FARGO -- Whew! Everyone take a breather. Together these past months we've planted, pruned, pinched, fertilized, weeded, dug, deadheaded, and stressed out over the latest insects and diseases. Let's wipe our brows, pause for a bit, and enjoy the midsummer beauty around our homes and cities.
Sometimes I feel sorry for plants because of our expectations. We want them to grow rapidly because we can't wait forever for plants to spread and "fill in." But then we wish they had the good sense to stop precisely at our desired boundary.
Vigorous plants are great or terrible, depending on your current viewpoint.
FARGO -- Lawn grass has grown so speedily from plentiful May and June moisture, it's easy to become a redneck gardener. What's a redneck gardener? It's a homeowner who needs to mow his lawn to find where he left his wheelbarrow.
Besides mowing, June is a busy month around the yard and garden. Let's discuss timely do's and don'ts.
FARGO -- Do you know Elmer Fudd has chased Bugs Bunny around his garden for 75 years? Times have changed, and an elderly gentleman running through the neighborhood waving a shotgun is no longer appropriate behavior.
FARGO -- Do you live in a shady neighborhood, and aren't sure how to cope? No, I don't mean you're living next door to riff-raff, I mean you're puzzled knowing what to plant because trees or buildings are casting shade.
Directions accompanying strawberry plants usually specify the crown must be located at the correct level for proper growth. That's fine, if you know the definition of a crown. I chuckle when plant people use terminology as though the whole world majored in college botany.
Q. We have two maple trees in our front and back yards. I noticed last fall that the bark had split on the trunk of one tree. I was worried that it would have problems this spring, but it is fully leafed to the end of every branch. Do I need to be concerned, and is there anything I should be doing about the trunk? -- David Flakker, Fargo
I enjoy our weekly visits so much it's difficult for me to choose between the many possible topics. This week, 50 pieces of timely May information floated in my head, and each could make an entire essay. Because I couldn't decide, here are all 50 age-old gardening tidbits in bite-size form.
FARGO -- A potentially devastating disease epidemic is attacking our region's most common evergreen trees.
Colorado, Black Hills and Norway spruce have long been planted in yards and shelterbelts. Most of the tree-type evergreens in our region are spruce, ranging in color from silvery blue to deep green and growing 40 or 50 feet high. And now a relatively new disease called Stigmina needlecast is causing serious damage.
FARGO -- Brookings, S.D., St. Cloud, Minn., and Winnipeg have something Fargo-Moorhead doesn't. They have large horticultural gardens that are extremely popular with residents while attracting crowds of tourists.
FARGO -- Have you ever hesitated trying something new because you didn't know where to begin? I've never golfed. Picture me showing up at a golf course giving it a whirl alone and untaught. I know you whack a white ball toward a tiny hole somewhere in the distance. Maybe I could figure it out as I go.
If you're up for an adventure, skip petunias and marigolds and discover the world of lesser-known annuals. Many of the following types graced the flower beds of our grandparents. Not all are offered by every garden center, but enjoy a scavenger hunt to each of the region's growers. I've added the word "easy" behind descriptions of the most carefree.
Did you plant your potatoes on Good Friday? I wish I had a bushel of spuds for every time we’ve heard the question. Are potatoes really best planted then, or is it an old wives’ tale?
I never dismiss old wives’ tales because some of the best gardeners are old wives. But let’s think this through.
FARGO -- If you promise not to laugh, I'll describe my past method of transplanting seedlings. It all started in junior high as I was learning to grow tomato and petunia plants from seed for my parents' flower beds and vegetable garden.
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