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Mary Jane Breitling

Breitling is a longtime West Fargo resident and avid gardener.

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Certain plants add special appreciation to winter landscape

The winter landscape has subtle beauty that we can all enjoy. I have observed this year that the flowering crabapple trees are especially laden with their red fruits.

Wreaths appropriate decor for any seasonal event

My husband and I celebrated Thanksgiving in Northern California with three of our children and our granddaughter. As we left for home on December 1, the deciduous trees were just past their colorful fall prime. The maple tree across from my son’s home was still a brilliant red.


Fall garden cleanup necessary task

The leaves of brown (red, yellow and even green) have tumbled down and raking them is a major fall job. Most years we have many pleasant days to accomplish this, but not this year.

Ireland trip a dream come true

My husband and I recently visited Ireland, a trip that has always been a dream of mine. Ireland claims to be the land of saints and scholars and there are certainly enough churches to support the saint part. We toured an ancient monastic community and some castles, but the gardens and floral displays are what always attract my eye.

April gardening tips as they pertain to the timely plants

The Easter lily is a beautiful indoor plant, but don’t throw it away after it quits blooming. Remove the faded blooms and fertilize with a dilute solution. Place the lily in a brightly lit, out of the way spot and keep it watered. In mid-May, after the last hard frost date, plant it in a sunny protected area of your garden. Set the plant a little deeper than it was in the pot, so that the bulbs end up being 3 to 5 inches deep. It may not bloom the first summer, but should have many lovely blooms in subsequent seasons.


A lovely courtyard garden graces Faith Lutheran

I recently visited with Pastor Schmidt from Faith Lutheran Church regarding their lovely courtyard garden. When the educational unit was built in 1960, a courtyard formed between the old church and the new section. Pastor Schmidt and church members wondered what to do with this space. A few years ago, they received a generous donation from a member and the congregation decided to use this fund for a garden.


The joy of sedums in autumn

Autumn Joy sedum is just now beginning to show its color. Previously it looked somewhat like a large clump of broccoli. Its strong 24-inch stems are topped with flower heads up to 6 inches that change color as they mature. They gradually change from green to pale pink, to rose and then to rusty red. Even after frost, the attractive brown heads can be left until spring to add a spot of winter color.


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Saving geranims and other plants through the winter

In the cool, moist fall days annual geraniums (Pelargoniums) seem to be more beautiful than they were all summer. Some are so nice that we would like to bring them inside and attempt to save them over winter.

Growing grapes and winemaking in West Fargo

I will soon be off to the California wine country to see my children, but I first visited my friends who grow grapes and make wine right here in West Fargo.

Designing a garden to meet pets needs

It seems like many gardeners are also pet lovers, but is it possible to have a nice garden with a pet in residence? If they aren’t racing around trampling the flowers, they are busy digging holes and chewing things.


Growing great tomatoes matter of pride

Growing a juicy healthful tomato is a thing of pride and each gardener has their favorite varieties and growing method. Tomatoes are low in calories, and rich in Potassium and Vitamin A.


A cooperative vegetable garden enjoyed by many

I don’t usually think of vegetable gardens as particularly attractive, but I found one in West Fargo that certainly is. It is found at the Cooperative Living Center and is tended by retired Pastor Reuben Jacobson.


International Peace Garden unique state visitation site

If you are thinking of taking a short trip before school starts, I highly recommend the International Peace Garden near Dunseith. I recently toured the gardens with my garden club and thoroughly enjoyed it.


Hydrangeas blooming

As you drive around town this time of year, you may notice large shrubs with white blossoms as big as soccer balls. They are hydrangeas, more specifically Hydrangea arboresens, or ‘Annabelle.’ Although there are several new and old hydrangeas to choose from, this native North American variety is one of the easiest to grow and the most reliable. It doesn’t need a specific pH to adjust its color and it is very hardy.

Rabbits, slugs bigger than life gardening problems

The rascally rabbits are driving me to distraction. It is bad enough that they regard my gardens as their own private buffet restaurant. On top of that, they love to dart out from shrubbery when I am in the area and give me a scare. They come in all sizes, large momma’s and poppa’s, juniors, and little baby bunnies. The neighborhood has several sheds that provide them with cool basement apartments.


Hardy geraniums, colorful and charming garden addition

Hardy geraniums are some of my favorite summer flowers. Their colors range from white to purple, with the majority in shades of pink or blue. The blossoms are cup-shaped with five petals on stem tips or in leaf axils. The newer varieties have larger flowers than the old standbys even if they cannot compete with their flashier distant cousin, the annual geranium (Pelargonium). However, they have so much charm and so many uses.

Perfect time to enjoy local garden shows

July is the peak month for flower gardens in North Dakota and we should get out and enjoy the show. The opening act of spring bulbs and flowering trees is over and the early summer iris and peonies are nearing the end of their performance. However, lilies and daylilies star in the next act, plus a host of other perennials and annual flowers are filling in everywhere.