Say Nope to "Big-leaf" Blue Hydrangeas in your Minnesota gardens!
Here's three reasons why and three good alternatives:
1) Not hardy. Proven Winners, the cultivator and grower of many popular "Blue Hydrangeas" states that their hydrangea macrophylla aka "Endless Summer" aka Big-leaf Hydrangeas are not hardy in Minnesota. Some may come back but why risk it when there's many alternatives?
2) Not proven. Search Google for "problems with blue hydrangeas". You'll find trimming comments, pH comments however, few mention that there's hybrid problems. What's that? Some breeds are just unstable. Just research "featherless chicken breeding". Some horticulturalists are saying that these hydrangeas just STOP BLOOMING after a few years because they just can't bloom.
3) Picky. If you are OK with work, fine. Be prepared that these guys need specific pH levels to bloom blue. They must be trimmed at the right time of year. They will need staking and structural support. So, be prepared, there's nothing wrong with work-- just be prepared!
Here's a few alternatives we love:
1) Peonies: Easy, big blooms, bullet-proof!
2) "Little Devil" shrubs: Colorful wine-colored foliage all season, bulletproof, easy!
3) False Indigo: 3-4' tall perennials. Unique vase-like shape, easy, big blue blooms!
The DNR posted on their website the question, "Why is buckthorn such a problem?" and they list seven reasons why. The list, posted below, made us think about perspective. Is buckthorn completely horrible? It must have "good" qualities or it wouldn't have been planted so widely in the Twin Cities. After all, buckthorn is here to stay so we may as well look for positive attributes. Below we list seven positive attributes of this invasive shrub.
7 good things to say about Buckthorn in Minnesota:
1) FAST-GROWING. Few shrubs grow this quickly and in such a wide range of conditions.
2) SHAPE-ABLE. Buckthorn can be easily trimmed and shaped anytime of year into hedges and small trees!
3) BLOCKS WEEDS. The DNR writes that buckthorn, "forms an impenetrable layer of vegetation". That written, many say that "a weed is a good plant where you don't want it".
4) FOOD RICH. The berries of the buckthorn are a very popular food for wildlife during the harsh winter months.
5) DENSE WILDLIFE HABITAT. Small animals seek shelter in the dense branches to avoid predictors. Also, birds nest in the protective dense branches and larger animals like deer will strip buckthorn for food when hungry.
6) THICK, NATURAL SCREENING. Buckthorn is one of the first shrubs to sprout leaves in spring and one of the last shrubs to loose leaves in fall. It was grown for its dense growth habit and has proven to do a very good job blocking objectionable views.
7) SHADE-TOLERANT. One of the few shrubs that can thrive in dense shade!
Now is the time to warm and brighten your home with cold-loving fall color! Cheer up the pots! After the commute, a beautiful happy fall home will welcome you! It's the best time of year.
Many unpack an artificial mistletoe cluster each year however, many don't know much about it. Here's a few interesting facts about this lovely tradition!
1) The word Mistletoe is a mangled English interpretation of Mistle and Tang, likely taken from the German words meaning Branch dung. The plants are spread by bird droppings and live on branches.
2) Mistletoe grows similarly to some orchids. It grows in the branches of trees and shrubs taking in nutrients from its host plant as well as the air and rain. It's roots do not touch the ground!
3) Berries are poisonous! It's a good reason why it's far more common to see fake berries on mistletoe sprigs.
4) No one really knows the origin of the kissing tradition. The Internet is full of ideas though. Pick one and you have a shot of being at least partially correct!
5) In South Africa, Mistletoe berries were crushed and used as an adhesive. The taste would lure birds to a trap and they would get stuck. (No idea if the birds were pests or dinner.)
Drainage solutions shouldn't look awful. This customer got rid of his ugly plastic splash pad and replaced it with a beautiful concrete feature which seamlessly matches the stonework of the house. A black high-impact drain receives rainwater and discharges it though underground drains to a rain garden. Simple fix, looks fantastic, and surprisingly affordable.
Beautiful gardens and landscapes! Custom-designed urns, conifer gardens will grow to provide privacy for decades, lovely garden without weeds! ;)