Paula's Patch: A Minnesota Garden

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

2013 Holiday Gift Guide December 3, 2013

Filed under: Birding,Gardening — Paula B @ 2:41 PM
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I know I’ve been kind of quiet this past summer. I was pretty busy working on other projects and lacked the time for regular posts.

Now that winter is upon us, I hope that your gardens are taking a nice rest for the season. Mine is neatly put to bed until next year. 😉

While the holiday season is upon us, I thought I’d share my holiday gift guide for this year, which includes some gift suggestions for the gardener or birder in your life. Check it out here: HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE 2013

One of the big projects I’m working on is getting my Italian food classes and small group tours launched for 2014. More on that later…

I am wishing you and yours the most blessed holiday season!



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


Peonies – A Favorite Perennial June 19, 2013

Filed under: Gardening,Midwest,Spring — Paula B @ 3:37 PM
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We had a really long winter, a rainy spring, and so far a very timid summer. An unusual gardening season to be sure!

We lost many tried and true perennials this year – they simply didn’t come up. 😦 Among the missing — Lamb’s Ear, Hollyhock (all of them!), Plume Poppy, Rose of Sharon, many of my Oriental Lilies, Geum, Canterbury Bells, Dianthus, Coreopsis, HIbiscus, and Lavendar. Whew – quite a few. Shall I hold out hope that they will come up next year?

Among the steadfast — the Peony. It’s one of my favorites with it’s pretty, round buds and large, fragrant blossoms. Even after it’s done blooming, its dark green leaves look nice throughout the season. They’ve been around forever – don’t you remember seeing them in your grandparent’s gardens? They come in many colors and grow from 2-4 feet. They can adapt to many ranges of soil types, but thrive best in well-drained soils.

peony_bud_image | peony_jun_2011_003 |

Peonies are hardy from USDA zone 2 to 8 and have few insect and disease problems. Where there are Peonies, there are ants. They are simply attracted to the sugary liquid that the flower buds secrete. They neither harm or hurt the plant.

What are the stalwarts in your garden?


Grow Native Plants May 27, 2013

Filed under: Birding,Gardening,Midwest,Spring — Paula B @ 12:00 PM
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Thoughts from the National Wildlife Federation’s blog for growing native plants to help our backyard birds.

baby mourning doves | paula bonelli |


Garden for Wildlife Month May 23, 2013

May is Garden for Wildlife Month. Create a garden that attracts wildlife and get certified by NWF (National Wildlife Federation).  My garden is certified and this year I certified as an advanced wildlife habitat for creating a bird-friendly habitat. Fun!


You can get certified too. It’s easy.


Tips for Photographing Birds from NWF May 22, 2013

Filed under: Birding,Midwest,Spring — Paula B @ 12:00 PM
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Get tips from photographer Christine Haines, member of NWF’s Flickr group for photographing your favorite birds.

source: National Wildlife Federation,

source: National Wildlife Federation,

Bird photography tips:


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