Hopping into spring…again

Explore a local wetland or attend a Wonderful Wetlands workshop in Hugo, Oakdale or Lake Elmo The snow is melting again, which means that spring is just around the corner…again. Last weekend, I bundled up to walk the dog through 9-inches of fresh, fallen snow and paused with surprise when I encountered warm-ish air and…

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Let your hair down and leave the garden beds unmade

You know that voice in your head that’s always nagging and never satisfied? It’s the one reminding you to make your bed because, God forbid, the burglars find a mess of blankets and sheets when they break into your house in the middle of the day. The voice reminds you to put on a jacket…

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Jump into spring with a Planting for Clean Water or Wetlands workshop

Workshops to be held in Wyoming, Hugo, Oakdale, Lake Elmo, and Cottage Grove After buying a home on Bone Lake a few years ago, Tom Furey downloaded the Score Your Shore tool from the Minnesota DNR website and set to work to learn more about his new property. From conversations with the Comfort Lake –…

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Calling all Watershed Champions

Comfort Lake – Forest Lake Watershed District debuts award program & schedules workshops for the spring Seeking award nominations Do you know someone in the community who has gone out of their way to protect local lakes and waterways? Perhaps it is the neighbor who transformed their yard with native plants and raingardens to reduce…

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Designing with nature, braiding science with beauty

I was asked, “So, why do you want to study botany?” And I answered, “Because goldenrod and asters are so beautiful together, and I want to know why. I want to know why these stand together. Why do they grow together and look so beautiful when they could grow apart?” “That’s not science,” he said.…

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Listening for the trees

They say that trees can speak to each other in a language we humans are too busy to hear and too self-absorbed to understand. Peter Wohlleben, a German forester who wrote the now famous book, The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate, has learned that trees in a forest actually live…

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So long sweet summer! Prepping lawns and gardens for the winter

By now, you’ve probably picked the last of the tomatoes, peppers and eggplants growing in your vegetable gardens. The predicted frost never quite made it to my house last weekend, but I know it’s only a matter of time before the winter temps will settle in for good. As you begin to prepare your lawn…

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Living the buckthorn and bittersweet life

Sometimes ignorance is bliss. I have a faint (ever-so-faint) recollection of the carefree joy I used to feel while hiking in the woods. “Aren’t these woods pretty?” I would think. “Look at all those pretty wildflowers along the roadside. Isn’t life grand?” My bliss was permanently disrupted, though, when I took my first ecology class…

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When the sprinklers are running but the grass is still dry

Have you ever wondered why some parts of your lawn remain stubbornly dry even on days when the sprinklers have run? You might be surprised to learn that water pressure is often to blame. According to Lindsay Brown, most cities serve homes with water at a pressure of about 60 psi (pounds per square inch).…

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Putting Down Roots in the Prairie

The roots of the leadplant chart a course toward the center of the earth. Thirsty and longing for stability, they branch, spread and burrow further and further into the soil. Encountering a rock or a flat pan of clay, they will pause, turn, and then continue their travels laterally. In sandy soils, where rainwater is…

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