Archive for May, 2015

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.


Planting Time

We’ve decided we need more perennials in our beds and want to do some serious planting this spring.  I found an interesting publication from the U of MN Extension.  I’m always amazed at the wealth of information available on that website.  Tap or click on the image to go to the site.  And because it’s from the U of Mn I know all the plants will be appropriate for this region.

Monthly Garden Tips – May


MN Landscape Arboretum

All Hail the Garden

We had a sudden storm last night. I’m mean, sudden.  Within a 15 minute period we went from 80° and sunny to this:  

 Yes those are ice balls.  After the storm the temp was still a balmy 75° and steam was wafting from the deck.  The lower right photo was taken 2 hours later when the hail was still hanging around and the temps had dropped to 59°.  All those lovely pink petals were on the tree before the storm.

This morning we have the aftermath to deal with.


The upper deck (right picture) was “protected” by a huge awning that was lowered during the storm to form a sort of lean-to.  All that got in under the tent.  All the mulch beds are covered with broken leaves.  The good news is that it’s sunny and warm, and once all the mess dries up it should be fairly easy to blow it into a pile.

Crab Grass Prevention

We don’t try to achieve organic status with our lawn.  We do, however, try to limit the amount of chemicals we use and purchase environmentally friendly options when available.  Thanks to a really helpful timing model from Michigan State University, I’m guessing we almost always waste our time, money and chemical footprint when we apply our crab grass preventer because we usually wait too long.  Note:  MSU has only verified the tracker for the Great Lakes region.

To use the model, enter your zip code at the top.  It shows a map with color zones indicating optimal times for applying the pre-emergent.  Since the effectiveness of pre-emergents is related to temperature, these recommendations are based on current weather conditions (GDD – growing degree days) and are more reliable than using a fixed date every year.  For example, I live in a little pocket that says it’s already too late for this year.  Great.


Also very useful is an article from Purdue University that helps explain the results and what to do about it.  For example, if you’re late like we are, you can try a preventer with a different active ingredient that may still be a viable alternative.

Along the right of the map there are links to other timers such as Japanese Beetle emergence, weed flowering, etc.  The tracker is focused primarily on lawn care professionals, so it’s a little heavy on the use of chemicals, but it can be helpful for all types of prevention and control.

Spring is Bustin’ Out

This azalea had been pretty sparse in its old location so we transplanted it a few years ago.  Over the subsequent seasons it’s been slowly looking better, and this year we’re finally seeing what it’s capable of!  It now looks happy enough to survive some shaping after the flower show.


MTP Originals

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minnesota growing

Growing things in the frozen upper midwest

Through Open Lens

Home of Lukas Kondraciuk Photography

leaf and twig

where observation and imagination meet nature in poetry

Travels of the Elderly

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