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Showing posts from March, 2009

What's Up With That?!

Michelle Grabowski
Salt is a common sight in Minnesota this time of year. Unfortunately sodium chloride from deicing salt can be very toxic to garden plants when in high concentrations. Evergreen needles, tree buds, tree roots and turfgrass can all be damaged or killed by deicing salt splashing onto above ground plant parts or washing into the soil around plant roots. In addition when de icing salt washes into our lakes and rivers with spring snow melt, it reduces water quality and could harm aquatic wildlife.
What can a Minnesotan do?
Prevent future problems by reducing use of deicing salt

Shovel snow soon after snowfall to avoid compaction and ice formation.
Redirect downspouts so that water flows away from walkways.
Use the least amount of salt necessary to break up the ice. Then use a shovel to clear the sidewalk.
Reduce the amount of salt needed by mixing sand or gravel with a small amount of salt to provide traction on ice.
Use non sodium chloride deicing salts like CMA or other acetate…

In the Rhododendron Fairyland: The Fantasy of Alpines

The prominent 19th century English botanist, Francis Kingdon-Ward, wrote manuscripts in great detail profiling his lifelong collection of high-altitude ornamental plants. Throughout his lifetime, Kingdon-Ward scavenged the Namcha Barwa Mountain crevices and the Tsangpo River Gorge for these select alpine plants during his some 65 explorations through the southeast of Tibet. These rare plants became the gems of his world-famous collection and ultimately, became his lasting legacy. Perhaps, the modern gardener's intrigue for alpine plants can be traced back to Kingdon-Ward's evocative descriptions of these beautifully rare plants. In any case, the botanical world has developed a great fascination for these charming ornamentals. Our fascination is firmly rooted in the marvel of botanical life that is capable of inhabiting and thriving on the so-called "Rooftop of the World."

The alpine biome can be a place of great reward for those interested in ornamental plants. Alpine…