Don Kinzler / Forum News Service
Q: I just cut up the first lemon from my Fargo lemon tree, as shown in the photo, which also shows the tree from which it came. I wanted to try a new challenge by growing a lemon and lime tree, and each has produced one fruit so far. — Terinne Berg, Fargo. A: Thanks, Terinne, for honoring my request to share your story with others, when I saw your lemon photo posted on Facebook. Terinne writes, “I bought the lemon plant in 2018, and it’s grown from 12 inches to its current 30 inches. I’ve kept it outside during summer and bring it indoors in fall.
FARGO — How do you greet a new houseplant? Just say “aloe.” Weak joke aside, I’ve been curious why there’s a whole new wave of houseplant fever, especially with millennials. I grew up with houseplants, as Mom grew plants in every south-facing window of our Lisbon, N.D., home. And her mother had similar sunny windows filled with houseplants at their farm between Alice and Fingal, N.D. The plants weren’t exotic; mostly staples like geranium, coleus, ivy, snake plant and kinds that could be passed along by cuttings referred to as “slips.”
Q: I’ve been interested in the recent questions about jade plants. I’ve been raising these succulents for decades, but twice I’ve run into issues with a bug that spreads from plant to plant and is encased in tiny white fluffy balls with some webby growth between leaves. What causes the problem and will I need to completely replace the soil now that I’ve unpotted and thrown out the infected plant? — Susan Johnson, Fargo.
FARGO — There’s a reason I look forward to January every year. It’s when the new All-America Selections award-winning flowers and vegetables are announced, and it’s exciting. All-America Selections is the only national nonprofit in North America that tests new varieties of flowers and vegetables. AAS started in 1932 as a way for home gardeners to learn which of the many new varieties introduced each year actually are “new and improved,” and not just advertised as such.
Q: Can you help me identify this plant? It first grew in my garden where I had planted a mixed packet of flower seeds. The flowers are such a beautiful striking white, and I saved seeds that fall to replant the next year.
FARGO — What does the future hold for those who enjoy working with plants? For the past 20 years, Garden Media Group has issued predictions of upcoming trends in horticulture and home gardening. What’s in store for us this year, according to their 2020 Garden Trends Report?
Q: The attached photo of the silver maple in our front yard was taken Dec. 17. The tree is 23 years old and has yet to drop the majority of its leaves. It normally is late to shed the leaves, but this seems quite late. Any thoughts on this? — Debbie Froeber, Fargo. A: There’s actually a botanical term for this phenomenon: It’s called marcescence, which means the retention of dead plant parts that are normally shed. When dead leaves cling to a tree instead of falling, it’s marcescence (pronounced mar-SESS-ents). Good term for a game of trivia.
FARGO — Winter is a peaceful time around the yard and garden, as we take a break from weeding, watering and mowing. Unfortunately, rabbits and other livestock seem to think it’s harvest time, making winter snacks of our trees and shrubs. You’ve got to give rabbits and deer credit. What other creatures could get away with so much plant destruction while being considered cute and picturesque? If they slithered and hissed while consuming our vegetation, there might be increased incentive to reduce the population.
Q: A year ago in fall I rescued an ailing angel wing begonia that did itself proud by growing to be a huge ball of blossoms this summer. I'm wondering how to go about taking slips, as I’d like to share it with others. I’ve nipped off all the blossoms. Should I cut it way back for the winter months? Your interesting columns take away the dismal doldrums. We need sunshine! — Diane Hurner, Moorhead. A: I love angel wing begonias, and they make a nice houseplant. Thanks for asking about their care.
FARGO — Well friends, another growing season is in the past, and we’ll soon be turning the calendar page to another year. Speaking of calendars, did you hear about the guy who stole a calendar from the department store? He got 12 months. If you relish your yard, flower gardens and landscape, there’s a way to enjoy their natural beauty year-round, and for nearly six months of the year we needn’t lift a finger to weed, water or work. How can we have this magical yard? By embracing a new trend in landscaping.