lilacs evoke memories like nothing else in the garden. The end of school is what what comes to mind for me. I have a specific memory of all of us first-graders bringing little bouquets for Mrs. Tews and filling her desk with them. Everyone needs a lilac bush in their yard. True,…

High on Hydrangea this time of year

The third act of summer, maybe a little earlier this season, delivers the glory of the hydrangea to the northern garden. Besides its stunning white pom-poms, beacons of light in the yard and garden, hydrangea are a wonderful shrub for part shade, even full shade conditions, and they are a softening presence in the landscape….