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Apr 052017

garden planning with color 1

*Sponsored by Monrovia

Time for garden planting!!  Eerrr, planning. OK, if you live somewhere NOT in a frozen tundra, then you are probably planting in March. In Minnesota, we have a rule of not putting anything in the ground until after Mother’s Day. Mid-May is generally safe from snow other than that weird last blizzard that always melts within hours.

Because of our challenging climate, we have to get creative with landscaping and gardening.

You need to ask yourself:

  • Is it cold hardy to -40°F?
  • Can it withstand harsh winds?
  • Will it still thrive inside a very short growing season?
  • Is it low maintenance since I have a zillion kids and not much time?

Ok, that last  one might not be frozen north specific.

If you go to the nursery in Minnesota in April, everything looks like this:

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You have to use a little imagination and some image searches to put your mind at ease.

Luckily, there are few hardier options that look alive at this time of year, even in Minnesota.

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While the annuals won’t go in the ground until late spring, we can still fill out the yard with hardy flowering shrubs earlier.

What works up here?

  • Lilacs
  • Hydrangeas
  • Spirea
  • Azaleas
  • Rhododendrons
  • Pussy willows
  • Peonies

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Keep in mind, your lilacs, peonies, and hydrangeas will only start peaking out signs of life in early to mid spring. They will still take until June to develop flowers up here unless we have an unusual season.

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There are several more options, of course. However, I am only covering the low maintenance options. Also, our soil is almost entirely clay in the southern half of the state and these plants grow fine despite the poor drainage. If you are in Northern Minnesota, the soil is quite sandy, so you’ll have other options.  (Blueberries!!!!!)

We moved into this house a couple years ago and I tried to keep the previous owner’s roses going. They didn’t look all that great when we moved in and they still don’t.  The location is too sunny. Plus, I don’t really want to spend a bunch of time caring for them.
I taking them out and creating a shrub border. The goal is no more high maintenance roses, but a wall of low maintenance rhododendrons and peonies.
I also plan on putting in a dwarf willow in the front corner.

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The gas company tore up that whole section of our yard last fall, so I basically have an almost blank slate.

My rhododendron choice for the shrub wall is the purple gem from Monrovia.

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The Monrovia Purple Gem will look nice alternating with white peonies on that side of the yard. Two summers ago we planted Monrovia hydrangeas along the front of the house alternating blue and white. Since our house decor is various shades of blue and white, I guess I have an obvious preference, ha!

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We will be heading back to the nursery soon to hunt down peonies. So far, the rhododendrons are the only flower shrubs out. But once we get beyond frost season, it is on.

Visit Monrovia to learn more about the varieties of perennials they offer and also learn about the Grow Beautifully program.

You can also sign up for their newsletter for more info and seasonal news. Monrovia plants are available at Lowe’s and many local nurseries. We purchased ours at Bachman’s.


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