Monthly Archives: August 2016

  1. Our Favorite Trees For the Front Yard and Backyard

    Japanese Maple Tree

    Best Trees For the Front Yard!

    Your front yard is the place where your guests and neighbors make their first impression about your house, so having a tree in the front yard that makes a statement is essential. Having a tree with large leaves and little to no fruit or seeds dropping makes yard clean-ups much easier, but there's no need to sacrifice the beauty of trees for something utilitarian. Consider some of these trees for that perfect front-yard pop that is sure to make a statement all year round.

    Bloodgood Japanese MapleBloodgood Japanese Maple - Acer palmatum
    Red foliage is one of those aspects that turns heads and always stands out, regardless of season. Bloodgood Japanese Maple has that stunning red foliage, not only in the fall, but also in the spring and summer. Because it only grows 15 to 20 feet in height and width, it is a perfect tree to include in your front yard. It won't overshadow everything, and you'll be able to look out your window and enjoy the purple-red foliage and delicate branches year-round. Since it is more tolerant of (and even prefers) part-shade environments, you can put it in places where other trees may not thrive as well, including closer to your house. Planting a Bloodgood Japanese Maple with other green-foliage plants will really help it to pop and turn heads.

    Chaste TreeChaste Tree - Vitex agnus-castus
    Blue is not a color that is easily found in flowers, and it's even more challenging in trees. But the Chaste Tree will provide those blue flowers in a season when it seems like everything is only green - summer. With a maximum size of 15-25 feet in any given direction, this tree is sure to provide your front yard with some summer color. When it is not blooming, enjoy the grey-green foliage and in the winter, the beautiful branch structure. Tolerant of less-than-perfect environments, the Chaste Tree is a tree that is sure to please all year round, and make your house the most noticeable on the block!

    Weeping CherryWeeping Cherry  Prunus subhirtella 'Pendula Plena Rosea'
    Cherries are known for their beautiful flowers in the spring, and this tree is no exception. In addition to the flowers, this tree's branches cascade toward the ground, creating an exceptional and interesting sight. Growing to approximately 25 feet at full maturity, a weeping cherry will be sure to be the talk of the neighborhood. As an added bonus, the weeping branches create a space that is perfect for a playhouse as they mature and get close to sweeping the ground. Enjoy the distinctive form of this tree throughout the year.


    All of these trees bring a bit of character to your front yard. From purple foliage in the spring and summer to flowers in a brilliant blue to branches that sweep the ground, there is sure to be a tree perfect for your front yard. Enjoy the beauty these trees provide, and be sure to be the talk of the neighborhood!  

    Best Trees For the Backyard!

    Having trees in your backyard not only shade your house, but also provide a space for playing and relaxing on hot summer days. Consider using these trees in your backyard for a shady, enjoyable environment, even in the heat of summer.

      Brandywine Maple TreeBrandywine Maple - Acer rubrum

    Most people think of maples and think of the seeds that pile up and clog gutters.  Brandywine maple is a tree with only male flowers in the spring, meaning there are  no pesky seeds to clean up. In addition, Brandywine maple turns gorgeous reddish purple in the fall, providing you with color that can't be found anywhere else. With a mature size of 25 feet tall by 15 feet wide, it is the perfect size for a backyard where you want some shade but don't want the entire yard engulfed by a tree.

    Royal Empress TreeRoyal Empress Tree - Paulownia elongata

    Many times, it takes trees quite a while before reaching their mature size. Royal Empress Tree is an exception to this. With a rapid growth that is unrivaled by any other tree, (12 to 15 feet in a single year!) Royal Empress Tree is a tree that will shade your yard quickly. Reaching at least 40 feet in the air, and 30 feet in spread in under 4 years, this tree will provide you with deep shade that will make the hot summer months tolerable. Use this tree without any concern for invading, as this species will not spread throughout your yard. Winter highlights the fuzzy flower buds, and in the spring, the lavender flowers cover the tree, filling the air with their sweet scent.

      Shumard Oak TreeShumard Oak - Quercus shumardii

    Oak trees not only make great shade trees, but also provide wildlife with plenty of habitat. Shumard oak is a spectacular oak tree, because of it's stature (up to 90 feet tall and 60 feet wide at maturity), and it's fall color. Unlike most oaks, Shumard oak turns a brilliant red in the fall, rivaling the maples and other trees. The acorns reach up to an inch in size, making them perfect for wildlife and for young imaginations. Use this tree in an area where you want a tree that is large and hardy, as Shumard oak is sure to live up to both of those statements.   While these trees all would look beautiful in both your front and back yards, these trees will make a stellar addition to your backyard, especially in an area where you want some shade without major cleanup when the leaves fall. In addition to the great color and shade, there are plenty of opportunities for imaginative minds to find unique adventures in the canopy. Consider using one of these trees in your backyard landscape and enjoy the unique benefits they provide.

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  2. Feed a Bee Gift Basket Giveaway

    Feed a Bee Gift Basket Giveaway

    Enter to win a Feed a Bee gift basket from Bayer and today! This basket has all sorts of great bee-related items to help raise awareness for bees in the environment!

    Gift Basket 2
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  3. A Pre-Planned Perennial Garden For Full Sun Areas

    With so many options to choose from when it comes to planning a perennial bed, it can be crazy to try to decide where to start. Enter this perfect perennial recipe! Each of these plants will look fantastic with each other, with different bloom times, flower colors, and foliage shapes. All of them will be fantastic in full sun in any soil type, but will do best in loamy or sandy soil. For best results, this recipe works best in zones 4 - 8, but some of the plants can extend beyond that range. 

     Origami Red & White Columbine

    Origami Red and White Columbine - Aquilegia

    The first to flower in this recipe, Origami Red and White Columbine's cheerful flowers will remind you that spring is here. As the name suggests, the flowers are red and white and resemble folded origami flowers. Deer and rabbit resistant, this columbine flowers for almost 12 weeks – providing plenty of nectar for butterflies and hummingbirds! If you cut back the flowers after flowering, it will continue to bloom for longer. At maturity, this plant reaches approximately 18 inches tall, and will spread up to 18 inches wide over time.

    Dickson's Gold Bellflower

    Dickson's Gold Bellflower - Campanula

    The shortest of these perennials, Dickson's Gold Bellflower is perfect along the border of the garden. The foliage reaches a maximum of 6 inches tall, and is a beautiful golden green color. The blue flowers of Dickson's Gold Bellflower appear in late spring and early summer, in stark contrast to the bright foliage. Attractive to many pollinators, including bees, hummingbirds and butterflies, this plant will not be plagued by deer and rabbits. Use it along your border for just the pop of color you weren't expecting!

    Fire Dance Red Hot Poker

    Fire Dance Red Hot Poker - Kniphofia hirsuta

    Fire Dance Red Hot Poker acts as a reminder of summer days to come. Blooming in late May and early June, this flower's red and yellow flowers look like their namesake. Reaching over 20 inches at maturity, this flower’s narrow strap-like leaves and tall flowers provide a stunning contrast to many of the other plants in this recipe. Ignored by rabbits, deer and other pests, but adored by pollinators, Fire Dance Red Hot Poker is sure to please.

    Scabiosa Pink Mist

    Scabiosa Pink Mist - Scabiosa columnaria

    Ready for a pop of pink that lasts from April until the first frost? Try Scabiosa Pink Mist. Delicate pin-cushion pink flowers dot the plant through the uncertainty of spring, through rough days of summer and into the final days of fall. At 12 to 18 inches tall, this plant is perfect in the front of your planting, where the flowers can be enjoyed in all their glory.

    Amsonia Blue Ice

    Blue Ice Blue Star - Amsonia

    Everyone loves looking at the stars, so why not enjoy them in your garden? Blue Star Blue Ice has delicate blue star-shaped flowers that will brighten your garden like the evening stars in the late spring and early summer months. Turning bright summer yellow in the fall, this plant has a little bit for every season. Low management and bright colors makes this a winner in your garden recipe. With a variety of colors, shapes and bloom times, each of these flowering perennials shine in their own way. Try all of them together for a burst of color all season long, or pick and choose what works best for you.

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  4. Garden Bloggers Fling 2016

    This was the first year we attended the Garden Bloggers Fling . To say this blew our expectations out of the water would be still be an understatement. Each year, a terrific group of garden bloggers go to a different city to tour gardens, meet other garden bloggers, and learn. This was the 8th Garden Fling, and was in Minneapolis, MN. Around 50 different garden bloggers from all around the United States and Canada attended this year's fling.

    Garden Bloggers In the Garden

    The organizers did an outstanding job of planning and organizing the trip. Overall we saw 15 (or so) gardens. It was hard to remember all of them! Below you will see some of our favorite pictures we took along the way. Minneapolis is definitely a great city to visit if you like plants and gardening. We recommend visiting there if you enjoy those things (we are assuming you do if you are reading our blog!). We toured private gardens, arboretums, a daylily breeder, and some great pollinator gardens. It is easy to see how much time, effort and dedication went into making each location beautiful.
    If you would like to see the great group of people that attended this year's blog, and see their garden blogs, follow this link. Thank you for allowing us to attend this year, and for all of the hard work organizing and planning this year's trip. We will definitely be going next year to Washington D.C.! 

    Arborvitae and Hosta HedgeArborvitae and Hosta Hedge

    Raspberry Wine Bee Balm Raspberry Wine Bee Balm

    Dragons Blood SedumDragons Blood Sedum

    This video was one of our favorite things to see. The Quickfire Hydrangea was covered in bees, wasps, bumblebees, and butterflies!

    Queen of the prairie Queen of the prairie

    Black Knight Trachelium & Camelot Lavender FoxgloveBlack Knight Trachelium & Camelot Lavender Foxglove

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