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Showing posts from January, 2009

Garden Calendar for February

David C. Zlesak

Photo 1: With increasing light levels, houseplants can use more nutrition. David Zlesak

Continue to the planning process for your 2009 garden. As you decide the plant materials you would like to have this season consider how you will obtain these plants. Some may not be readily available and you will need to start them from seed soon or orders should placed soon for seed and nursery stock to help ensure you get what you want. Many catalog suppliers have discounts or other incentives for those that order early.

Photo 2: Being welcomed home on a winter day by the smell of spring bulbs is a glorious experience. David Zlesak

As the days get longer and light intensity increases, consider starting to fertilize houseplants again. It is important to read and follow directions carefully. Different fertilizers have different concentrations of nutrients in them which can lead to different application rates. Also, fertilizer formulation is an important factor because that can influenc…

What's Up With That?!

David C. Zlelsak
As eastern white pines (Pinus strobus) mature, they tend to develop a rounded upper canopy and interesting asymmetric form to their branches. The interesting branch arrangement, providing rich character to these trees, is due in part to how they have adapted to handle the stress imposed by the weight of snow and ice. The generally horizontal branches of white pine are somewhat brittle, and as they become excessively weighted down, especially in the presence of heavy winds, they respond by snapping and collapsing to the ground. The straight trunk typically remains in tact, helping to keep the tree standing tall. It’s impressive to see forests in Minnesota and Wisconsin where mature eastern white pines typically tower over neighboring tree species.
Photo 1: David Zlesak

The Moth Orchid Takes Off!

Christopher Currey University of Minnesota Graduate Student
Moth orchids (genus Phalaenopsis) have been taking the potted plant world by storm for the last decade. They are now second only in total sale value to poinsettias, yet per pot they are the most valuable crop on the market today. The advent of advanced tissue culture and production methods has brought the plant out of the elite Victorian glasshouse to the shelves of nearly every retailer, allowing them to become the most accessible orchid on the market today. Combine this accessibility with their ease of growing in the home environment and you have a wonderful, rewarding tropical orchid for the everyday home gardener.

Photo 1: Phalaenopsis orchids are a commonly sold in box stores to upper scale garden centers. David Zlesak
Name, nomenclature, etymology
The genus Phalaenopsis received its name in 1825 from the Dutch botanist Blume. The common name, the moth orchid, reflects the Greek etymology behind the scientific nam…

Winter Carnival Orchid Show

Escape to the Tropics January 24 & 25, 2009
During the Saint Paul Winter Carnival, winter and all it's glory, snow, ice and frigid temperatures, are celebrated. One event stands out and gives attendees a way to escape to the tropics without even getting on a plane, the Winter Carnival Orchid Show at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory January 24 and 25.

Hundreds of orchid plants owned by individual and commercial orchid growers transform the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory into a tropical wonderland where instead of King Boreas, orchids rule. Besides witnessing the beautiful plants and displays, vendors will be offering plants and other wares.
The Orchid Society of Minnesota and the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory work together to exhibit the largest display of privately owned orchids in the region. The Winter Carnival Orchid Show is an American Orchid Society (AOS) judged event. Orchid judges from throughout the Midwest travel to Saint Paul to bestow awards and points.

2009 All-America Selections Winners

David C. Zlesak, University of Minnesota Extension Educator
All-America Selections (AAS) serves as the oldest (first award winning varieties were designated in 1933), most established, impartial international testing organization in North America. Breeders from around the world enter their best flower and vegetable seed varieties with the hope that their entries would prove themselves to be superior performers across the 46 trial gardens in the United States and Canada and earn this prestigious award. Performance of test varieties are compared with the best commercially available varieties of their class. In addition to the trial gardens, there are display gardens which feature recent and next year’s AAS winners. All together there are 176 AAS display gardens. The five AAS display gardens located in Minnesota are listed at the end of this article. Seeds and transplants of new AAS winners are widely available from leading garden centers and seed catalogs.

Photo 1: Viola ‘R…

Minnesota Green Expo 2009 at the Minneapolis Convention Center January 7-9, 2009

Photo 1: The Minnesota Green Expo will have hundreds of vendors representing a wide diversity of products. David Zlesak
The Minnesota Green Expo is one of the largest Horticulture Expos in the nation. It is geared towards all sectors of the Horticulture/Green industry (arborists, florists, nurseries, greenhouses, landscapers, turf specialists, groundskeepers, etc.). It is a wonderful opportunity to learn through educational seminars, networking, and seeing new products at the huge tradeshow where regional, national, and international vendors are represented. Many nurseries have forced into growth and flower their new and recent cultivar releases and landscapers have beautiful displays demonstrating their products and skills.
The Minnesota Green Expo is hosted jointly by the Minnesota Turf and Grounds Foundation and the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association. Although geared towards conveying information and highlighting products for industry professionals, it is a great …

Tree Care Advisor Core Course 2009

Mark your calendars for the 2009 Tree Care Advisor Core Course in St. Paul, Minnesota! Training includes education on several topics including: tree identification, plant selection, basic physiology and morphology, soils, site analysis, firewood identification, diagnosis of disease and insect problems, pruning, planting and more. These trainings are geared towards individuals who may not know much about trees but do know they want to learn.

The Minnesota Tree Care Advisor program has been training tree stewards (TCAs) for communities since 1993 and since that time TCAs have contributed over 50,000 volunteer hours to Minnesota communities.
Who should attend?
Green industry professionals, Master Gardeners and those folks who have the desire to learn about trees and take that learned information and share it with others in their community.
When are the trainings?

March 14, 8:30- 3:30
March 21, 8:30-3:30
March 28, 8:30-3:30
April 4, 8:30-3:30
April 18, 8:30-3:30

Where are the trainings ta…

Initiation of the Northern EarthKind™ Rose Trials

David C. Zlesak, University of Minnesota Extension Educator

In the spring of 2007 the Northern EarthKind™ Rose Trials began. There are literally dozens of old and new roses touted as being superior low-maintenance landscape performers for our region, but many do not routinely live up to these claims. As we read the advertisements, it is hard for us as consumers to find landscape roses at the garden centers not being described as hardy and disease resistant. The goal of this effort is to identify the most consistently beautiful, low-care, pest tolerant roses for our region through putting them through multi-year, multi-site trials under a typical landscape environment.

In the spring of 2007 the Northern EarthKind™ Rose Trials began. There are literally dozens of old and new roses touted as being superior low-maintenance landscape performers for our region, but many do not routinely live up to these claims. As we read the advertisements, it is hard for us as consumers to fi…