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Posts Tagged ‘Minnesota’

  1. Blizzards, Begonias, and Winter Blues

    March 4, 2012 by Jocelyn

    Blizzards and Winter Blues

    After months of (very rare) warm and rainy weather here in northern Minnesota, winter caught up with us in only 5 days! We’ve had two huge snow storms, which have left me stuck indoors and feeling pretty darn restless!

    Now my seeds have all been delivered, but my dreams of an early spring have been dumped on by 3 feet of snow. My cabin fever was so bad this morning, that I decided to layer myself up and trudge around the neighborhood in thigh-high snow to take some photos for my wonderful blog readers!

    Snow Covered Trail

    Empty Nest
    Snowy Limbs

    Spring fever aside, it really was quite pretty. I’ve had my fun in it, so it can melt anytime now!

    I had the Winter Blues so badly yesterday during our blizzard, that I must say thank you to Fran Sorin at Gardening Gone Wild for her perfectly timed post How To Have Faith That Spring’s Coming While Trudging In A Foot Of Snow: 7 Tips. I took her advice, and busted out my Organic Gardening magazines while listening to George Michael sing Faith. Looking through the gardening photos got me inspired, and I started figuring out my planting timeline for this year!


    So I perked up a bit, and started tending to all of my houseplants. After all, I’m not the only one stuck inside right now. Some of my plants look a little peaked right now, which is fairly normal, but one of my plants is looking better than ever right now. I’m not even sure what species it is; I only know that it’s a Begonia of some sort. It’s been blooming like mad for the past week or two, so I took a few pics of it.

    Flowering Begonia
    Pretty Flowering Houseplant

    Isn’t it pretty? I’m surprised it’s blooming already, since I got it as a cutting only a year and a half ago! I’m guessing that since I have it sitting next to the window, the drop in temperature at night is what triggered the blooming. I’ve heard that it can help certain plants like Jades, so I’m assuming it’s the same for this plant.

    It looks like our temperatures will edge into the 40s this coming week, so I’ve decided to be optimistic. If things stay dreary, I can always listen to George Michael again! Unless you guys have better tips for me, that is. Let me know what you do to combat the winter blues!

  2. My Summer Garden Experience in Retrospect

    November 23, 2011 by Jocelyn

    Vegetable Garden with Flowers

    No matter how many lovely, sun-shiny days we have in Minnesota, the summer always seems to fly by.  I’m always anxious to get my seeds and plants in the ground come May, and inevitably end up killing a few because I put them out too soon.  Before long, I’m willing my tomatoes to ripen faster, in the hopes that they’ll turn red before the first frost hits.

    This summer was no exception.  I managed to snag an awesome community garden plot on the rooftop of our county building, which is conveniently located across the street from my workplace.  There are about 20 raised beds on the rooftop, alongside their new “green roof” and solar panel.  Oh, I’m so proud of them for investing in green energy!  Anyway, this plot was exactly 7 feet by by 25 feet.  I filled it with veggies, and was strangely the only person who added flowers to their garden.  Gardening is always more fun with bright flowers!

    To start with, I ordered a TON of seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom seeds.  This included arugula, leeks, basil, squash, and nasturtiums, just to name a few.  As usual, I learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t in the garden!  My biggest victories this year were my successes with growing eggplants, cauliflower, and broccoli!  The biggest OOPS moment I had was with my cucumber plant that got powdery mildew and eventually died, as well as starting my squash seeds way too late!

    Now that this summer’s growing season has passed us, what have you learned this year?  Don’t forget to mention which zone you’re in!



  3. My First Landscaping Design

    June 3, 2009 by Jocelyn

    I just got done moving into a new house, and wanted to show you what I had done to the gardens in my last house. The landlord was fine with paying for all of my gardening supplies, which is understandable since I was increasing the curb appeal of his home.


    Here is a before (more like middle) photo of the back yard garden. There actually wasn’t even a garden there at all when we moved in. I had our landlord come over and cut the branches of that pine tree up to about 4 feet so I could put in a nice shade garden.  I framed it and added a bunch of dirt and perennials.  I used hostas and a bleeding heart, both of which are shade lovers.


    And here is the after photo of the backyard garden.  Every plant came back this spring, even though I neglected to cover them last fall.  I pulled all the weeds out, added weed liner, and some brown organic mulch.  Viola!  I think they look pretty nice!  It’s just too bad that I won’t be able to live there when they are at their peak.  I guess I’ll just have to be a creeper and drive by to look at them.

    It’s so nice that even the simplest outdoor landscaping projects like these can make such a big difference in the look and feel of your yard.  Putting these gardens in was surprisingly easy, but I think that they really added a lot to the house.

    Now that it’s finally warming up here, I’m on to finishing my containers and my vegetable garden!  I’ll keep everyone updated!

  4. Community Garden Excitement

    May 19, 2009 by Jocelyn

    Last week was my first time at my new community garden plot.  While it’s still a bit too cold to start planting, we went to work installing a new door into the garden and re-installing some fencing.  It felt great to get out in the dirt again.  Looking for a Community Garden Program near you?  Try the ACGA website.

    This year will be my second year with the Community Garden program.  Last year I was disappointed when the deer got in not once- but twice, and ate everything in sight.  This year I have a new plot at a new garden, which has a tall fence and is way nicer!  I’m so excited because the soil is wonderful, and the garden is right across the street from where I’m going to be living.

    Hopefully my garden will come close to comparing with this one!  😉

    Vegetable Garden

    Photo Credit: Cneuman

    I learned a lot of lessons last year, and I think this year is going to be much more successful!  I’m going to weed my plot really well this year before I plant anything, and I’m also going to add some organic compost a few weeks before planting.

    Because I’m in zone 3, I’m going to wait until early June to plant most of my stuff.  I’ll probably plant onions and potatoes within the next week or so.  I’ve already started my tomatoes and peppers from seed, so hopefully I won’t have to buy any plants this year.  I’m also planning on sowing bush beans, romaine lettuce, spinach, zucchini and basil plants from seed.  I’m also thinking of trying to grow eggplant this year, but I don’t know much about it.  Has anyone grown eggplant before?  If so, let me know if you have any tips for me!

    I will try to get some pics of my site up sometime soon.  I don’t have a camera of my own right now:(  Luckily, I have someone who let’s me borrow theirs for the time being, so watch for photos!

    There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep up behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling.  ~Mirabel Osler

  5. Best Perennials for Northern Gardens

    May 15, 2007 by Jocelyn

    First things first, I know I haven’t written in a LONG time. Jeez, I’m not sure what happened. I have been going crazy this past week; my car is broken, my computer is NOT working (I am on my roomie’s now) and I was sick. Man, I’ve had a great week.

    Anyways, all that negative stuff aside, I have a GREAT post today! I found this amazing resource for finding perennials to put in your garden. This list is for all of you with Minnesota gardens, or a garden somewhere between zones 2 to 5. The Northern Gardening website has this great Plant Guide for Hardy Perennials. It is quite a long list, so I decided that I would do all the dirty work for you, and give you a list of my “top 10 favorites.” (aka, plants that I have found to be very easy to maintain and very hardy.) Not all of my “top 10” are on the Northern Gardening list, but they have all worked very well in my (or my mom’s) Minnesota garden!


    1. Bleeding Heart (Dicentra Spectabilis) – Zones 2-9, part shade. My mom has had one of these for about 15-20 years. After about 5-10 years she dug it up because we moved, and it transplanted very easily. Now it is about 3 feet tall, and about 5-6 feet in diameter. It blooms through the summer, and is really low maintenance. I just love the small heart shaped blooms, they are so different from anything else you usually see in a garden. I have also seen these come in white, if you’d prefer that.


    2. Lupines (Lupinus Perennis) – Zones 3-6, full to part sun. These lovely plants spread a little more every year. Purple seems to be dominant here, and if you just let them go, most will be this color. If you’d like to see a nice balance between the purple, pink, and white blooms, you can always go around in late fall, and spread all of the pink and white seeds manually to make sure they will return in the spring!


    3. Peonies (Paeonia) – Zones 3-8, full sun. I remember that my mother used to have these when I was growing up, and I loved the large blooms on them. I wondered if the ants I saw on buds were eating the flowers, but my mom told me that they were just eating the sweet layer over the bud of the plant. She was right; the flowers always bloomed and the ants went away. One thing that you should be careful of if you are just planting a new Peony is not to plant it too deep. If your Peony came in a pot, you should mark off (maybe use a twist tie) where the dirt comes to, and do not plant it any deeper than it was in the pot. If it is planted too deep, it will not bloom.


    4. Creeping Phlox (P. Stolonifera) – Zones 2-9, full to part sun. Creeping Phlox is awesome for borders, or rock gardens. We have ours growing in between rocks on our rock wall. The purple blooms make the wall look so elegant, and really soften up the rest of the garden area.


    5. Chives (Allium Schoenoprasum) – Zones 3-9, full sun. There are so many great things about Chives; where do I start? Well, first of all they give you really pretty purple flowers. They also help to keep the deer out of your garden. Oh, and did I mention they are great in salad? I am pretty sure they are one of the all around best perennials for Northern Gardens.


    6. Hen and Chicks (Jovibarba Globifera) – Zones 3-11, full sun. Hen and Chicks are really a great filler plant. If you have any small spaces that just look bare, or have poor soil, just put a few of them in the dirt. They don’t mind poor soil conditions, and if you look closely at my picture, you will see that they are growing in a mossy ground cover. I have no idea why they are thriving there, but this moss is covering a huge rock slab in our yard, so I don’t think there is much dirt there at all. Anyways, theses will spread like crazy; the Hens will produce small Chicks that will root wherever they end up. We have ours on a hill, so a lot of the Chicks roll down the hill a bit before rooting.


    7. Irises (I. Siberica) – Zones 3-9, full sun to part shade. These are just wonderful flowers that will add some great color to any flower bed. They have no problem coming back every year, and look great in part shade (the colors are much more vibrant).


    8. Gaillardia (Gaillardia Aristata) – Zones 3-9, full sun. Gaillardia is awesome, and that’s all there is to say. They seem to attract bees and butterflies, not to mention pesky amateur photographers (that would be me).


    9. Hostas – Zones 3-8, full to part shade. Hostas are probably the most popular perennial plant for gardening in the shade. There are so many different varieties to choose from, which is why they are a favorite of many. My mom loves them, and they faithfully come back every spring in our gardens. Most often, they will just look like the foliage you see above, but they do flower occassionally.


    10. Stella de Oro Daylily – Zones 2-9, full sun. These daylilies came highly recommended by my mom, who got some of them a few summers ago. The great thing about them is that they bloom continuously! Most daylilies only bloom once throughout the summer, and although it is usually a magnificent showing, why not get some of these so you can have that beauty all summer long?

    There you have it, my friends. Jocelyn’s Top 10 List of Hardy Perennials for Northern Gardens. I want to say thanks to my wonderful mother for helping me out with a couple questions about her perennials for this posting! Happy (belated) Mother’s Day to her and all of you other lovely mothers out there!