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?

March 10, 2009

Too Embarrased to Buy Seeds...or 'Adventures in Seed Shopping'

I'm starting to realize why people order seeds through the mail. It can be very humiliating.
By the time this cilantro grows, and finally goes to seed (coriander), your diarrhea will have been raging for over a month.
I think I'll just live dangerously and use it for cilantro.

If you're looking for a creative idea for starting seeds,

remember my tip from last year titled: "Beverage Gardening"

March 5, 2009

Waiting for Spring Makes Minnesotans do Weird Things

The long, long Minnesota winter is kind of bad for gardening. By the time we can actually dig the soil and plant, it's a mad rush to hurry up and enjoy it. The official last day of frost is May 15th, and the garden's over and dying by September. Super lame!
So perhaps, that's why people here invent crazy winter activities to snap themselves out of the cold, dark funk they're in.

I recently went to a baseball game, played in the snow, in a baseball stadium in St. Paul, MN. They call it Iceball. And to make it worse, it's played old style with old-fashioned uniforms, and no baseball gloves. And it was about 30 degrees outside. The game was a fundraiser for Second Harvest Heartland.

Luckily, they had a host of mind-blowing characters in costume, who come out on the field and do stupid skits to help us forget about our frozen feet...Everybody was having FUN !
I thought it was funny that a path around the bases was shoveled before the game began.

There was a band playing out in the cold: Chris Hawkey (rocked the house) ...have you ever seen base & guitar players with mittens on? And do you know what the cold does to instruments? But they are tough up here in the frozen north.

Other winter torture activities here include a Polar Plunge, where insane people jump into freezing water, and Ice fishing contests, and no one can forget the St. Paul Winter Carnival which is a 2-week long outdoor party for winter fanatics...This is how we survive.