Spring is here, which means it is time to spruce up your outdoor space! Minnesota Grown members and nursery centers have plenty of options to help you create beautiful container gardens, hanging baskets, windowsill herb gardens, and community gardens. Whatever your space or interests, purchasing bedding plants from a local Minnesota Grown producer ensures your plants are suited for Minnesota’s unique weather conditions.
Since starting a garden can be tricky, visit a local Minnesota Grown producer of bedding plants, annuals, perennials seedlings, nursery stock, or other garden plants. They’ll be happy to give you tips. Minnesota Grown member Bachman’s Floral, Home & Garden has many locations throughout the Twin Cities. Click here to watch their informational video with great tips for designing a brand new garden. Bachman’s also has a How-To video for growing container gardens if you prefer something smaller.
The Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association (MNLA) has given us the inside scoop on annuals, which are flowers used in the garden or landscape for one growing season only. Typically, annuals are planted in the spring and bloom for most of the summer. They are then killed by the first hard frost. Many people use annuals in hanging baskets and planter boxes, mixed with perennial plants and shrubs. To ensure a healthy annual, plant after the danger of frost has passed. Most annuals like warm soil, but three exceptions that can be planted earlier in the season are Alyssum, Snapdragons, and Pansies. Make sure your soil is loose, healthy, and well drained before planting your annual. Mulch can assist in keeping down weeds and retaining moisture and temperature after planting. Water your annuals thoroughly after planting, and ensure regular watering for hanging baskets and containers.
The MNLA also shared some pointers for perennial plants. Unlike annuals, perennials bloom during the growing season, go dormant in the fall, and then come up again each spring. There are literally hundreds of varieties of perennials to choose from with an almost infinite variety of blooming times, color, and texture. By using an assortment of perennials, you can have variety throughout the growing season. Since perennials will occupy their spot in the garden for several years, good soil preparation is important. A well-drained soil with high organic matter is ideal for these plants. Additionally, mulching can help keep the soil cool and moist and reduce weeds. In the winter, a four to six inch layer of leaves, marsh hay, or straw will provide protection for shallow rooted perennials. If you would like your perennials to stop spreading, the MNLA recommends using rock mulch.
Contact your local Minnesota Grown garden center to help answer your questions. Thank you to Bachman’s and Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association for sharing your gardening tips!