October 11, 2009

The Undead Garden...Plant Zombies

October in Minnesota...30 degrees F.

The cold air has moved in, and most garden plants have succumbed to the Dementors. The weatherman has declared that gardening season is 'Over'.
I love this time of year in the garden...There are some things which survive a bit longer in the cold fall...plants which provide fall interest. The following zombie plants are refusing to die in my garden, and have something to offer for fall: Hardy Shrub Roses, Grasses, Hydrangea, Crabapple, Aster, Kale, Bachelor's Buttons, Sumac, Sedum.

Just be careful in the late fall garden...don't let your guard down. Zombies are out there...They don't feel the cold, and they're hungry for brains.

Click here to see my photos of human zombies from the Zombie Pub Crawl in Minneapolis: http://www.flickr.com/photos/neza-sg/sets/72157622559319094/

September 29, 2009

Lovely Lady Larva

Ladybugs lay their eggs on various types of plants that are infested with aphids (photo on right). A ladybug can eat thousands of aphids during it's larva and adult stages.
The spiky, crawling larvae look nothing like the adult ladybug...except for the familiar black and orange color.
Aphids weaken, and can eventually kill plants. I found these aphids, and ladybug pupae on a Ninebark shrub (Physocarpus opulifolius 'Diabolo') and on Purple Leaf Sand Cherry (Prunus x cistena). I've also seen them recently on Dill seed heads.

What you gonna do with all that junk?

September 24, 2009

July 1, 2009

Mean Green Machine

The big news this year was that the Emerald Ash Borer was officially found here in St. Paul, Minnesota. I'm sure it was here earlier than this year, but it hadn't been confirmed til this spring.

Several years ago, I attended a seminar and watched a video about the threat of the Emerald Ash Borer, and how it had killed tens of millions of ash trees in Michigan and eastern U.S. states. They warned against transporting firewood from other states, but there were no other instructions on controlling the spread.

I’ve spotted these Ash Borer sticky traps in a few Ash trees now in St. Paul. These are to discover where the infestations are…not to actually “trap” them. The Huge Minnesota State Fair is acting to protect and save their Ash trees. This is something they didn’t do when Dutch Elm Disease came along. The MN State Fair lost many big Elm trees during that time. Since all the big commotion this spring, I haven’t heard any new info about the spread.

So is this the beginning of the end for Ash trees in Minnesota? We certainly have a lot of them here. Not my personal favorite tree, but I see the value in diversity.
I would like to suggest Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis L.) as a good replacement tree for Ash. They are very hardy, withstand multiple conditions, they’re great for street plantings, and grow well in the areas affected by Emerald Ash Borer. This is an image of Hackberry leaves.

The University of Minnesota is always a good place to go for information.
And St. Paul’s website on the matter:

June 17, 2009

Robin Twin Powers, Activate.

Form of...cute baby birds in their nest among the honeysuckle vine. Looking forward to venturing out soon.

May 5, 2009

May Flowers Bring Revolution

May Day

Minneapolis, Minnesota...
The annual May Day Parade and Festival was this past weekend.
The festival celebrates the Earth, and social justice & environmental movements.
The parade travels about 10 blocks through the heart of Minneapolis, to Powderhorn Park, where the all-day festival begins.
To me, this marks the beginning of Spring.

March 30, 2009

Magnolia Stars

Magnolia stellata, or Star Magnolia, is preparing for its upcoming show in The Twin Cities. Northern Magnolias are one of my favorite plants because of the various stages they go through as they bloom. This is a deciduous woody shrub. Unlike southern magnolias, this one forms its flower buds in the fall, then drops leaves and goes dormant for winter. The show starts again each spring. Star Magnolias are perfectly hardy here in zone 4.

Right now, the flower buds look like fuzzy pussywillows. Soon, the fuzz will be pushed aside to reveal a creamy white flower bud resembling a peanut. Most people miss all of this amazing drama, and only notice once the flowers are fully opened.

Minneapolis band, The Magnolias, are on tour right now in Europe. They'll be back in Minnesota for a show April 18th at First Avenue. (Just in time). ROCK !

March 16, 2009

Recycled Wrap

I found this new product...have you seen it yet?

Junk Store Gardening

With the bad economy, a lot more people are turning to gardening this season. Those fancy garden shops can get expensive when you're trying to stock all your supplies.

I did a little shopping at the local surplus store to find some alternative garden tools & accessories.

Perhaps these inflatable insects can help attract beneficial bugs to your garden; and make the yard fashionable too.

Instead of buying a pricey kneeling pad, you can get a whole stack of these mystery foam squares. (You just have to like pink).

If you use a walking stick to stroll around your yard, it makes your property seem larger. (I wouldn't recommend dressing as shown)... And every respectable garden must have rubber chickens. And they're so affordable...( look how happy he is)!!

Did you ever want to freak out your neighbors with your yard waste? Only 25 cents for loads of fun!

Tickets for the garden party.

Have a project in mind? Here's some totally fab "Landscaping Fabric" ...AND you're not hardcore unless you have a gas mask (everybody knows that)...If you're not making a statement, then what are you doing?