Paula's Patch: A Minnesota Garden

Come wander in; my gate is always open! Gardening / Birding

Lots of Veggies August 7, 2014

We have been harvesting several things in recent weeks from our yard pots — cherry tomatoes, flat leaf parsley, sage, and soon basil (it’s a little slow growing in our shaded yard!).  We also belong to a CSA farm and have lots of colorful items in our boxes each week — summer squash, zucchini, cucumbers, potatoes, beets, tomatoes, peppers, snap peas, and lots of greens.

I never tire of using these fresh veggies in all kinds of dishes that are perfect lunches or al fresco suppers.

Go to Paula’s Garden Patch News to check out what American Meadows has been harvesting in their gardens. Yum!

What have you been harvesting and enjoying this time of year?



Lurie Public Gardens July 25, 2013

We recently spent a few days in Chicago to see the city and sights. We visited Millenium Park which is 5 acres of park grounds in the city. It’s absolutely beautiful and the Lurie Public Gardens sits at the south end of the park near the Loop. The gardens make up 2-1/2 acres of the park in the way of planted areas.

There are 2 main areas – one shade garden and one sun garden and features guided boardwalks and canals. It’s named for Ann Lurie who gave an endowment in the amount of $10 million dollars for the maintenance and upkeep!

This is a public garden with no plant markers and no annuals — the garden consists of all perennials; 60% native to Illinois. The garden, along with so many other things in Chicago, is a must-see if you are there. 😉

Where are your favorite public gardens?


Minnesota Hardy July 11, 2013

I was just telling my husband recently that I wished our shrub rose was ever-blooming or at least bloomed more than once during the season. It’s loaded with pretty smallish pink blossoms. It’s a heritage plant that I rescued from my neighbor’s yard when he passed many years ago. I hold it dear and think of him each year when it blooms.

shrub rose | | paula bonelli

© PaulasGardenPatch

I’m scanning gardening publications the other day and I come across an online publication that is produced by the University of Minnesota called Minnesota Hardy.  The U of M has developed just such a shrub rose, well actually 3. These three hardy shrub roses produce constant bloom throughout the summer, need little winter preparation, and are aptly named Sven, Ole, and Lena! LOL  They are hardy in Zones 3 and 4.

The other plant I love for diversity in the garden is an ornamental grass. There are very few hardy for cold climates and even fewer that tolerate shade. Well, don’t you know, The U of M has also produced a hardy grass called Blue Heaven™ (also called Little Bluestem) which landscapers and home gardeners alike have readily embraced. It does require full sun, though.

The grassy leaves of Blue Heaven are bluish-green in color and the foliage turns a gorgeous orange in the fall. It features beautiful spikes of light green flowers rising above the foliage in late summer. The indian red seed heads are displayed from early fall right through to late winter and the brick red stems add winter interest.

For the U of M, breeding such plants goes far beyond producing a hardy plant. The process also involves evaluating disease resistance, color, taste, growth habit, and uses. The results number well over 400 proven hardy varieties! Minnesota’s drive to discover has formed the foundation for over a two-billion-dollar horticultural industry, spanning the borders from Roseau, MN grass seed growers south to Lanesboro, MN vineyards.

What is your favorite Zone-hardy shrub or plant?

Source: Univ of MN publication Minnesota Hardy


A Relaxing Labor Day Weekend September 6, 2012

Our Labor Day weekend was uneventful (on purpose) and very relaxing. I enjoyed time in the yard watching the birds and taking in the peace and quiet.

dove juvenile | | paula bonelli

juvenile dove that joined me during my rest in the yard

dahlia | | paula bonelli

pretty yellow dahlia

We’ve had the pleasure of hosting several garden parties this year. While spending time with family and friends, we realized how much people enjoy our backyard garden. Like us, they find it beautiful and peaceful.

I also got to work preserving my bi-weekly crop share. I picked a 5-gallon bucket full of basil! Yum. I shared some, made basil pesto and dried the rest for winter use. Basil is an absolute staple in my Italian kitchen. 🙂

basil pick | | paula bonelli

basil pick from CSA

What are you enjoying in your September garden? It’s such a beautiful time of year — still time to enjoy summer in the garden with warm days, cool nights, and low humidity. My perfect weather!

Garden Tips and Reminders for Zone (4b):

  • Fertilize grass in early September.
  • Enjoy your vegetable and herb garden harvest; can , freeze or dry any surplus for the winter months.
  • Divide perennial flowers such as peonies, daylilies and tall garden phlox.
  • Apply water soluble fertilizer to your containers to keep plants abundant.
  • Want to add trees or shrubs to your landscape? Fall is a great time to plant them.
  • These trees (which are susceptible to disease if pruned in the Spring) may be pruned now — maples, birch, black walnut, oaks, honey locust and mountain ash.
  • Go apple picking!

Yellow Warbler and Red-Eyed Vireo August 20, 2012

I’ll be the first to admit that when it comes to gardening, I’m a novice. I spend time in my backyard puttering around with plants, flowers, bird feeders, and bird food because I have an interest; I’m certainly no expert! I happen upon things that work mostly by accident.

Many years ago I put 2 dogwood shrubs in my side yard garden hoping that they would provide a bit of natural privacy along the fence line between my yard and my neighbors. Little did I know that they would provide shelter and food for many birds. Both dogwoods have grown taller than my 6-foot fence and are loaded with lots of white berries. Nearly every species of bird in our backyard likes them and they attract visits during migration from Cedar Waxwings, Yellow Warblers and Red-eyed Vireos.

Right now, we are enjoying an early annual visit from a pair of Yellow Warblers and a Red-eyed Vireo who are at a near-constant stage of feeding off the berries. At this rate, there may not be any left for the Cedar Waxwings – they better hurry. 🙂 | paula bonelli

yellow warbler | copyright

red-eyed_vireo_photo_copyright_schmoker_dot_org | | paula bonelli

red-eyed vireo | photo copyright bill schmoker |

Another benefit of placing these 2 shrubs in my side yard is that they are right outside my kitchen window. I spend a lot of time in my kitchen and I get an up-close view of their antics. I also have several feeders in this area making this one of my favorite spots to birdwatch year-round.

All this enjoyment from adding shrubs that I thought would provide only beauty and maybe some privacy. That’s how things usually go in my yard, by happen-stance, how about yours?


Flowers Still Blooming a Few Weeks Ahead of Schedule August 6, 2012

Our blooms are still a bit ahead of schedule. I thought maybe things would catch up or level out as the summer’s progressed especially since we’ve been relatively dry.

I have these early bloomers making a show in my yard right now.

“Pretty in Pink” mini glads | paula bonelli

pink & white mini gladiolus © Paula Bonelli

Rose of Sharon | paula bonelli

rose of sharon © Paula Bonelli

Even my resurrection lilies are up?! | paula bonelli

resurrection lily buds © Paula Bonelli

Is anything blooming ahead of schedule in your yard? Or what is your favorite flower blooming right now?

My new bed is doing really well for the first year. The Bee Balm, Coneflower, Gladiolus, and Liatris all have at least 1 blossom on the still small plants. I feel like a successful gardener when I stick something in the dirt and it grows! 🙂

My potted herbs are doing well and I’ve enjoyed the first fruits of my Cherry Tomato – yum! | paula bonelli

cherry tomato © Paula Bonelli

Nothing is of great abundance in my small city garden; just small bits of things I love. I’m enjoying it all, including an abundance of fresh vegetables and raspberries in my bi-weekly crop share .

What are you loving in your garden?


Rain, Glorious Rain! July 24, 2012

Filed under: Gardening,Midwest,Summer — Paula B @ 1:11 PM
Tags: , , , , , ,

Well we finally had a substantial rainfall overnight (Lynn of Composer in the Garden) to give my lawn and garden a much-needed drink.

rain | | paula bonelli

needed rain | | paula bonelli

I can hear the garden breathing a sigh of relief along with me. I pretty much let my garden be what it will be each year according to what Mother Nature dishes out. But even I couldn’t let my drooping plants go without water. We’ve had hot days with no rain for weeks, if not months. So I have been trying to give the worst looking plants and my containers a bit of a drink 1 or 2 times a day depending on the daytime temp.

Despite the dry weather and heat, I think flowers are still blooming a few weeks ahead of schedule.

My mini Gladiolus are blooming a beautiful red.

mini gladiolus | | paula bonelli

and my Gerbera Daisy is on round 3 of blooms.

gerbera daisy | | paula bonelli

My Day lilies and succulents absolutely love the heat. I’ve pretty much ignored them as far as water, but they don’t seem to have minded.

daylily | | paula bonelli

succulents | | paula bonelli

succulent pot | | paula bonelli

What blooms are thriving in your weather?

Even the birds are singing a lot today, as if to say “thank you”. 🙂


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