September 10, 2009 at 8:10 a.m.
A forsythia, red-stemmed dogwood, or lilac in a small pot may be only a few feet tall when you buy it, but before you plant it under your picture window, consider that the shrub may be mature in a few years and too large for the spot you may have chosen.
Some small shrubs are special enough to be featured singly such as dwarf conifers but most small shrubs look best planted in multiples. When planted in groups, they can serve as a tall ground cover or create a smooth transition between low-growing turf areas and taller shrubs and trees.
Selecting appropriate shrubs for your yard and garden does require some research. For example, while most mock orange cultivars reach six feet or more the compact miniature Snowflake grows only about three feet tall. The size range in conifers can be even more dramatic. The Norway spruce can be up to 80 feet tall, but many dwarf varieties have been developed. The bird's nest spruce is only three feet tall while the Little Gem is smaller than one foot high.
Some shrubs may be quite tall but by rejuvenating them, you may be pleasantly surprised how much it improves their appearance. Potentillas are a great example. They are tough shrubs surviving poor soil and drought conditions. These early spring bloomers of yellow, white, orange, and pink can be cut all the way back to the ground, or selectively thinned of about one third of its stems each year.
A sign that fall is near are the classes the Chisago County Master Gardeners are offering. Four classes will be held at Peterson's Farm Home and Garden Store Wednesday nights from 6 p.m. - 7 p.m.
• Wednesday, September 16- the class will be on Harvesting and Storing Vegetables.
• Wednesday, September 23- the class will be on Dehydrating. Betsy Oman from North Branch will teach the class.
• Wednesday, September 30 -Master Gardener's Starr Carpenter and Tom Dickhudt will do Seed Harvesting.
• Wednesday, October 7-Master Gardener Donna Tatting will do a class on Putting Your Garden to Bed for Winter and "Looking Ahead to Next Season."
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