From Dennis and Jane and Lee Guertin | Guertin Family Realty | (952) 442-1300 |

Spring is finally on its way! Here are highlights of some plants and features you might want to use for your garden or patio this year.

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Dennis and Jane and Lee Guertin
(952) 451-4989 Dennis
(952) 451-5217 Jane

Spring Flower and Garden Tips

Whether your planting space is a country garden or a condo balcony, there are many ways to bring greenery into your life (and they often provide benefits to wildlife at the same time). Here are a few good ones.

Scarlet Runner Beans
Move aside, green bean! It's surprising how many people are not familiar with the scarlet runner bean, a climbing vine that produces beautiful red flowers and large beans throughout the summer
The runner bean's vertical growing style makes it suitable even for small areas that can support a trellis, and the flowers attract bees and hummingbirds. The beans can become tough when too large, but picking them earlier keeps them tender and stimulates flower production.
Laurels for Privacy Barriers
Laurels are sometimes passed over in favor of trees like Pyramidalis when it comes to options for creating a privacy barrier, but they're actually an excellent solution for hedges and borders.
Laurels grow quickly - from one to two feet per year - and are evergreen in most climates. Portuguese Laurels are a great solution for USDA Hardiness Zones down to 6b, while the slightly slower-growing Mountain Laurel is hardy down to Zone 4.
(The leaves and fruit are toxic to many mammals, but the berries provide good forage for birds.)
Paniculate (Panicle) Hydrangeas
Many hydrangea varieties that are popular with humans are not so well-loved by pollinators. The exception? Panicle hydrangeas, sometimes known as PeeGee hydrangeas.
These shrubs fall into the "keep it simple" gardening category, reliably producing beautiful conical flowers and proving to be extremely cold-hardy - even down to Zone 3 (minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit). As a bonus, they're generally far more attractive to bees and butterflies than broad-leaf hydrangeas.
Here's a helpful overview of various paniculate hydrangea types, including photos and growing area information.
Colorful Food for Pollinators
We all know that bees and butterflies could use any help they can get these days, but trying to choose what types of pollinator-friendly flowers to plant can feel like taking a crash course in advanced horticulture!
Every gardening website has their own list of flowers, and plant hardiness levels are all over the board. An easier solution can be to simply buy a pre-assembled pollinator seed packet of hardy seeds.
Here are two examples of well-reviewed seed kits for sale on Amazon, one for hummingbirds and one for bees. (Many others are available.)
If you're more garden-savvy or ready to take on the details, here's a helpful article about the best plants for bees.
Summer-Blooming Bulbs
Spring is the time to plant bulbs that will bloom in the summer, such as Anemones, Calla Lilies, and Dahlias. It's best to wait until there's no longer a risk of frost.
The Garden Design website has a great explanation of how and when to plant bulbs depending on your USDA Hardiness Zone. Here's a colorful list of spring-planted bulb options, complete with photos.
Prune Carefully In the Spring
The general rule is to prune summer-flowering shrubs in the spring, and spring-flowering bulbs in the summer.
The pruning time for hydrangeas varies, seeing as not all varieties flower at the same time. Panicle hydrangeas typically bloom on the current season's growth and can therefore be pruned in the spring. Fruit trees should be pruned while dormant, which usually means no later than early spring.
Here's a good article explaining how and what to prune early in the year.
Steer Clear of Bee-Killing Chemicals
Try to choose plants that have not been treated with neonicotinoids, chemicals considered to be harmful to pollinators. Most stores have phased these out over the past few years, but it's still a good idea to check. Anything containing acetamiprid, clothianidin, dinotefuran, imidacloprid, nitenpyram, thiacloprid, or thiamethoxam qualifies as a neonicotinoid.
Small Gardens Are Important Too
It's easy to assume that a balcony or patio garden won't do much to support wildlife, but some bees have small home ranges and can live their entire life in a 10 by 20-foot enclave. For species like these, a small container garden of pollinator-friendly plants can be a life-sustaining haven.
Fun Project: Catering to the Feathered House Hunter
Birds face a tight real estate market every year, but nest boxes can help! Cornell University's Nest Watch program has a handy interactive tool that lets you find out what birds you can build nest boxes for in your area, and connects you to the right building plan. Click here to check your area using the "Right Bird, Right House" tool.
What the lawyers make us say: The information here is not presented as expert legal or financial advice. Please use your best judgment and consult professionals when necessary.
Recent Market Highlights

- U.S. home prices rose 10.4 percent year-to-year in December, according to a recent S&P/Case-Shiller report.  They rose 10 percent year-to-year in January, according to CoreLogic, a data and analytics company.

- The national average 30-year fixed mortgage rate is under 3 percent.

The January Pending Home Sales Index rose 13% percent year-to-year, according to the National Association of Realtors®.
View Our Featured Home Listings
 Links that Make Life Easier

Sometimes real estate-related, sometimes not... these are assorted links that come in handy:

Gardening for Bees in Small Spaces
Tips on how to maximize gardening space, even if all you have at your disposal is a vertical wall.

Clickup Project Management Tool
An easy-to-use online project management and collaboration tool that has a "forever free'" version.

Easy Shepherd's Pie
Just in time for Saint Patrick's Day, here's a hearty shepherd's pie recipe.

The Lighter Side

Screenshot courtesy of UselessFarmCanada.

Everyone has their calling, and for one woman that calling was to win over a jaded and hostile rescued emu at her animal sanctuary. It's not your classic "love wins over all" story, but it is worth a watch. :)
Click here or on the image above to see how it plays out on the Dodo's family-friendly Facebook page. (You do not need a Facebook account to watch the video.)
Your Resource for Real Estate
Are you thinking of buying or selling a home in the next year, or could you use some remodeling advice? Even if you just need the name of a good service provider, please remember that we're always here to help you. We welcome the opportunity to serve you, your friends and associates with our expertise and recommendations.

Please give us a call today at (952) 442-1300 if we can be of assistance!
Have a great day,

Dennis and Jane and Lee Guertin
Broker/Owner, REALTOR®, SFR, CBR, e-PRO, GRI, BA
Guertin Family Realty
Dennis:  (952) 451-4989
Jane: (952) 451-5217

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