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February 2010 Garden Calendar

Contributors: Karen Jeannette, Research Fellow and Yard and Garden News Editor;  Michelle Grabowski, Extension Educator;  excerpts from the 2010 Minnesota Gardening Calendar, and Arboretum News Feb/Mar issue.

Plant tips

Seed & Plant Selection


Photo:Seed catalog cover from 1913. A mini-exhibit of seed catalog covers can be seen in walkway from the restaurant to the Snyder building at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Anderson Horticultural Library. Pre-copyright.

  • Read seed catalogs and favorite gardening magazines for new ideas.  Good planning now allows you to avoid some impulse purchases later.  Look for flower and vegetable cultivars with superior disease-resistance, but check that they'll mature in our relatively short growing season.  Seek out perennials rated hardy enough for Minnesota: USDA 3 in the north, zone 4 in the southern two-thirds of the state, and possibly zone 5 for well-sheltered parts of the Twin Cities. (Zone 5 plants are always more risky). -- This is a 2010 Minnesota Gardening Calendar Tip.

  • Visit the The Anderson Library, located at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, to view the new 2010 seed catalogs arriving daily.   The catalogs now number more than 1, 000!  For those that can't make it to the library in person, the Anderson Library also hosts seed catalog information available at Plant Information Online (  Want to learn more? There are several ways you can learn more about using Plant Information Online? See the video @ ttp:// or attend a class. Plant Information Online Classes will be held: Feb. 9 & 23, Mar 9 & 23; 10:30 - 11 a.m. or arrange a time to stop in.  Call the Library for help at 952-443-1405.

Pruning Advice

  • Have shade trees and fruit trees professionally pruned this month or next.  It's easier to see a tree's structure when no leaves are present, and the fresh cuts won't pose a disease or insect problem to oaks, elms, apples, or other trees when pruned in winter.  Some trees, such as maples, birch, honeylocust are likely to drip lots of sap from wound sites in spring, but they should be fine as long as no more than 25% of their canopy was pruned out.  This is definitely not a do-it-yourself project, though.   For more information on hiring professionals to prune shade trees, see: Knowing When to Hire an Arborist -- This is a 2010 Minnesota Gardening Calendar Tip.

Valentines Flowers

    • Keep Valentines Days flowers attractive as long as possible by setting them in a cool location when you're not around to enjoy them.  Put them in a spotlessly clean vase filled with barely warm water and floral preservative.  Add more water and preservative solution as the level drops, replacing it as soon as it appears cloudy.  Trim off any foliage that would sit below water, as it rots easily, and make a fresh cut at the base of each stem whenever you change the water. -- This is a 2010 Minnesota Gardening Calendar Tip.


  • The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum will present "The Great Hall of Orchids--Passport to Paradise," Feb. 12 through March 14. A preview event is scheduled for Feb. 11. The exhibit will feature a variety of orchids--including many unique species and hybrids--all grown by renowned orchid expert Jerry Fischer and his Orchids Limited greenhouse of Plymouth. The orchids will be displayed in the Great Hall of the Oswald Visitor Center. Free with arboretum gate admission.
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