Final month I requested our Wit & Delight Instagram viewers to share their gardening and landscaping questions with us. Effectively, pals, do I’ve solutions. I used to be lucky sufficient to talk with Jessie Jacobson, the proprietor and landscaping and gardening skilled over at Tonkadale Greenhouse, one in all my favourite locations to go to. (Tonkadale can be the driving pressure behind my latest entrance yard replace!). Jessie was sort sufficient to share a few of her experience in answering your high landscaping and gardening questions.

Basic Gardening Ideas

Q: What’s the #1 piece of gardening recommendation you would like individuals knew OR the #1 mistake you see most frequently?

A: Let’s not name them errors. Your intention is to plant crops and that’s by no means a mistake. We positively see gardeners get discouraged by making an attempt to do an excessive amount of without delay. It’s all the time necessary to depend on the specialists at your native backyard middle to ensure you plant the suitable crops on your location, amend your soil on the time of planting, and proceed to water newly planted perennials, bushes, and shrubs till the bottom freezes stable within the fall.

At all times keep in mind, the enjoyment is within the journey. Gardening is a factor you do over time—you be taught as you go, gaining momentum from small successes.

Q: Will all crops bloom once more if I prune after flowering?

A: No, not essentially. Some perennials will give a second flush after pruning, however this isn’t the case with most. Plant a mixture of perennials with early, mid, and late bloom instances to make sure you all the time have coloration. Go away pockets for annual crops which offer flower energy all season lengthy! 

Q: What are the toughest crops to kill?

A: This actually relies on the applying. Crops which might be planted in the suitable location will thrive with correct planting and care throughout their first 12 months of multinational. The simplest solution to kill crops is to not present sufficient water, particularly after planting. From right here, we will deduce that drought-tolerant crops are the toughest to kill! Perennials that tolerate drought embrace decorative grasses, alliums, milkweed, echinacea, and plenty of extra. Try this record of drought-tolerant crops!

Q: What are your suggestions for planting container gardens?

A: These are my major suggestions for thriving container gardens:

  1. At all times begin with wealthy, natural potting soil.
  2. Select your foliage first. This gives the structure on your design and gives coloration and curiosity even when flowering crops cycle out and in of coloration.
  3. Water, water, water.
  4. Fertilize with a bloom booster fertilizer at the least weekly.
  5. Deadhead spent blooms and don’t be afraid to pinch and trim overgrown crops all through the season. 

Q: How do I plant a backyard that appears skilled with out skilled assist?

A: Go to your native backyard middle and benefit from their sources and customer support. Earlier than you go, contemplate your solutions to those questions:

  • What would you like your backyard to do for you or the atmosphere?
  • Are you curious about curb attraction/elevated property worth, power conservation, minimize flowers, entertaining, cooking, or planting for pollinators and songbirds?
  • How a lot time do you need to spend within the backyard every week and every season?
  • What sort of planting model do you favor?
  • Do you want cottage, up to date, wild, or manicured gardens?

Usually talking, I’d advocate beginning with a small space, planting in multiples, selecting a coloration palette, various bloom time, bloom measurement, and bloom form, mixing perennials, bushes, and shrubs, together with evergreens, and leaving pockets for annuals and herbs. 

Q: I’ve crops picked out however don’t know the best way to design a structure for one of the best visible impression. What’s your recommendation?

A: Right here’s what I recommend:

  1. Plant in mass, as this strategy has probably the most visible impression.
  2. Group like crops collectively.
  3. Plant extra of every selection, and fewer varieties in complete.
  4. Be certain that to incorporate bushes, shrubs, and evergreens in your plan. Single specimens supply a spot on your eyes to relaxation.
  5. Take into account including sculptural parts like a path or a well-placed boulder.

Q: Hydrangea care! Are hydrangeas definitely worth the funding?

A: Hydrangeas are all the time definitely worth the funding! We have now an incredible weblog submit, “All About Hydrangeas,” to reply all your hydrangea questions!


Q: What are one of the best small bushes to plant beside my house?

A: Bushes planted close to the house are thought of foundational plantings. Bushes and shrubs soften harsh architectural traces and may present shade and insulation which promotes power effectivity. Bushes or shrubs planted near the home ought to be smaller in stature, complementing the design of the home whereas not blocking home windows or attention-grabbing options. Here’s a record of bushes and shrubs to think about:

  • Serviceberry, particularly “Standing Ovation” or “Autumn Brilliance”
  • Hydrangea bushes or requirements
  • Smaller evergreens (Search for the phrase dwarf or compact, or attempt Golden Hinoki False.)
  • Cypress
  • Golden Duke Japanese Hemlock
  • Japanese redbud
  • Pagoda dogwood
  • Viburnum
  • Lilacs, together with Bloomerang, Miss Kim, Tiny Dancer
  • Japanese maples
  • Ginkgo Jade Butterfly
  • Smoke bush
  • Azalea/rhododendron
  • Purple Leaf Sand Cherry
  • Some crabapples
  • Magnolia
  • Boxwood
  • Elderberry

Q: How do I do know what to prune from mature bushes and shrubs?

A: I’m not an skilled on pruning bushes, however I do know a bit about pruning shrubs. Listed here are the fundamentals of pruning shrubs.

Pruning is finished to enhance the shrub’s look and assist keep its pure or manicured type, promote new progress, branching, and flowering, and promote total plant well being by bettering airflow and eradicating lifeless or diseased branches.

New Wooden or Previous Wooden

First, we have to know if our shrubs bloom on new wooden or outdated wooden. Shrubs that bloom on outdated wooden set buds for subsequent 12 months on the finish of the rising season. Prune these shrubs after flowering to encourage new flower bud formation. These are usually spring or early summer time blooming shrubs together with lilacs forsythia, mock orange, rhododendron, azalea, weigela, and ninebark.

Shrubs that bloom on new wooden type buds on progress throughout the present rising season and have a tendency to bloom mid to late summer time. Prune shrubs that bloom on outdated wooden in late winter or in early spring earlier than the shrub has damaged dormancy. Examples embrace panicle hydrangea, clean hydrangea, summersweet, smoke bush, and roses.

Observe that some newer shrub varieties present blooms on new and outdated wooden, together with kinds of weigela such because the Sonic Bloom collection, the Bloomerang collection of lilac, and newer steady blooming kinds of bigleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla).

Pruning Ideas

  1. Prune at a forty-five-degree angle proper above a node or aspect department with a clear, sharp pair of bypass pruners or loppers to make sure a clear and wholesome minimize. Pruning at an angle will permit water to run off the minimize and stop pooling which will encourage illness.
  2. Prune out any lifeless, damaged, or diseased stems, spent blooms (if desired), rubbing branches, duplicate/parallel branches, and dense progress within the middle of the shrub. Remember the general form you need within the course of and preserve the branches that can assist develop or keep that construction. Don’t take away greater than one-third of the plant at one time.
  3. Rejuvenation pruning may be accomplished on well-established (at the least three years outdated) shrubs to encourage a flush of wholesome new progress, eradicating the oldest wooden all the way down to the bottom.


Q: What’s the greatest/best grass and/or plant to begin from seed and keep right here within the Twin Cities?

A: Turfgrass is needy. Copious quantities of water and fertilizer are what preserve grass wanting full and fluffy. At Tonkadale we select to promote grass seed that’s licensed by the Turfgrass Water Conservation Alliance. These grass mixes require as much as 30% much less inputs—much less water, much less fertilizer, much less chemical compounds, and fewer mowing. Take into account overseeding your garden with such a grass seed in case you are serious about conservation-friendly turf. 

An alternative choice is to plant a bee garden or native bee garden combine. The bee garden combine follows suggestions from the College of Minnesota, combining Dutch white clover, self-heal, and creeping thyme to create a seed combination that may rework your garden right into a pollinator habitat whereas sustaining the operate and recreation related to a standard garden. The bee garden seed combination has been proven to assist greater than sixty bee species in Minnesota. Bee garden flower seed may be overseeded right into a pre-existing stand of wholesome high-quality fescue or Kentucky bluegrass turf.

The native bee garden combine makes use of all native wildflowers (self-heal, yaak yarrow, blue-eyed grass) to rework your own home garden into a fantastic mixture of turfgrass and flowers. This seed combine is designed to strengthen the longstanding evolutionary relationships we observe in nature between pollinators and the native crops they rely upon.

Learn extra about sustainable lawnscaping on Tonkadale’s weblog.

Q: How do I begin a backyard the place there’s at the moment grass? 

A: On this case, it’s best to take away the grass first. You’ll be able to take away turfgrass by hand with a shovel, however it’s really easy to hire a sod kicker out of your native ironmongery shop. If time is in your aspect, you may cowl the realm with plastic for a number of weeks to kill grass for straightforward elimination by hand. Herbicides wouldn’t be our most popular technique.

After the grass is eliminated, hire a tiller and work in compost at a fee of 1 cubic foot per ten sq. ft. Subsequent, lay edging after which it’s time to plant!

Solar and Shade

Q: What are options for a mattress the place one half will get full solar and the opposite half will get full shade?

A: Completely totally different mild necessities require completely totally different crops. In case your backyard house is steady, there can be a transition zone that’s part-sun. Use this space to plant issues in frequent with each the solar and shade space. Many can tolerate a superb quantity of solar and nonetheless carry out in a shady state of affairs. Examples embrace astilbe, Japanese forest grass, heuchera, and hosta. Don’t fear concerning the solar and shade areas being an ideal match. Suppose extra concerning the colours, textures, and construction you need to convey to every space.

Q: How do I cease a backyard from dying in 110-degree climate?

A: Listed here are my recommendations on caring for a backyard within the warmth:

  1. Water. Water within the morning earlier than the warmth of the day to keep away from evaporation.
  2. Relying on the period of maximum warmth, it is perhaps time to plant drought-resistant crops, particularly native crops that tailored to our local weather.
  3. Place containers and hanging baskets in a shady space throughout a warmth wave.
  4. Add mulch to backyard beds to assist retain moisture and preserve the soil cool. If excessive warmth is coupled with excessive humidity, evapotranspiration slows as does plant progress.  

Q: What are one of the best shade crops aside from hostas? I’m searching for one thing with coloration.

A: There are such a lot of crops which might be nice for shade that provide coloration and curiosity each in foliage and flower. A few of our favorites embrace:

  • Astilbe
  • Aruncus/goat’s beard 
  • Solomon’s seal
  • Ligularia 
  • Ferns 
  • Cimicifuga/snakeroot 
  • Bleeding coronary heart 
  • Brunnera 
  • Chelone/turtlehead 
  • Pulmonaria/lungwort
  • Polemonium/Jacob’s ladder 
  • Heuchera 
  • Filipendula
  • Bergenia 
  • Epimedium 
  • Japanese forest grass 
  • Woman’s mantle
  • Toad lily


Q: I’m fearful of leaping worms. How can I stop/deal with?!

A: Leaping worms are invasive worms which have made their solution to the Twin Cities space by means of the transport of crops and soil. They are often very damaging, particularly in main ecosystems as they modify the construction of soil and strip it of vitamins. 

My greatest recommendation is to buy soil (bagged or bulk) and crops from respected backyard facilities. The Minnesota Division of Pure Assets asks that you just report sightings of leaping worms. Destroy and get rid of leaping worms in case you discover them. After they develop into established, there’s not a complete lot you are able to do. 

The worry of leaping worms is an actual factor and may be labeled as solastalgia, which is the stress brought on by environmental change. Many people will expertise misery over the implications of local weather change, invasive species, and excessive climate occasions. 

Learn extra about leaping worms by visiting the UMN Extension web site.

Q: How can I stop pests (rabbits) from consuming new progress?

A: That is one of the best weblog submit ever! “Find out how to Repel Deer and Rabbits within the Backyard

Eco-Aware Gardening

Q: How can I be a accountable eco-conscious gardener (i.e., planting pollinator-friendly, native, and drought-tolerant crops)?

A: Simply the truth that of us are excited about this matter is a step in the suitable course. If you’re planting crops, you’re already a accountable, eco-conscious gardener. 

These are some must-read weblog posts on the subject:

Q: Find out how to plan a cohesive backyard that blooms all season lengthy?

A: Planting a backyard for steady coloration is just not solely interesting to us but in addition has nice ecological advantages. Steady coloration means a relentless meals supply for pollinators and useful bugs. Discover out what blooms early, mid, and late in your space. At Tonkadale, we’ve got a extremely nice chart! Additionally, concentrate to what’s blooming in your neighborhood or metropolis over the course of the summer time, then plant that!

Q: Actual speak: How shut are we to a zone 5 perennial surviving within the Twin Cities?

A: Perennial survival is most carefully associated to how lengthy our lowest minimal temperatures are sustained. Within the Twin Cities, we will hit temperatures as little as -30 levels Fahrenheit which classifies us as Zone 4. Though the summers appear to be getting hotter, Zone 5 classification has extra to do with winter lows than summer time highs. In city or protected areas, warmth accumulates and gardeners in our space are in a position to have success with Zone 5 perennials, bushes, and shrubs.

Editor’s Observe: This submit is sponsored by Tonkadale. The compensation we obtain in trade for placement on Wit & Delight is used to buy props, rent a photographer, write/edit the weblog submit, and assist the bigger crew behind Wit & Delight.

Whereas compensation was obtained in trade for protection, all ideas and opinions are all the time my very own. Sponsored posts like these permit us to proceed to develop dynamic unsponsored content material. Thanks for supporting our companions!

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