How do we get more butterflies…plant host plants that the adults like to lay eggs on…and the baby caterpillar larvae like to eat!           The Red Admiral caterpillar larvae like the plants we consider weeds…plants of the nettle family…we are most familiar with stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) and maybe hops (Humulus). […]

Add to Insects…those butterflies that eat our garden food and flowers…like the Cabbage Butterfly.  It ranges over most of the United States and the green caterpillar larvae feed on cabbages, mustard, other wild plants.  Sometimes you will see a flock of a dozen or two adults in seach of a row of cabbages.   The […]

Host Plants for Butterflies…I should clarify…those are the plants that the adult butterfly lays her eggs on so that the larvae (baby caterpillars) have food to eat when they hatch from the egg. As the caterpillar grows, it sheds its skin 3 or 4 times and then builds a chrysalis which is the final stage […]

Weeds

Jan. 19, 2015 No Comments Posted under: Gardening Tips

Weeds…what are those. Smile. Even those great Europeon gardens that have full time gardeners have weeds…we can get ride of them with a few simple tactics. In a garden with few weeds the beds and borders are maintained with a little and often approach. Another way to stay on the right side of the weeds […]

Weeding…Yep, that’s a part of what I do.  I like to pull the weeds while they are little and not taking up the moisture and nutrients from  the plants.  Weeds are notorious for showing up when I’ve just turned my back…how is that, I ask.  Must be that they know when I’m looking the other […]

Birds in Winter

Feb. 20, 2013 No Comments Posted under: Birds, Gardening Tips

The race is on!  Do you have your supplies ready for the big snow storm? The weatherperson is sometimes right on…what do you think this time? Interesting, walking in the garden today with Sugar Bear…some of the unfenced shrubs have split from the last snow…lots of pruning when the snow melts off this spring.  The […]

So…what about no snow in MN? We gardeners think we need lots of snow for spring plants to prosper…however, the run-off from the snow is actually more of a flood danger rather than helping with the moisture level. The ground is frozen and will accept very little of the water as it runs along its path. What gardeners will be praying for is an early spring rain…Now is the time to go out and do some of that winter pruning of trees and shrubs. You can see where the limbs are crossed and where the branches are too close together…trees needs to have some space for the air to whistle through and that also helps the undergrowth. The health of your trees depends upon you. It is easier to care for trees than to take an old one down and wait for the time for it to grow up into a healthy addition to your landscape.

House Plants

Feb. 26, 2012 No Comments Posted under: Gardening Tips, House Plants

House Plants in winter…it’s that time when they start looking a little ragged. As the light source changes; consider different lighting options. Maybe the temperature now is very drying for the plants. Are your house plants dusty…clean them by a light wiping with soap and water…and check the undersides for bugs. Because of the heat they may be drying out too fast…keep them watered, but not tooooooooo much. Good Luck from Gentle Gardens.

Turtlehead is the common name…and it’s a host plant for butterflies. Beautiful plant as a backdrop for shorter plants all season long. And when it blooms…it’s an eye catcher. Plant one or several, you’ll be glad you did. Gentle Gardens has several in different areas.

Well, in my little corner of the world…MN…Richfield…we are now considered Zone 5…however, I’m not fooled! Mother Nature has a way of playing games with us. Yes, I have planted a few Zone 5 plants in the past and they have survived for a few years and then have perished in the winter’s harsh winds. I am going to continue to purchase Zone 3 and perhaps go as far as Zone 4 for my Gentle Garden clients…after all I don’t want them to be disappointed. The issue is time, especially for trees and shrubs. It takes several years for a tree to be a real asset to the landscaping…imagine waiting for it to be the specimen tree you were always looking for and then have to supersize it’s winter protection year after year. It’s hard work, wrapping and mulching and etc. So, my theory, plant Zone 5 perennials and stick to hardy Zone 3 for the trees and shrubs. Happy Gardening, Gentle Gardeners!