Final month I requested our Wit & Delight Instagram viewers to share their gardening and landscaping questions with us. Effectively, associates, do I’ve solutions. I used to be lucky sufficient to talk with Jessie Jacobson, the proprietor and landscaping and gardening professional over at Tonkadale Greenhouse, certainly one of my favourite locations to go to. (Tonkadale can also be the driving drive behind my current entrance yard replace!). Jessie was form 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 folks knew OR the #1 mistake you see most frequently?

A: Let’s not name them errors. Your intention is to plant vegetation 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 at all times vital to depend on the specialists at your native backyard middle to be sure you plant the suitable vegetation 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 strong within the fall.

All the time keep in mind, the enjoyment is within the journey. Gardening is a factor you do over time—you study as you go, gaining momentum from small successes.

Q: Will all vegetation 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 occasions to make sure you at all times have colour. Depart pockets for annual vegetation which offer flower energy all season lengthy! 

Q: What are the toughest vegetation 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 firm. The simplest technique to kill vegetation is to not present sufficient water, particularly after planting. From right here, we will deduce that drought-tolerant vegetation are the toughest to kill! Perennials that tolerate drought embrace decorative grasses, alliums, milkweed, echinacea, and plenty of extra. Take a look at this checklist of drought-tolerant vegetation!

Q: What are your suggestions for planting container gardens?

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

  1. All the time begin with wealthy, natural potting soil.
  2. Select your foliage first. This gives the structure on your design and gives colour and curiosity even when flowering vegetation cycle out and in of colour.
  3. Water, water, water.
  4. Fertilize with a bloom booster fertilizer a minimum of weekly.
  5. Deadhead spent blooms and don’t be afraid to pinch and trim overgrown vegetation 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 make the most of their sources and customer support. Earlier than you go, take into account your solutions to those questions:

  • What would you like your backyard to do for you or the surroundings?
  • Are you interested by curb enchantment/elevated property worth, power conservation, reduce 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 kind of planting type do you like?
  • Do you want cottage, up to date, wild, or manicured gardens?

Usually talking, I’d suggest beginning with a small space, planting in multiples, selecting a colour 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 vegetation picked out however don’t know find out how to design a format for the most effective visible affect. What’s your recommendation?

A: Right here’s what I counsel:

  1. Plant in mass, as this method has essentially the most visible affect.
  2. Group like vegetation 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 provide 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 at all times definitely worth the funding! We now have a tremendous weblog put up, “All About Hydrangeas,” to reply your whole hydrangea questions!


Q: What are the most effective small bushes to plant beside my residence?

A: Bushes planted close to the house are thought-about foundational plantings. Bushes and shrubs soften harsh architectural traces and might 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 checklist of bushes and shrubs to contemplate:

  • 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 Jap Hemlock
  • Jap 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 professional on pruning bushes, however I do know a bit about pruning shrubs. Listed below 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 general plant well being by bettering airflow and eradicating useless or diseased branches.

New Wooden or Previous Wooden

First, we have to know if our shrubs bloom on new wooden or previous wooden. Shrubs that bloom on previous 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 typically spring or early summer season 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 season. Prune shrubs that bloom on previous 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.

Be aware that some newer shrub varieties present blooms on new and previous wooden, together with forms of weigela such because the Sonic Bloom sequence, the Bloomerang sequence of lilac, and newer steady blooming forms 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 reduce. Pruning at an angle will permit water to run off the reduce and stop pooling that will encourage illness.
  2. Prune out any useless, damaged, or diseased stems, spent blooms (if desired), rubbing branches, duplicate/parallel branches, and dense progress within the middle of the shrub. Take note the general form you want within the course of and preserve the branches that may 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 finished on well-established (a minimum of three years previous) 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 if you’re excited by 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 remodel your garden right into a pollinator habitat whereas sustaining the perform and recreation related to a conventional garden. The bee garden seed combination has been proven to help greater than sixty bee species in Minnesota. Bee garden flower seed may be overseeded right into a pre-existing stand of wholesome superb 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 phenomenal 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 vegetation 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 possibly can take away turfgrass by hand with a shovel, but it surely’s really easy to lease a sod kicker out of your native ironmongery store. If time is in your aspect, you possibly can cowl the realm with plastic for a number of weeks to kill grass for simple elimination by hand. Herbicides wouldn’t be our most popular technique.

After the grass is eliminated, lease a tiller and work in compost at a fee of 1 cubic foot per ten sq. toes. 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 completely different gentle necessities require completely completely different vegetation. In case your backyard area is steady, there shall be a transition zone that’s part-sun. Use this space to plant issues in widespread with each the solar and shade space. Many can tolerate quantity of solar and nonetheless carry out in a shady scenario. Examples embrace astilbe, Japanese forest grass, heuchera, and hosta. Don’t fear in regards to the solar and shade areas being an ideal match. Assume extra in regards to the colours, textures, and construction you need to deliver to every space.

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

A: Listed below are my tips about 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 vegetation, particularly native vegetation 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 the most effective shade vegetation aside from hostas? I’m searching for one thing with colour.

A: There are such a lot of vegetation which might be nice for shade that provide colour 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 
  • Girl’s mantle
  • Toad lily


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

A: Leaping worms are invasive worms which have made their technique to the Twin Cities space via the transport of vegetation 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 vegetation from respected backyard facilities. The Minnesota Division of Pure Sources asks that you just report sightings of leaping worms. Destroy and eliminate leaping worms for those who discover them. After they grow to be 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 attributable to 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 the most effective weblog put up ever! “How you can 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 vegetation)?

A: Simply the truth that people are excited about this matter is a step in the suitable path. In case you are planting vegetation, you might be already a accountable, eco-conscious gardener. 

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

Q: How you can plan a cohesive backyard that blooms all season lengthy?

A: Planting a backyard for steady colour will not be solely interesting to us but additionally has nice ecological advantages. Steady colour means a continuing meals supply for pollinators and useful bugs. Discover out what blooms early, mid, and late in your space. At Tonkadale, we now have a very nice chart! Additionally, listen to what’s blooming in your neighborhood or metropolis over the course of the summer season, then plant that!

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

A: Perennial survival is most intently 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 season highs. In city or protected areas, warmth accumulates and gardeners in our space are capable of have success with Zone 5 perennials, bushes, and shrubs.

Editor’s Be aware: This put up is sponsored by Tonkadale. The compensation we obtain in change for placement on Wit & Delight is used to buy props, rent a photographer, write/edit the weblog put up, and help the bigger group behind Wit & Delight.

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


By Tina T

Hi I'm Tina, a website author with an unmatched passion for her craft. With an unwavering commitment to quality, she combines her love of design and writing to create captivating online experiences that leave users amazed.

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