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

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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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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LATE SPRING BLOOMERS for MN: Perennials

Max Frei cranesbill  Geranium sanguineum ‘Max Frei’ Height: 8 inches Spread: 12 inches Flower Color and Season: Fuchsia late spring to early summer Foliage: dark green. Red in fall

Tiarella spring symphony Spring Symphony Tiarella Slightly fragranced, pink flowers Height: 6″ Spread: 8-10″ Dark green foliage, mounded shape with flowers that bloom in May-July. Shade-loving plant that is great as a groundcover or as a border/edger

Blue star amsonia  Amsonia tabernaemontana Height: 24 inches Spread: 36 inches Flower Color and Season: Blue late spring to early summer Foliage: light green. Yellow in fall

Gold Dicentra Bleeding Heart! Aren’t these flowers sweet?! These perennial shrubs generally grown 24-30” x 18-30”, depending on the variety, and bloom in the spring-early summer. This is a low-maintenance, partial sun or shade shrub that is considered a cottage garden classic! FUN FACT: Depending on where you’re from, this shrub known as either a Bleeding Heart or Lady in the Bath! Lady in the Bath?! Yes!! Because if you turn the flowers upside down, that’s just what they look like

Peony – These flowers are just breathtaking! Blooming in late spring to early summer, peonies have 6 flower types, 4 colors, and varying fragrance levels, so there is sure to be a variety that would work in your landscape! Peonies prefer a sunny spot with well-drained soil but are a perfect choice for a Minnesota garden because the cold winters are the perfect chill needed for bud formation. FUN FACT: In Greek mythology, Paeon, a student of the god of medicine and healing, was saved by Zeus from his mentor’s jealous wrath by being turned into a flower, the Peony!

[]Columbine  The resilient columbine grows best in full sun or light shade, with moist, fertile soil. The flower has a deep history in many cultures, and for many centuries, Christians believed that the columbine represented seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, including: wisdom, intellect, reverence or piety, strength, advise, knowledge and fear of God. FUN FACT: The root of the name columbine, columba, is Latin and means dove. But the columbine’s true Latin name is Aquilegia which translates to mean eagle. It was so named because the spurs of this flower reminded some observers of the the talons of an eagle. How neat is that? That’s pretty neat!

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Planting Harsh Sites- BLACK WALNUT TOXICITY

Living with Black Walnut Trees

When dealing with mature trees many times we just think about the shade factor and if the tree has dense or dappled areas under it. Also root competition comes to mind as well as dry ground from rain being caught in the canopy before it can get to the soil. But some trees emit substances that can negatively affect near by plants and Black Walnut is one of the most notorious for harming it’s neighbors.

As a popular choice for shade canopy, Black Walnut is also grown for its lumber production and dye properties in its ‘fruits’. The concern lies in the production of Juglone which is in the roots, leaves, nut husks and even carried by water dripping of its leaves during rain. Areas effected by a tree go well beyond the canopy through the root structure and may effect nearby roots as far as ½” away.

The only real solution to black walnut toxicity is to install tolerant plants. Fortunately there a few plants that show little or no effect in relation to Juglone toxins. Many symptoms are a mimic of diseases or physiological disorders so look up before diagnosing a plant. Even cutting the tree won’t solve the problem since the roots still contain the chemical.

Plants to steer clear of are: Nightshade (tomatoes, peppers etc), yews, Pines, Azalea, Potentilla, Hydrangeas and lilacs. Some resistant to Juglone include: Cherry, Crabapple, maples, dogwoods, carrots, onions, snap beans, arbor vitae and daylilies. Checkout the Morton Arboretum  for a comprehensive list of plants.

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Planting Harsh Sites- SALT TOLERANT

When designing street scapes, Boulevard plantings or landscapes that border driveways and sidewalks a consideration factor is snow/ice and the control method that will be used. Many of these areas will receive a dose of de-icing salts in the northern climates. Salt damage can show up through aerial spray or build up in the soil over time through direct contact or runoff.

Other then careful plant selection there are a few ways to control salt effects in the landscape including little to no use of de-icing salts, spread salt after shoveling, is salt with sand, alter drainage patterns and use temporary barriers to protect plants.

Some of the best plants with resistant characteristics include: Serviceberries, Honeylocust, white oaks, Japanese tree lilacs, Junipers, forsythias, hydrangeas and sumacs. Colorful perennials like daylilies, beebalms, sedums and Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grass will add allseason interest to your mailbox planting. Be more careful with: maples, river birch, crabapples, arborvitae, boxwoods and viburnums.

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Evaluate your Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is the first impression of a house. When done right the view from the street or driveway can put forth a positive and intriguing vibe. Research current landscape trends and hardy plant material or call in a landscape professional for a consultation to put together a plan that fits your time and budget to maximize the desired view from the street or driveway.

Beginning at the street the view includes the house itself but also the surrounding lawn, foundation plantings, trees or in some cases the lack there of. An appropriate balance of these landscape elements along with proper care to provide a neat and tidy look (but not blank and sparse) will provide that ideal first impression upon arrival. Often times a simple professional pruning and well placed plant addition can make all the difference.

Don’t let the overgrown shrubs bother you since they can easily be removed or cut down. Instead pay attention to problems like low spots or soil settling along foundations where water may be collecting and running into the foundation. Once you have evaluated problems start thinking about design!

Be sure to look at the front of your house from different angles and entry points such as view from the street, turning into the driveway focal point, walking up the side walk, front door entry waiting zone and don’t forget exiting your front door view to the street!

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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Spring Perennial Maintenance

With warmer Temps and longer sunlight hours comes the spring cleaning duties. Roll up the sleeves, sharpen the pruner and head outside to tidy up your landscape and get those spring cleaning chores done.

ORNAMENTAL GRASSES

With the snow melted and gone and the soil temperature above freezing, now is a good time to cut down perennials left for winter interest. Ornamental grasses should be cut down to 3” or so before the new green growth starts to appear as it gets warmer. If your clumps have been planted for 3-5 years it may be time for division. A good sign of this need is a ‘balding’ center of plant. The best process to accomplish division is to first dig out the entire root area and divide into sections using a soil knife or sharp spade. Reinstall one of the divisions back in the original hole and plant the rest of the divisions in a new area or give away to friends!

HOSTAS AND DAYLILIES

Pull off or cut away any remaining leaves left on these plants. Division may be necessary for plants to remain healthy. While division can happen at almost anytime with these two spring is the best time.

CORAL BELLS AND OTHER ‘EVERGREEN’ TYPES

Be careful not to uncover these sensitive type plants too early and expose them to freezing Temps if winter decides to revisit few times. Carefully pull away any leftover leaves to tidy them up.

Cleanup all other sticks and stalks and lightly rake your garden areas if there is an abundance of leaves or other debris. Don’t worry about getting every last little thing to allow natural composting to happen .

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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FAUX NATURAL STONE – GET THE LOOK WITHOUT THE PRICE TAG

Some of the following pictures are from the Rochester Concrete Products website and feature Rosetta Stone.

The natural look of beautiful stone walls, columns, accents and patios appeals to a lot of us. There is something about a carefully designed landscape that looks like a scene we might happen upon in the mountains or a walk in the woods. The wild grace of an undisturbed native environment, especially one that has a time weathered stone, invokes something beautiful in our minds. While a careful plan from a Creator has formed these natural environments with no effort,  we humans try to replicate them in our little domains through much effort to make it look unplanned and natural.

TRADITIONAL NATURAL PRODUCTS

 There is a myriad of products available fashioned from available stones and cut into all shapes and sizes. We can make walls, patios, walkways, columns and more. But along with the natural look comes the ‘natural’ shape, thickness and all the variabilities. Time consuming labor hours  with the price tag of stone cost and delivery quickly drive up the project budget. Experience and a craftsman eye are key to a successful and beautiful end product.

A NEW GENERATION OF ‘STONE’

The landscape industry is consistently expanding and working on new technologies to improve aesthetics, functionality and installation ease. While many products that try to replicate natural stone look fake and patterned there are some available that strive and meet the desired effect.  One of the most notable manufactures is Rosetta Stone. They have carefully selected stone to build their forms and patterns around then use high quality concrete with a through color mix to replicate our favorite looks. They have a great firepit kit that beautifully replicates the random cut stone look. Also available are column kits, wall stone and outcropping stone looks.

STRONG LOOKS UNDERFOOT

Samsung Techwin

Popular choices for ground surface include stamped concrete that can be formed, patterned and textured to replicate natural stone in color and feel. As with plain concrete, stamped concrete is subject to cracking in freeze thaw cycles. Other products include concrete pavers in cut or random sizes and may have a tumbled process to give a weathered look. These types of products are more consistent in top surface being level which provides an advantage to the inconsistent nature of flagstone especially with the use of furniture.

EXPLORE FOR YOUR 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

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