Northern Gardener’s publisher, Tom McKusick, visited Northfield and Faribault last week, as part of his efforts to stay in touch with nursery and garden center owners around the Midwest. I joined Tom for a tour of Leif Knecht’s nursery. Leif’s a life-long Northfielder, graduate of St. Olaf College and self-taught plantsman, and he really knows his trees. We talked at length about the new disease resistant elm varieties, several of which Leif carries in the nursery and grows in his tree-growing ranges around the area. One of the big advantages for home gardeners of purchasing trees from a local nursery is that you can buy trees that have been grown in your climate. If it’s a good sized tree–and if you can afford it, I say plant ’em big–you know it has survived several winters in your area.
Leif and his crew also maintain display gardens on the nursery site, which helps buyers see how perennials, shrubs and trees can work together to create a landscape. They have a good-sized collection of hostas, too. After the tour, Tom and I grabbed lunch at Hogan Bros. before he headed off to Faribault to visit Donahue’s.