Northscaping For Northern Gardeners
Northscaper's Blog

Learning To Love Again

How Annuals Made Their Way Into My Life

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Mmm... Color! :)

Anyone who's known me over the years knows that I have always been a tree and shrub guy, with a special place reserved for perennials. It's been no secret that annuals and bedding plants never got my juices flowing. I always used to think of them as "lesser cousins" of the finer plants in a garden, whimsical and fleeting, never having the moral fortitude to tough it out over one of our winters and therefore never deserving our respect.

Well, in 2012 we began the lengthy process of...

P.S. - Don't worry tree and shrub folks, I will never lose my heart completely to annuals!


3 comments Posted August 30, 2012 by James Kohut

Last... But Is It Least?

Picking Through The Garden Center Aftermath

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As is typical at this time of year, the stock of plant inventory at the garden centers is visibly winding down. For most garden centers across the North, May and June are the big selling months; by the time July rolls around, the shelves are starting to empty, and of the plants still on the shelves, the pickings are getting slimmer and the varieties fewer.

So you as a summer-shopping gardener come along and are interested in buying a few of these varieties. Perhaps you have a...


2 comments Posted July 1, 2012 by James Kohut

Labrador Tea And Lappland Azalea

The Native Azaleas Of The Far North

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Labrador Tea (Ledum groenlandicum)

One of the great envies of all northerners is the lack of azaleas and rhododendrons in our gardens. We now have a few cultivars that are hardy to zone 4 courtesy of the Northern Lights breeding program at the University of Minnesota, but for those in zones 3 and colder, they are not really a reliable option. And thus the status of rhododendron is elevated to that of unreachable, a flowering shrub of warmer climates.

The truth is, rhododendrons are among the most diverse and...


5 comments Posted June 22, 2012 by James Kohut

Junipers As Ground Covers

My Personal Recommendation For Tough And Tenacious

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For many homeowners, a low-maintenance landscape is nothing short of the holy grail, a quest for the mythic and the impossible. They want something that will look good with minimal attention to watering, weeding, pruning and any other form of care that might arise. Of course, Nature rarely works this way and thus the low-maintenance landscape will never truly be the no-maintenance landscape. However, it is possible to approach this goal with careful planning and a selection of plants that is...


4 comments Posted May 30, 2012 by James Kohut

Legginess Exposed

Neither Good, Nor Bad, Just Leggy!

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Tatarian Honeysuckle grows to be characteristically leggy when mature

Professional garden designers will often refer to a particular plant as "leggy". Exactly what do they mean by this, and how should Northscapers use this to benefit our own landscapes and gardens?

First of all, "legginess" is mostly used in reference to shrubs. It is simply a measure of how low the "bushy" or leafy part of the plant comes to the ground, and in its absence, how much "leg" the shrub shows, i.e. exposed parts of the stems or trunks. A shrub is considered to be leggy if...


1 comments Posted May 21, 2012 by James Kohut