Don’t get out there too fast

Bringing Plants Indoors

It’s the time of year we’re bringing plants indoors.  Sometimes I try to keep a favorite potted herb alive until next summer, or for as long as I can; sometimes it’s an indoor plant that just had a nice summer vacation.  Either way, it’s not as easy as it seems.  I’ve had plants drop all their leaves — I’m guessing I may have waited too long and they were acclimating to the cold and the warm indoors was a shock.  I’ve inadvertently brought bugs inside as well.

The University of MN Extension has a good article on avoiding bringing pests in and also remedying the situation if they get anyway.

meaybug on rubber plant - Julie W

Check your houseplants now for insect problems

Basil Disaster

I’ve been growing basil ever since I had a yard and have always enjoyed the abundant crop I get every year. There have been years I had so much beautiful basil I put it in a bucket of water with a sign “Free organically grown basil” in my front yard. It always disappeared (even my nice bucket disappeared 😥).

No more.  Last year I had a reduced crop but still plenty for my needs. I didn’t have enough to freeze tons of pesto, but plenty for Margherita pizzas and caprese salad and to share with my neighbor. This year it has been awful. About a month ago the leaves began yellowing badly and are stunted. I couldn’t figure it out, thinking maybe I needed some good leafy veggie fertilizer. Now I know what it is: it’s basil downy mildew. Sadly there’s nothing to be done.

A little garden humor

Hummingbird Siting

I saw my first hummingbird of the season this morning.  Spring must really be here (although it’s pretty cold out there — 48 degrees F.)  I just looked back and saw that for the past 2 years my first siting was on May 19.  This is a very reliable little bird.

Tulips and Rhododendron

The tulips were not eaten by deer this year.  I haven’t seen these fully bloom in a few years.

2017 Hummingbird Patrol

The hummingbirds seem to be about a week earlier than last year, which isn’t surprising given the mild winter and early spring we’ve had.  When the first ones are sighted in southern Minnesota we usually get the feeder out.  It shouldn’t be long now.

2017 hummingbird map

2017 Hummingbird Migration Map

First Harbingers of Spring


It’s always exciting when the crocus bloom.  This year they’re not struggling to erupt through a layer of snow and they seem very happy about it.

Making Shade While the Sun Shines

We lost our dogwood this year.  It was a nice tree and fit the area where we had it beautifully, proving light shade for some truly lovely hostas and other shade-lovers, but it was our third dogwood to die from some kind of scale, so we decided to try a small magnolia to replace it.  Unfortunately the largest we could find in tree form was only a #10 pot, and it may be a few years before it provides enough shade for the plants that were under the dogwood.  Meanwhile, it wasn’t even that hot yet and they were already beginning to show signs of scorching.  We found a “shade sail” at Costco and it’s doing a good job of providing some shade while the tree grows.  It’s actually kind of cool looking too.

Also in this picture you can see the final decision on non-cypress mulch.  We’re really happy with the look of our hardwood-only bark mulch.  It’s a warm brown that we like even better than the red hues of the cypress.  It was kind of pricey, but worth it to help save those cypress groves.

Shade Sail

Hummingbird Arrival

We first noticed our hummingbird on May 19, same day as last year!  However, last year on that date I was marveling at tulip buds, but the tulips are done already this year.  Unfortunately, some of them were ruined by the hail storm.

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