Prairie Yard & Garden: American Hodgepodge

(soft piano music) – [Announcer] Prairie Yard
& Garden is a production of the University of Minnesota Morris, in cooperation with
Pioneer Public Television. Funding for Prairie Yard &
Garden is provided in part by Heartland Motor Company, providing service for over 30 years in the heart of truck country. Heartland Motor Company, we have your best interest at heart. Farmers Mutual Telephone Company and Federated Telephone Cooperative, proud to be powering Acira. Mark and Margaret Yackel-Juleen, in honor of Shalom Hill Farm, a non-profit rural
education retreat center in a beautiful prairie setting near Wyndham in Southwestern Minnesota. – People often ask me
where we get the ideas for Prairie Yard & Garden shows. Well, sometimes, people will call, email, and even write with suggestions. Last year, I got a letter
suggesting we visit a beautiful yard near Pelican Rapids. I called the homeowner, who said, yes, we could come and see her
American hodgepodge garden. Let’s go explore and see
what she means by that. (bright music) The dictionary defines hodgepodge as a mixture of different
things, or a confused mixture. Today, we are visiting with
Marilyn and Donovan Folden near Pelican Rapids, Minnesota,
who have a mixture of plants that is definitely not
confused, but instead, creates a showplace. Welcome, Marilyn. – Thank you. – How long have you lived
in this beautiful spot? – We have been here five years. – [Mary] When you arrived, were
there a lot of flowers here? I mean, when you moved here, were there are lot of flowers in place? – [Marilyn] No, we built
the house, and from there, we built the flowerbeds. – [Mary] So then, how did you
get started planting flowers? Where did you start? – [Marilyn] I started over
by the birch tree there, with that little corner, and from there, I put it all around where
I thought I wanted flowers. So that’s how it started, and then, the other two flowerbeds came from that. – So it just kind of grew from there. When you lay out the hoses,
do you spray paint along them, or do you just leave ’em
there, and then what happens? Does Donovan take over
from there, or what? – [Marilyn] Well, he does
do the clearing of the sod, and then we refine it as we go along, so that it’s the shape that we want. – [Mary] How did you learn
how to place the plants? I mean, did you read, or
tell me how you came up with the beautiful
combinations you put together. – [Marilyn] Well, I do a lot
of looking through magazines, all the garden magazines I
can get a hold of. (laughs) As far as the lay of the
land is kinda how I made the flowerbeds, but the
placement is sometimes, just, whenever there’s a spot, I
have to put a plant in there. – [Mary] Do you use edging at
all, or have you used edging to keep the grass out of the garden? – We did have edging, but
this last year, we took it out because the grass would
just grow underneath it or over the top. So we just took it out
and then we used an edger to make a real fine line,
and kinda been keeping it that way since. – [Mary] Do you mulch your plants at all to help keep the weeds down? – [Marilyn] No, I haven’t. I put flies in there
from the moor, the grass, and that’s supposed to
be good for your soil. – [Mary] So then, you do a lot of weeding by hand then, obviously. Do you have, like, an
irrigation system here too? – [Marilyn] Yes, we do. We put them in before
we did the flowerbeds so we wouldn’t be covering a
sprinkler head up with dirt. – [Mary] When you do the plant placement, do you try to pick plants
that will bloom in the spring and in the summer and in the fall too? – [Marilyn] Yes, definitely. I like to have something
going at all times. – I noticed that you used
some unusual plants too, you know, ones that I wouldn’t
normally see in a flowerbed. I think I saw some vegetables. – [Marilyn] Yes, I do
plant onions in my one bed, and spinach, and Swiss chard this year. Of course, I have some herbs
up by the front of the house. – [Mary] And when we walked in out by the front of the house, I saw that you actually
have a shade area too. – [Marilyn] Yes, very small area, but there’s some nice hostas that kind of grew very large this year. – [Mary] Well, we had
more moisture this spring, so that probably got ’em going. And then, in that shade area, I noticed that there were
some real pretty stones, kind of almost like a little
pathway of stones in there. Was that for looks, or is there a reason that those were there? – [Marilyn] Probably both, but mostly for the gutter’s right there, so the water just comes straight down, and so, that helps for erosion. – [Mary] Okay, so it
helps to keep the soil from washing away, but it
looks really pretty too. That was a good idea to do that. – [Marilyn] Well, I kind of
picked that up in Arizona, when they do their dry
gulches, they call ’em. – [Mary] Marilyn, do you
fertilize, and if you do, how often, and what do you use? – [Marilyn] I use a slow release fertilizer in the spring,
but that’s about it, as far as fertilizer,
and then an organic stop that we use on the grass and the flowers. It helps deter the deer. – [Mary] Then do you deadhead? – [Marilyn] Yes, I certainly do. – What is that, ’cause some
of our viewers might not know what that means, so what does that mean? – Well, I pick off the spent
bloom so that more will come, and sometimes, when they’re
totally done blooming, I cut it back, and it will re-bloom. – And then, do you have any
trouble with deer or rabbits? – Well, the deer, we have planted clover down in the middle there so that they will go down there to eat instead of come up here
and munch on the plants, and there’s a salt block
down there, which helps too. And then, up and over on the
other part of the property, we also have clover there, so
that they change their route, ’cause in the wintertime,
they go hither and yon, so we have to change them when
we come back in the spring. – So you kinda give ’em
a buffet some place else. – [Marilyn] Yeah. – [Mary] I thought it was very interesting that I saw you have a tall verbena. Did you say that that
helps with the deer too? – [Marilyn] It does in the
springtime when the tulips come up, if I have those planted
where the tulips have been. They don’t like that scratchy
stems from the verbena, so they leave it alone. – [Mary] Do you leave those
stems there over the winter and into the spring then? And then, do you wait to cut them down? – Well, pretty much
till they’re quite high, and then I pull ’em out, and
then I use the liquid fence if the deer are still bothersome. – Some of our viewers may not be familiar with the tall verbena, or
verbena bonariensis it’s called. Is that a perennial or does
that tend to recede itself? – [Marilyn] It tends to
recede itself very well. – [Mary] Okay. (laughs) – I pull more of those out than anything, but I do like them in the flower garden ’cause they do add that height. – And they’re also a very,
very good pollinator plant too, is that correct?
– Butterflies love ’em. – Uh-huh, there you go. Well, and I noticed that
what all visitors do you have to this beautiful setting here? I’m sure that you get butterflies. – [Marilyn] Yes, we do,
we get a lot of bees and butterflies, birds, of course. Well, I don’t know if the
birds enjoy the flowers, but I do have birdhouses
up and bird feeders, so I enjoy watching the birds. – And that’s what I was noticing, that you do seem to have
birdhouses and other structures. What are some of the
structures that you have that you have incorporated
into your flowerbed? – [Marilyn] Well, I have
a couple of arbors there that I plant the clematis
and the hyacinth bean, which I really like a lot. They grow real tall and
have that purple pod and purple flower. And then, also, my iron structures here that I put together with gears
and such from the junk yard. And in the one, I put
the sand in there to, whenever it would sprinkle, of course, we get water in there too, so the birds and the
butterflies like that. – [Mary] What a great idea,
and then you’ve used that for a base for your gazing
globe, I see, mm-hmm. And then I saw that
there was kind of, like, it looked like a birdbath too. Is that still a birdbath? – [Marilyn] No, I use that like a planter because that doesn’t hold water anymore, so I’ve seen that in magazines. I kind of gleaned that off
magazines, but it’s fun to do. – What a great idea. So it must have gotten a crack in it, instead of throwing it out,
you just repurposed it then. – Yes. – And it looks very, very nice. And then, it looks like
you have a rock garden down at the end too. – [Marilyn] Yes, I had mostly rocks, but there’s a few plants in
there that are low-growing, so I can see over the
top, and see the garden on the other side. – Marilyn, what are some
of your favorite plants? Maybe one or two for each of the seasons. – In the spring, I like the
daffodils and the tulips, and then comes the iris,
usually, and the peonies. Summer is the phlox and the lilies, and then also, in the
fall, I like the Rudbeckias and the Echinaceas. – [Mary] Do you have many native plants? – [Marilyn] I do have
some cupplant and Joe-pye, and ironweed and butterfly
weed, and leadplant. – [Mary] And all of those
that you listed, I’m sure, the butterflies love to
come and visit those too. – [Marilyn] Especially the
Joe-pye one, that’s going. They really enjoy that. – [Mary] Where do you get
a lot of your plants from? – I usually make the rounds
with the local nurseries in the spring, so I get a lot of things from there. I do order some things from,
like the bulbs, from catalog. – [Mary] Do you get some from friends too? Do you divide and exchange
with other people? – [Marilyn] Yes, well, I do that too, especially with my one friend, Belle. And I have a few plants from
my mother that I still have. – [Mary] And I’ll bet you
every time you work with them or see them, you think of her too. – [Marilyn] That’s true. – Do you collect seed at all and then take and sprinkle ’em out where you want them of some of the variety? – Yes, I do that too. (laughing) I got a combination of
everything, I guess, but I try to, with the flower heads, just where I want them in the fall. And then, in the spring,
I kind of go through them to separate them out a little bit, ’cause they do come kind of crowded when they first show up. – Sometimes, you have to be
out there thinning ’em too, and to get ’em so that they can grow. Do you cut some of the
flowers and bring ’em inside and use ’em, or do you use ’em for church or for events, or anything too? – [Marilyn] Well, last
year, I grew dahlias for Donovan’s granddaughter’s
wedding, for their reception. They went over very well. I do bring in some, but
I have enough outside, so I don’t really bring them in too often. – [Mary] When you started your
flowerbeds and everything, was the soil here quite good? – [Marilyn] No, it was mostly sand. And so, we did bring
in a lot of black dirt, and we also did a lot of
composting that we make. – [Mary] And who does that? – [Marilyn] Donovan. – [Mary] Oh, do you think
he’d be willing to show us how he does that? – [Marilyn] I think he would. – [Mary] All right! (bright music) Donovan, I hear that you’re the person in charge of the compost,
so can you please tell us how you do it? – Yeah, well, I’m so proud
to be that part of Marilyn, because the rest is all her thing. Well, I start out, with compost, with other kind of organic
material I can get. Leaves, I would prefer leaves, but there are no leaves around now, and grass, and a little manure, and I put it in a pile. And then I add it to
whatever I had from before. This has been here for a year, and this has just been
here for this summer, so I will incorporate that as I can. – [Mary] Do you have
soil that you haul in? – There are some times when
I have some black dirt, but there’s very little black dirt. This is leaves. I pick up leaves from all over that have been there all summer long, and then I get their leaves. I get a trailer, I pick up their leaves, leaves and grass, at one time, were like this. And so, then I keep rolling
it in with my bucket tractor until I get something
like that pile over there, which is more complete, and that’s from all year long, that’s been that way. – Okay, so how old is
that pile over there? – That’s a year old. – Okay, and what kind
of manure do you use? Does it matter which kind? – It does to me because
if you use turkey manure, it’s very, very potent, but
it damages your equipment. But I use just cow manure. I like there’s a little straw mixed in it. That’s what I like to use,
and that’s how I do it. Just start out with a big
pile of leaves in the fall. It’s usually in the fall. I did that last fall, from last fall. That’s how long that takes, because it has to generate
enough heat to break down the organic stuff. – I bet the neighbors like to see you come after you collect their leaves, huh? – Well, I do, they do. I do collect the neighbor’s leaves and grass from all summer,
and then I mix that, and then it sits all winter, and then I separate it
again in the spring, and there should be some left, and something that Marilyn could use too. You know, I have different sections. This thick, she can’t use,
but she could use, probably, that last pile there if she wanted to. She sometimes says,
“Well, I would like some,” so I take my bucket and bring it over, and she puts it where she wants it. – [Mary] How do you know when it’s ready? – I could tell by looking at it. There’s still a few lumps in
there that shouldn’t be there. That’s some manure from before. That takes a while to mix in. – [Mary] Get all broke down and stuff. – [Donovan] Right. – [Mary] And then, how
often do you turn this, or how often– – I would like to do it
every two months, or so, and then rearrange the whole thing, and then I can tell how
much of this is left in it. Then I know that’s gonna
take a year for that, unless I could get some
turkey manure next to it. That would burn it up, but
I don’t like to use that, it’s too strong. – Then, do you guys clip in
the spring or in the fall, and do you add the clippings,
like the plant tops and everything, do you put
that into this compost pile? – Yeah, I started gettin’ with
a new fresh line of compost. If this was finished product, then I would still do the
same thing and keep adding. Sometimes, it’ll go on
to that end and that, and I keep mixing it that way. – Okay, and how do you mix it? Do you mix it by hand ’cause– – No, I have a bucket tractor, I have a 2550 sub-compact little tractor. I scoop it up and dump it on, and then roll it like you would in the kitchen, or somethin’. – And so, I suppose, then,
when you use the manure, that provides the fertility
to help the bacteria break it all down then. – That and green grass. If I had green grass, I have a thing that picks up green grass. And right now, I don’t
have much to show you, as far as just how I do it, but I would love to have
a lot of green grass and some manure in this pile, and then I’d start working
it around this way. Actually, I take from there and put here, and take from there,
and then as this grows, it moves into a more finished,
and when it’s finished, I put it over there. – [Mary] When you use grass like that, do you have to worry about any chemical, like weed control, on the grass clippings? – Well, I try to stay away
from any Roundup or dry mix, or any herbicides. – [Mary] Okay. – But I don’t know, I
don’t think that would. I just try and stay away from it. – You haven’t had any trouble
with that at all then? – Not that I know. Actually, as long as
Marilyn doesn’t complain and wants me to make more compost, and get more, I’m satisfied. (laughing) – Well, and I heard that
you use this compost, not just for the flowerbeds, but I think for the garden too, right? – Yeah, if there’s any left, then I will get some for
the vegetable garden. But usually, there’s some
left for the garden too. We have a nice garden there, and Marilyn has a part of that too. She’s there weeding and
hoeing when it needs that, and she’s there helping me design it, like she does her flowers, and what vegetables are there. She has a big part in
both the flower garden and the vegetable garden. My part in the flower garden is this. – Well, would it be possible to go see your vegetable garden too? – Oh, sure, I’d be happy to show you. – Let’s go see it. – Okay. (bright music) – I have a question. What are some good tips for pruning trees? – Certainly! There’s a few basic
things you have to know about pruning trees. One thing is making thinning cuts. Thinning cuts mean that you’re
cutting back to a branch at least 1/3 the size of
the branch you’re removing. The other thing is cutting out only about 1/3 of the live tissue in
any one growing season. That’s a maximum level, is 1/3. If you do less than that, that’s great. Cutting outside the branch collar, if you have a branch
collar, is really important. And if you don’t have a branch collar, I emphasize making the
smallest wound possible without leaving a stub. We don’t want stubs in trees. They don’t seal, the tree has to work hard to compartmentalize that wound much more, and it’s just much better,
aesthetically, for the tree to not have stubs in them. I have a five-step pruning
process that I go through, and that I really emphasize
with staff and volunteers here at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, and I have a little acronym
that goes along with it. It’s San struck Fran’s clear ball. Sanitation is number
one, structural pruning, framing, clearance, and balance. Sanitation is the
removal of dead material, crossing branches, rubbing
branches, et cetera. Structural pruning is
the removal of branches with very narrow branch angles. Early on in the growth of that tree, especially a large shade tree. Framing is just like if
you’re framing up a house, or think of frames on a ladder. You have the branches spaced out, and you want the branches spaced out both vertically, as well as radially around the trunk of the tree. Generally speaking, we’re talking about a central leader tree here. Clearance work is pretty obvious, either for vehicular
traffic, pedestrian traffic, mowing, whatever the consideration. Clearance work is essential
and part of the pruning. And then balance is the issue
of texture in the plant. So, using the 1/3 rule of
cutting back to something at least a 1/3 the size of
the branch you’re removing, making thinning cuts, and
only removing about 1/3, you can utilize a little
bit of that balancing to even out the texture and
density of the plant overall. One last thing is timing. You don’t want to be
pruning on trees or shrubs when they’re just leafing
up in the springtime, or when they’re going
into dormancy in the fall. Otherwise, without any disease
or insect considerations, you can go ahead and prune
for any of those five things, San struck Fran’s clear ball, during the middle of the summer, or it’s really best
during the dormant season. – [Announcer] Ask the Arboretum Experts has been brought to you by the
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chanhassen, dedicated
to enriching lives through the appreciation
and knowledge of plants. – [Mary] Donovan, your
compost obviously is working, ’cause I don’t know if I’ve
ever seen tomatoes this big. I’m a little over five feet, and they’re just about as tall as I am! – Well, they got a shot
of compost last fall. Most of the garden did, last fall. That’s why there isn’t much
to work with up there now, down there. – How do you keep them up off the ground? – Well, that’s Marilyn’s idea. She had a cage that
her father made for her that she carried along. And then we had extra fencing, so I have cut the fencing in the size, and I made these for her. And when they were just planted, we put the fencing around the tomatoes, and they grew out of it. – Well, and I noticed that
you’ve got a wonderful fence here around the garden, I suppose
to help keep critters out. Did you make this then? – We did, yes. I didn’t hire anybody to do it. The post, I got from up in Northern Minnesota. I have a bunch of, you know, some hunting land up there, and there’s a lot of scrub oak, and I cut the post up there
and put ’em in the ground. We have a little auger for the post, and then we rolled the fence,
put up the fence next to it. – What I really like,
you’ve got a personal entry right there, but you’ve
also got a bigger gate, so you can actually use
your tractor to come in too. – Correct, I had that on both ends, and now that that building is taking up part of the garden, I’m
still gonna have that, but it’s not usable right now. But I can come in and go
out through with the tractor and do the cultivating in the
early stages of the garden. – [Mary] And I noticed that
you don’t have much disease on your tomatoes either, and it looks like you’ve got a watering system. Did you build that? – [Donovan] No, I had
a company put that in. It works real good, for each
row has a soaker system. And I just turn on each
row that I want watered, and it does the job, but
that’s just this year that we’ve had that. – [Mary] And so then, in the fall, you’ll definitely have to
drain those soaker hoses, I would guess, so they
don’t freeze up, huh? – [Donovan] Correct, we blow it out, and then we just roll it
up and put it in the shed. – Well, that is just a
really, really great idea. And the nice thing about
it is you can water whatever needs it, and whatever
doesn’t, as you harvest, then you can just shut off that area. That is just wonderful. Donovan, I noticed that here
in your vegetable garden, you actually have some flowers too. – [Donovan] Yes, we do. We have Minerva and hollyhocks, and that is Marilyn’s ideas for having bees to pollinate and help pollinate the apples and the plums,
and whatever they pollinate. – [Mary] Yeah, I’m sure
that on the vining crops, the flowering crops, whatever,
they’ll be just wonderful. What a great idea! – Well, in fact, in her flower
garden, she’ll plant onions because she can plant
better onions than I do. She plants lettuce, and we just don’t know whether
it’s a flower or lettuce, but they’re in there. (bright music) – Marilyn, do you have any
trouble at all with insects or diseases here with your flowers? – Well, I do get some rust on
the phlox when it’s too damp, and then I have iris bore
problem that I’m working on correcting with a granular systemic. And also, aphids are
prevalent on the Rudbeckias. – Yeah, it seems like when
the farmers are harvesting, the aphids always get to
be a problem, don’t they? Do you have tours that people come to see your beautiful yard? – [Donovan] Yes, we do, mostly from, I’m sorry, Marilyn.
– It’s okay. – [Donovan] Mostly from people who belong to our garden club, they come and tour. – [Mary] And then, do you
have any plans for the future, or things that you want
to change or expand? – [Marilyn] There’s always
change in the garden. Something dies, you
gotta fill up that space with something new, or
maybe the same type of thing that you like, but there’s
always changes going on. – [Mary] If you describe your garden as an American hodgepodge, I think all of us could
try to aspire to this because it is so beautiful. Thank you so much for
letting us come and see it. – [Donovan] Well, thank you for having us. – [Announcer] Funding
for Prairie Yard & Garden is provided in part by
Heartland Motor Company, providing service for over 30 years in the heart of truck country. Heartland Motor Company, we have your best interest at heart. Farmers Mutual Telephone Company and Federated Telephone Cooperative are proud to be powering Acira. Mark and Margaret Yackel-Juleen, in honor of Shalom Hill Farm, a non-profit rural
education retreat center in a beautiful prairie setting near Wyndham in Southwestern Minnesota. (bright music)

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