Gardening Trends 2021

Inside Outside-

               Blurring the lines of a home’s interior and exterior so that the flow and harmonize with each other is the highlight of this trend. Use rugs, large chairs and end tables to create outdoor living rooms. Think outdoor kitchens with sinks and counters in addition to the grill. Maybe even an outdoor shower…

Tiny Gardening-

               Even if you don’t have much space you can still have a garden. Trellises and planting walls help by using vertical space if horizontal square footage is limited. Vice Versa if you have a large amount of space breaking it down into rooms and smaller spaces can make it manageable and cozy. Use of pots and containers on hard surfaces if you don’t have a dirt space are also options.

Windowsill Gardening-

               In northern climates we can expand our growing season to herbs and other select edibles near sunny windows inside our homes. Be sure to check watering needs regularly and use an insecticidal spray if you spot pests.

Raised Beds-

               Ease of maintenance and control of soil health is a couple popular reasons for this trend. There is a myriad of options and materials available to fit your style and planting choices. Edible plants can be joined with flowers and herbs for a creative display.

Balcony (Deck) Gardening-

               Don’t have a yard? Don’t have time to spend in the yard? Want color and edibles right next to the house? Decks, patios and the like are a great place to have gardens. Dream up containers, pots and other unique ways to hold soil and plant away. Remember to keep it watered, especially when windy and hot. There is many options for irrigation systems or do it the old fashioned way with a watering can.

Cottage Gardening- 2021

               This old-fashion design has been around a long time and shows up in many Impressionistic period paintings. A somewhat disorganized appearance (due to many self seeding plants) can be too wild for many but also provides riots of color and a sense of freedom. Many times herbs and vegetables appear since the location of the garden might be near the back door and kitchen.

Permaculture Gardening- 2021

               Creating sustainable and resilient landscapes is the mantra of this trend. While many designs are meticulously laid out to use every possible drop of resource produced there are options in micro scale for the part time gardener. Plant guilds are any easy starting point.

White Gardens -2021

               Often called moon gardens this trend highlights a color (or lack of color!) that especially comes into its own at dusk. So many white flowering plants- hydrangeas, coneflowers, allyssum and cranesbills to name a few. Don’t forget the variegated foliage of dogwoods and hostas too.

Grey Gardens- 2021

               Think concrete, galvanized metal, gravel and patio pavers setting the tone for your garden space. While you will be hard pressed to find flowers in grey there is many foliage plants that fall into the grey spectrum.

Wild Gardens- 2021

               Grassy meadows, prairie wildflowers and savannahs come to mind with this trend. Be careful that wild doesn’t become messy and unruly. Matrix gardens are an organized version of ‘wild’ that gives a wonderful impressionistic approach to landscaping. Usually a higher percentage of grasses to flowers say 70/30 provides the best look.

Our expert team is available to help out with planning for the right look, installation instructions and tips or complete a project for your own outdoor space. Give us a call today to schedule your consultation 507-581-6886 or email amy@ateamlandscape.com

Maple Trees

Maple Trees- great for sap collection (MAPLE SYRUP!), summer shade and fall color.

Silver Maple – fast growing but soft wood and many seeds

Sugar Maple- soil sensitive but the best fall color

Red Maple- nice hardwood but slower growing

Norway Maple- great dense shade

There are many cross breeds available (think Autumn Blaze). Check with a landscape or tree professional to pick the right variety for your yard.

Maple Syrup time- early March

Supplies and tools

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Bright, Bold and Beautiful World- Puerto Rico

Visited in 2019

Old San Juan is an entire color box

Every building is painted a different color. I bet you could find every crayon color!

Sanse or Fiestas de La Calle San Sebastian in January 2019

The festival created a fun and relaxed atmosphere as we joined in the crowds for food, music and shopping.

Bright painted wood and black painted metal creates a striking combo
Outdoor dining is the norm in this climate!
Art display near the Presidential House

Who says art has to hang on a wall in a museum!

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RAIN GARDENS- Maintenance

As with the establishment of any garden, watering frequency and amount is vital to plant health. Most young, establishing plants need one inch of water per week after the initial establishment period of 4-6 weeks. Keep a rain gauge in your garden to measure rain events and determine supplemental watering if needed. In subsequent years you will only need to water in dry periods.

One of the other keys is keeping the planting weeded. Mulching and use of pre-emergent herbicide such as Preen greatly reduces the chance of weed establishment in the early days of the planting. Spring and fall are usually the most critical times to stay on top of this gardening chore. Work with a perennial professional if you need help identifying a plant vs weed.

Caring for the plants involves pruning, deadheading and pinching. These three activities keep your planting looking fresh and beautiful. When you perform these takes it also gives opportunity to examine plant health and if there are any insect or disease problems present. Always use a nontoxic and natural control to insure beneficial insects are not harmed. Again seek the advice of a gardening specialist if you are unsure about what to do! After a few years you may need to divide and remove plants to continue a healthy ecosystem that remains aesthetically pleasing. This task is best completed in the spring when plants are 4” high.

Lastly, do not forget to appreciate and enjoy the fruit of your labor- a beautiful, sustainable and important habitat for ecological health.

Call on us for your spring landscape maintenance needs. We can get you started on the right path for a beautiful landscape that will bring you joy all season. Visit www.ateamlandscape.com Email aTeam@vhiinc.com or CALL Amy 507-581-6886 to setup your groundskeeping consultation today.

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RAIN GARDENS- Design and Installation

DESIGN AND PLANT CHOICES

Sedge grasses are great for wet areas of the rain garden

Check with online resources or landscape professionals for guidance on size of garden needed as well as proper depth. They also can help you determine how the water will enter your garden through draintile surface run off or dry creek beds. Once you have those figured out and sketch a shape for your area the plant layout process can begin. Keep in mind light conditions of the garden throughout the day as well as bloom times so that the garden will have a long period of interest. Some people choose to go all native or pollinator plants, mixed shrubs and perennials or all grasses. There are many resource lists online to help narrow down plant choices. Most planting plans are divided into zones based on where the water will be the longest.

Popular Plant choices:

Grasses: Fox sedge, Blue Zinger sedge, Feather Reed Grass and Little Bluestem

Perennials: Blue Flag Iris, Coneflowers, Liatris and Lobelia

Shrubs: Red Twig Dogwood, Bush Honeysuckle and Spirea

INSTALLING YOUR CLEAN WATER PLANTING

Ok, now we’re ready to get out the shovels and do some digging! Draw out the outline of your planting space with spray paint or use a garden hose so you can move it around to get the shape just right. Also outline the area that will need to be the deepest part of your garden to hold the water. Decide if you are OK with herbicide to kill the grass and plan to do your spraying at least 3 days ahead of digging. If you would rather go a natural route strip the sod off and use elsewhere in yard or flip it over to create a small berm as designed in your new planting area. After surface material is removed continue to dig out the flat bottom bowl to the depth you need and size you’ve planned out.

Next bring in the compost material estimated to incorporate into the bottom of the bowl and use a garden fork to manually dig it in or employ a tiller for mechanical help. After the soil has all been raked out you are ready to place the plants using the design for proper placement. Or if you have a lot of small plants you may want to spread mulch first and then put in plants after to insure no plant gets buried in the mulching process.

Use root pruning techniques to prepare plants for proper root growth, dig your hole and plant! Mulch should be a good quality type that is fibrous and meshes well to get so as not to float and disturb the plants in a rain event. Plan for around 2” mulch depth.

As a final step thoroughly water each plant to settle it into the soil, removing air gaps and providing necessary moisture for needed root growth. Follow a landscape professional watering plan for ideal plant health and establishment.

Step back, take a look and enjoy your accomplishment. You are now benefitting the birds, bees, family, neighbors and most importantly the future of clean water.

3 month old planting

Our expert team is available to help out with planning for the right look, installation instructions and tips or complete a project for your own outdoor space. Give us a call today to schedule your consultation 507-581-6886 or email amy@ateamlandscape.com

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RAIN GARDENS- nature’s rain-water filtering system

Rain Gardens accomplish many landscape goals and have gained popularity throughout cities in the US over the last few years. These gardens embody sustainability, resourcefulness, environmental positivity and when done right beautiful artistic expressions.

To put it simply, properly designed rain gardens are a flat bottom bowl shape to collect water in rain events and drain into the soil within a 24 hour time period. Designers go through a process to determine amount of water that will be collected, type of soil garden will be in and complementary design creation. Plant choices are also specifically designed for the location within the gardens. The main idea is to incorporate rain water back into the ground water system and replenish our aquafers instead of directing water into a storm water system that carry debris and chemicals with it. This system elevates flooding because rain water is designed to stay on site and not be carried off to some other holding area.

A few things that rain gardens are not: ponds or wetlands that would hold just enough water to breed mosquitos, weedy wild planting beds or high maintenance plantings that stick out like a sore thumb. A properly planned, planted and maintained site will be beneficial to all both aesthetically and environmentally. Contact us to help you out with coaching, design, installation or maintenance of your Clean Water Landscaping. Call Amy Voight 507-581-6886 email aTeam@vhiinc.com and checkout our social media platforms to inspire your own journey!

Downspout rain garden
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Replacing a Timber wall with Concrete Block

A common problem among existing retaining walls is that they are often built from timbers or railroad ties and have a shorter life then their concrete counterparts. As the wood begins to decompose the wall may begin to bow, crumble apart and wash out. The wall in this project was beginning to show signs of all of these with the additional problem of never being fully finished under the deck.

Wall project before

Previous home owners tried to dress up the area under the deck by enclosing it but this only invited humidity to speed up the rot process. We would also discover the posts of the deck either were not directly on footings or had rotted away.

This area of the yard was not a high priority for plantings and since access to backyard was also available on the other side of the house we elected to do the simplest wall – one wall L shaped with an 8′ height. In the future the deck could be remodeled to have a wood steps in front of the wall to once again provide access but was not necessary now.

Versa Lok Square Foot Block

The access to the backyard and final wall height for this project was a consideration for block type chosen. Our loader machine would have access to the backyard (face of the wall) only through the neighbors yard and the steep slope where the wall is provided additional challenges in getting product where we needed it.

Once all the under deck wood was removed we could start excavating our trench for the 8″ layer of compacted crushed gravel as our base. Next the base block layer was placed, leveled individually and centers filled with gravel.

Because of the height of the wall it was engineered to determine soil stabilization grid lengths and locations. We built up in layers compacting as we went to be sure settling would be absolutely minimal. Draintile was installed at the face ground level with outlets for excess water to drain. Drainage is also facilitated by the 12″ wide back fill of 3/4″ rock directly at the back of the wall. This block system incorporated pins as part of the installation process to tie the layers together and increases the strength of the wall.

Wall in Process

Want help with your wall project?

Our expert team is available to help out with planning for the right look, installation instructions and tips or complete a project for your own outdoor space. Give us a call today to schedule your consultation 507-581-6886 or email amy@ateamlandscape.com

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Paver install- from start to finish

This project was originally installed as a patio behind the garage to fill the deep shade spot north of the Sun Porch. The owners decided a few years later that a sidewalk should be installed from the garage service door and brought all the way down the patio (thus enlarging it slightly). Since lawn wasn’t growing well from the shade and drainage from the downspout was a problem, the hardscape installation would be the perfect solution.

Once size was determined and staked out excavation began to create the 6” compacted crushed gravel and 1” sand base the pavers would rest on and would match the height of the existing patio.

Draintile was installed for the downspout with the outlet for the water in the adjoining planting bed.

Once the base was prepared the next step was to lay the pavers, apply joint sand and cleanup!

The original patio received a coat of paver sealer to help lock in the joint sand and freshen up the color.

Our expert team is available to help out with planning for the right look, installation instructions and tips or complete a project for your own outdoor space. Give us a call today to schedule your consultation 507-581-6886 or email amy@ateamlandscape.com

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LATE SPRING BLOOMERS for MN: Shrubs and Trees

As early spring bloomers begin to fade the prelude to summer begins with many fragrant flowering woody plants.

Photo courtesy of JFSchmidt- https://www.jfschmidt.com/royalraindrops/index.html

Royal raindrops crabapple – Disease resistant Height 20 ft. Spread 15 ft. Beautiful red-purple foliage, pink-red flowers, red sparkling fruit. Easy care, all-season color. Add a pop of color to your landscaping!

Greenspire Linden -Fragrant, creamy yellow flower Height: 40-50 ft. Spread: 30-35 ft. Symmetrical, pyramidal shape with a straight trunk. Bright yellow fall foliage; drought tolerant.

Japanese tree Lilac- Disease and pest resistant Height: 25-30 ft.  Spread: 20-25 ft. Fragrant, creamy white flower clusters bloom mid-June; brown fruit capsules follow. Textured, striped cherry tree-like bark adds interest in winter. Can be trained to be a multi-stemmed shrub-like tree, or a tall, single trunk tree.

Mandarin Lights Azalea- courtesy of U of MN research

Northern lights azalea grow from 3-7’ tall with flowers that bloom in spring, coming in a multitude of colors, so you would be sure to find one that would work in your landscape! These shrubs look especially lovely when planted alone or near conifers, but can work in just about any garden with partial to full sun and acidic soil! FUN FACT: Festivals celebrating the bloom of Azaleas are held around the world, including Japan, Korea, and the US

Prairie Petite Lilac

Lilac sp.  These white to deep purple flowers bloom in late spring and have perhaps one of the most easily recognizable fragrances to a Minnesota dweller. These shrubs grow best in full sun and can grow anywhere from 4-15’, depending on the variety! FUN FACT: Lilacs represent love! So, the next time you’re looking for something sweet for that special someone, skip the roses and try a Lilac bouquet!

Blizzard Mockorange – Abundant, fragrant blooms attract butterflies and birds Height: 4-5 ft.Spread: 3 ft. Very hardy shrub with deep green foliage and white blooms that last for 4 weeks in June. Orange-brown bark that exfoliates (similar to birch bark) as it ages. Tolerant to full sun.

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