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After the Storm - What To Do Next

Here comes the rain againHow's everybody doing today? Anybody see any talking lions, scarecrows, tin men or flying monkeys?

Last night we got some wicked hail here in the Twin Cities - in Eagan, we got over 1" of rain and after the hail stopped, most of the ground was completely white. This morning, I still had a pile of hail on the deck that hadn't melted, yet. Today, it was time to clean up.

Check for impending danger!

If you have trees or overhead power lines near your property, make sure you start by looking up. There may still be branches that haven't fallen completely and could land on you, a family member or a neighbor. Or, a tree trunk may be split and it will only be a matter of time before it topples over. Clear the area of any potential danger before proceeding with any other clean up effort.

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Today is Mother's Day! Let the planting begin!

Easter lilies sprouting in EaganToday I noticed our lilies are starting to sprout. These are lilies we received (yes, even florists and gardeners get plants and flower arrangements as gifts) and then planted around our yard.

Trivia question: When do Easter lilies bloom?

Well, that's a bit of a trick question! Normally, lilies will bloom in mid-summer. The lily plants you see blooming at Easter have been forced to bloom at that time by exposing them to 1,000 hours (42 days) of moist cold temperatures and then warming them up to 60 - 70 F, causing them to sprout and then bloom. Once they sprout, it is about 40 - 45 days before they bloom, at least in our yard here in Eagan MN (between USDA hardiness zones 4 and 5)

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Blue is the New Green

BlueThumb.orgRecently, I attended a seminar on planting for clean water presented by the Dakota County Soil and Water Conservation District (Dakota County SWCD), Blue Thumb and the city of Eagan. Living in the Land of 10,000 Lakes and truly enjoying sitting on our deck looking out over a man-made pond each summer, we have a vested interest in how we plan and care for water management in our yards.

Just counting those with a surface area of an acre or more, there are about 200 natural lakes and wetlands in Eagan, and almost all are part of a stormwater drainage system. Adding in the man-made waterbodies, there are over 1,200. The stormwater management area shared with my neighbors "across the pond' is much smaller than that, but it supports quite a bit of wildlife. From the time the ice is out (nice and early this year) until it freezes over again in December, we watch for the returning ducks and mergansers to hatch new generations of their families, listen for the frogs to start their springtime serenades (a couple just started last night), and we smile when the turtles wake up and start sunning themselves on the big rock again.

You may not have a waterbody on your property like we do, but chances are, you enjoy time at a lake or on a river - Minnesota has the highest percentage of people vacationing in the state where they live. You've also got a roof over your heads, rain gutters and downspouts to divert water away from your foundation, a driveway, sidewalks and probably a little bit of lawn. Everyone of those contributes to runoff and adds to the stormwater management system. If we don't do a better job of restoring some of the native plantings that used to handle rainfall, more of our waterbodies will be turning green instead of blue.

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March Madness - Gardening in Minnesota

View from our deck in EaganTypically, Minnesotans are not doing much yardwork during March, except for clearing snow off the driveways and sidewalks. Statistically speaking, March is not the snowiest month in Minnesota, but somehow we've awarded it that title. (Actually, January tops the chart for the highest average snowfall, but not by much). March is when we start to see the outdoors start to wake up, little by little - a few more minutes of sunlight every day, trees are sending out new growth and birds are starting to be more active, too.

Before we head outside for a much needed revival, there are a few things you can do to brighten up your house and home.

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5 Myths About Watering and Irrigation

Water dropAfter a rather wet spring, we've had record high temperatures, coupled with an extended dry spell. To be honest, I do have an irrigation system in my yard, but it was installed before we moved in and I constantly struggle with the placement of the sprinklers, the grouping of the sprinklers and the overall installation. Be that as it may, this is about some of the misconceptions about watering and how to best care for your landscape

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