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19 of Your Gardening and Landscaping Questions, Answered by a Plant Knowledgeable | Wit & Delight

Final month I requested our Wit & Delight Instagram viewers to share their gardening and landscaping questions with us. Effectively, buddies, do I’ve solutions. I used to be lucky sufficient to talk with Jessie Jacobson, the proprietor and landscaping and gardening professional over at Tonkadale Greenhouse, certainly one of my favourite locations to go to. (Tonkadale can be the driving drive behind my current entrance yard replace!). Jessie was type sufficient to share a few of her experience in answering your high landscaping and gardening questions.

Normal Gardening Ideas

Q: What’s the #1 piece of gardening recommendation you would like individuals knew OR the #1 mistake you see most frequently?

A: Let’s not name them errors. Your intention is to plant vegetation and that’s by no means a mistake. We undoubtedly see gardeners get discouraged by making an attempt to do an excessive amount of without delay. It’s all the time essential to depend on the consultants at your native backyard middle to be sure to plant the suitable vegetation on your location, amend your soil on the time of planting, and proceed to water newly planted perennials, bushes, and shrubs till the bottom freezes strong within the fall.

All the time bear in mind, the enjoyment is within the journey. Gardening is a factor you do over time—you be taught as you go, gaining momentum from small successes.

Q: Will all vegetation bloom once more if I prune after flowering?

A: No, not essentially. Some perennials will give a second flush after pruning, however this isn’t the case with most. Plant a mixture of perennials with early, mid, and late bloom occasions to make sure you all the time have coloration. Go away pockets for annual vegetation which offer flower energy all season lengthy! 

Q: What are the toughest vegetation to kill?

A: This actually will depend on the applying. Vegetation which might be planted in the suitable location will thrive with correct planting and care throughout their first yr of firm. The simplest approach to kill vegetation is to not present sufficient water, particularly after planting. From right here, we are able to deduce that drought-tolerant vegetation are the toughest to kill! Perennials that tolerate drought embody decorative grasses, alliums, milkweed, echinacea, and lots of extra. Try this listing of drought-tolerant vegetation!

Q: What are your ideas for planting container gardens?

A: These are my principal ideas for thriving container gardens:

  1. All the time begin with wealthy, natural potting soil.
  2. Select your foliage first. This offers the structure on your design and offers coloration and curiosity even when flowering vegetation cycle out and in of coloration.
  3. Water, water, water.
  4. Fertilize with a bloom booster fertilizer not less than weekly.
  5. Deadhead spent blooms and don’t be afraid to pinch and trim overgrown vegetation all through the season. 

Q: How do I plant a backyard that appears skilled with out skilled assist?

A: Go to your native backyard middle and make the most of their assets and customer support. Earlier than you go, take into account your solutions to those questions:

  • What would you like your backyard to do for you or the atmosphere?
  • Are you curious about curb attraction/elevated property worth, vitality conservation, minimize flowers, entertaining, cooking, or planting for pollinators and songbirds?
  • How a lot time do you need to spend within the backyard every week and every season?
  • What kind of planting model do you like?
  • Do you want cottage, modern, wild, or manicured gardens?

Usually talking, I’d suggest beginning with a small space, planting in multiples, selecting a coloration palette, various bloom time, bloom dimension, and bloom form, mixing perennials, bushes, and shrubs, together with evergreens, and leaving pockets for annuals and herbs. 

Q: I’ve vegetation picked out however don’t know the right way to design a format for the most effective visible affect. What’s your recommendation?

A: Right here’s what I recommend:

  1. Plant in mass, as this method has probably the most visible affect.
  2. Group like vegetation collectively.
  3. Plant extra of every selection, and fewer varieties in complete.
  4. Ensure to incorporate bushes, shrubs, and evergreens in your plan. Single specimens supply a spot on your eyes to relaxation.
  5. Think about including sculptural components like a path or a well-placed boulder.

Q: Hydrangea care! Are hydrangeas definitely worth the funding?

A: Hydrangeas are all the time definitely worth the funding! Now we have a tremendous weblog publish, “All About Hydrangeas,” to reply all your hydrangea questions!


Q: What are the most effective small bushes to plant beside my house?

A: Timber planted close to the house are thought of foundational plantings. Timber and shrubs soften harsh architectural strains and might present shade and insulation which promotes vitality effectivity. Timber or shrubs planted near the home must be smaller in stature, complementing the design of the home whereas not blocking home windows or fascinating options. Here’s a listing of bushes and shrubs to think about:

  • Serviceberry, particularly “Standing Ovation” or “Autumn Brilliance”
  • Hydrangea bushes or requirements
  • Smaller evergreens (Search for the phrase dwarf or compact, or strive Golden Hinoki False.)
  • Cypress
  • Golden Duke Japanese Hemlock
  • Japanese redbud
  • Pagoda dogwood
  • Viburnum
  • Lilacs, together with Bloomerang, Miss Kim, Tiny Dancer
  • Japanese maples
  • Ginkgo Jade Butterfly
  • Smoke bush
  • Azalea/rhododendron
  • Purple Leaf Sand Cherry
  • Some crabapples
  • Magnolia
  • Boxwood
  • Elderberry

Q: How do I do know what to prune from mature bushes and shrubs?

A: I’m not an professional on pruning bushes, however I do know a bit about pruning shrubs. Listed below are the fundamentals of pruning shrubs.

Pruning is completed to enhance the shrub’s look and assist preserve its pure or manicured type, promote new development, branching, and flowering, and promote total plant well being by enhancing airflow and eradicating lifeless or diseased branches.

New Wooden or Previous Wooden

First, we have to know if our shrubs bloom on new wooden or outdated wooden. Shrubs that bloom on outdated wooden set buds for subsequent yr on the finish of the rising season. Prune these shrubs after flowering to encourage new flower bud formation. These are usually spring or early summer time blooming shrubs together with lilacs forsythia, mock orange, rhododendron, azalea, weigela, and ninebark.

Shrubs that bloom on new wooden type buds on development through the present rising season and have a tendency to bloom mid to late summer time. Prune shrubs that bloom on outdated wooden in late winter or in early spring earlier than the shrub has damaged dormancy. Examples embody panicle hydrangea, clean hydrangea, summersweet, smoke bush, and roses.

Be aware that some newer shrub varieties present blooms on new and outdated wooden, together with types of weigela such because the Sonic Bloom collection, the Bloomerang collection of lilac, and newer steady blooming types of bigleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla).

Pruning Ideas

  1. Prune at a forty-five-degree angle proper above a node or aspect department with a clear, sharp pair of bypass pruners or loppers to make sure a clear and wholesome minimize. Pruning at an angle will enable water to run off the minimize and stop pooling that will encourage illness.
  2. Prune out any lifeless, damaged, or diseased stems, spent blooms (if desired), rubbing branches, duplicate/parallel branches, and dense development within the middle of the shrub. Remember the general form you need within the course of and maintain the branches that may assist develop or preserve that construction. Don’t take away greater than one-third of the plant at one time.
  3. Rejuvenation pruning may be carried out on well-established (not less than three years outdated) shrubs to encourage a flush of wholesome new development, eradicating the oldest wooden right down to the bottom.


Q: What’s the finest/best grass and/or plant to begin from seed and preserve right here within the Twin Cities?

A: Turfgrass is needy. Copious quantities of water and fertilizer are what maintain grass trying full and fluffy. At Tonkadale we select to promote grass seed that’s licensed by the Turfgrass Water Conservation Alliance. These grass mixes require as much as 30% much less inputs—much less water, much less fertilizer, much less chemical compounds, and fewer mowing. Think about overseeding your garden with this kind of grass seed if you’re involved in conservation-friendly turf. 

Another choice is to plant a bee garden or native bee garden combine. The bee garden combine follows suggestions from the College of Minnesota, combining Dutch white clover, self-heal, and creeping thyme to create a seed combination that may rework your garden right into a pollinator habitat whereas sustaining the operate and recreation related to a standard garden. The bee garden seed combination has been proven to assist greater than sixty bee species in Minnesota. Bee garden flower seed may be overseeded right into a pre-existing stand of wholesome positive fescue or Kentucky bluegrass turf.

The native bee garden combine makes use of all native wildflowers (self-heal, yaak yarrow, blue-eyed grass) to rework your own home garden into a wonderful mixture of turfgrass and flowers. This seed combine is designed to bolster the longstanding evolutionary relationships we observe in nature between pollinators and the native vegetation they depend upon.

Learn extra about sustainable lawnscaping on Tonkadale’s weblog.

Q: How do I begin a backyard the place there may be presently grass? 

A: On this case, it’s best to take away the grass first. You may take away turfgrass by hand with a shovel, however it’s really easy to lease a sod kicker out of your native ironmongery store. If time is in your aspect, you may cowl the world with plastic for a number of weeks to kill grass for simple removing by hand. Herbicides wouldn’t be our most popular methodology.

After the grass is eliminated, lease a tiller and work in compost at a fee of 1 cubic foot per ten sq. ft. Subsequent, lay edging after which it’s time to plant!

Solar and Shade

Q: What are options for a mattress the place one half will get full solar and the opposite half will get full shade?

A: Completely completely different gentle necessities require completely completely different vegetation. In case your backyard area is steady, there can be a transition zone that’s part-sun. Use this space to plant issues in frequent with each the solar and shade space. Many can tolerate a superb quantity of solar and nonetheless carry out in a shady state of affairs. Examples embody astilbe, Japanese forest grass, heuchera, and hosta. Don’t fear concerning the solar and shade areas being an ideal match. Assume extra concerning the colours, textures, and construction you need to carry to every space.

Q: How do I cease a backyard from dying in 110-degree climate?

A: Listed below are my recommendations on caring for a backyard within the warmth:

  1. Water. Water within the morning earlier than the warmth of the day to keep away from evaporation.
  2. Relying on the length of maximum warmth, it is perhaps time to plant drought-resistant vegetation, particularly native vegetation that tailored to our local weather.
  3. Place containers and hanging baskets in a shady space throughout a warmth wave.
  4. Add mulch to backyard beds to assist retain moisture and maintain the soil cool. If excessive warmth is coupled with excessive humidity, evapotranspiration slows as does plant development.  

Q: What are the most effective shade vegetation apart from hostas? I’m searching for one thing with coloration.

A: There are such a lot of vegetation which might be nice for shade that provide coloration and curiosity each in foliage and flower. A few of our favorites embody:

  • Astilbe
  • Aruncus/goat’s beard 
  • Solomon’s seal
  • Ligularia 
  • Ferns 
  • Cimicifuga/snakeroot 
  • Bleeding coronary heart 
  • Brunnera 
  • Chelone/turtlehead 
  • Pulmonaria/lungwort
  • Polemonium/Jacob’s ladder 
  • Heuchera 
  • Filipendula
  • Bergenia 
  • Epimedium 
  • Japanese forest grass 
  • Woman’s mantle
  • Toad lily


Q: I’m petrified of leaping worms. How can I stop/deal with?!

A: Leaping worms are invasive worms which have made their approach to the Twin Cities space via the transport of vegetation and soil. They are often very damaging, particularly in main ecosystems as they modify the construction of soil and strip it of vitamins. 

My finest recommendation is to buy soil (bagged or bulk) and vegetation from respected backyard facilities. The Minnesota Division of Pure Assets asks that you simply report sightings of leaping worms. Destroy and get rid of leaping worms should you discover them. After they develop into established, there may be not an entire lot you are able to do. 

The concern of leaping worms is an actual factor and may be labeled as solastalgia, which is the stress brought on by environmental change. Many people will expertise misery over the implications of local weather change, invasive species, and excessive climate occasions. 

Learn extra about leaping worms by visiting the UMN Extension web site.

Q: How can I stop pests (rabbits) from consuming new development?

A: That is the most effective weblog publish ever! “How you can Repel Deer and Rabbits within the Backyard”

Eco-Aware Gardening

Q: How can I be a accountable eco-conscious gardener (i.e., planting pollinator-friendly, native, and drought-tolerant vegetation)?

A: Simply the truth that of us are serious about this subject is a step in the suitable route. In case you are planting vegetation, you might be already a accountable, eco-conscious gardener. 

These are some must-read weblog posts on the subject:

Q: How you can plan a cohesive backyard that blooms all season lengthy?

A: Planting a backyard for steady coloration isn’t solely interesting to us but in addition has nice ecological advantages. Steady coloration means a relentless meals supply for pollinators and useful bugs. Discover out what blooms early, mid, and late in your space. At Tonkadale, now we have a very nice chart! Additionally, listen to what’s blooming in your neighborhood or metropolis over the course of the summer time, then plant that!

Q: Actual speak: How shut are we to a zone 5 perennial surviving within the Twin Cities?

A: Perennial survival is most intently associated to how lengthy our lowest minimal temperatures are sustained. Within the Twin Cities, we are able to hit temperatures as little as -30 levels Fahrenheit which classifies us as Zone 4. Though the summers appear to be getting hotter, Zone 5 classification has extra to do with winter lows than summer time highs. In city or protected areas, warmth accumulates and gardeners in our space are capable of have success with Zone 5 perennials, bushes, and shrubs.

Editor’s Be aware: This publish is sponsored by Tonkadale. The compensation we obtain in trade for placement on Wit & Delight is used to buy props, rent a photographer, write/edit the weblog publish, and assist the bigger crew behind Wit & Delight.

Whereas compensation was acquired in trade for protection, all ideas and opinions are all the time my very own. Sponsored posts like these enable us to proceed to develop dynamic unsponsored content material. Thanks for supporting our companions!

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