Q: I purchased two dipladenia plants this spring. How well do they overwinter indoors? - Nicole Welsch, Fargo. A: Dipladenia, and its close relative mandevilla, can both be wintered successfully indoors and then returned outdoors next spring. We enjoy wintering several each year, and they aren't difficult if given full, direct, bright sunshine in front of a large, sunny window. Before bringing indoors, wash the plants with the garden hose to reduce tag-along insects. Plants can be pruned if they've grown large and repotted now or next spring.
FARGO — You'd think gardeners who are passionate about their lawns, flowerbeds and landscapes would be weeping hysterically at season's end. But there's an unspoken gardening truth that we quietly acknowledge. We relish the growing season with gusto, but we're secretly OK with it pausing for a while. The key word is pause, not end. We might be resting from weeding, mulching and mowing, but our minds are already planning to make next year's tomato crop the best ever, and we need the eye-popping perennial we saw on last summer's garden tour.
Q: Do you know what berry this is? Is it bird-friendly? It's growing in our shelter belt. - Nola Storm, Fargo A: From the photo it looks like it's the large tree-like shrub called common buckthorn, Rhamnus cathartica. Birds eat the berries and drop the seeds, so it often pops up where it wasn't intended. Although the berries are edible for birds, they give humans a stomach ache.
Editor's note: Part 1 of this two-part series published last week and is available online at Why" target="_blank">www.inforum.com/lifestyles/home-and-garden/4334804-planning-and-persistence-how-win-war-weeds. Why are weeds so weedy? Why don't hybrid tea roses or fresh strawberries overrun our yards and gardens the way weeds do?
Q: The leaves of our 4-year-old pagoda dogwood tree started curling in July, although it was well-watered during dry periods. The curling started on the south side and now the majority of the leaves look this way. Is it a disease or insect affecting it?—Lori Keller, Barney, N.D.
FARGO — Spending time in the yard and garden is uplifting, making gardening America's number one pastime. The recent National Gardening Survey says 74 percent of households participate in lawn and garden activities. Even without statistics to back me up, I'll bet 100 percent of those households would enjoy gardening even more, if it weren't for weeds. Can we win the war on weeds? Yes, but it takes persistence, gumption and a plan, beginning with action this fall and goal-setting for next spring. General guidelines for weed control
Q: The plant in the photo was growing in our garden. Can you identify it?—Mary Denis, Harwood, N.D. A: It must be a good year for nightshade, based on the number of people who found it popping up in gardens and flowerbeds. The plant in your photo is black nightshade. The nightshade family is a large group of plants that includes tomato, potato, pepper, eggplant plus some toxic nightshade species.
Brace yourself — we're about to debunk one of life's most revered proverbs. It's long been said that money can't buy happiness. That's not necessarily true because fall color makes us happy, and we can buy it. Garden centers sell happiness-inducing trees and shrubs that develop spectacular autumn colors for our home landscapes.
Q: I'm being attacked by yellowjacket wasps every time I step out my door. I've set out traps that work especially well but have not found a hive. The trap uses a homemade recipe containing six ounces of vinegar, two tablespoons sugar and one teaspoon salt. I've emptied the trap several times, but there seems to be an unending amount. I'm concerned that they're attacking our huge apple crop. - Laura, Glyndon, Minn.
Q: Can you identify the plant with the red berries in the photo? Royce Aardahl, Sauk Rapids, Minn. A: The plant goes by several common names including highbush cranberry, American cranberrybush and American cranberrybush viburnum. Its botanical name is Viburnum trilobum, now possibly updated to Viburnum opulus americanum. Although smaller landscape viburnums have been developed, the native highbush cranberry easily grows eight to ten feet high and wide.