Traditional Buttermilk Scones  

4 cups flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1 � tablespoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

10 tablespoons chilled butter

1 3/4 cups buttermilk


� cup chocolate chips

� cup dried cherries


In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda, then cut butter in using a pastry blender. Add chocolate chips and dried cherries if you use them. Make a well, pour in buttermilk; mix quickly but gently until mixture is a shaggy ball. Don't over-mix. 


Turn out onto floured board and fold over edges five times to form a loose ball. Flatten into a round; cut into 8 wedges with a pizza cutter. Bake 400 for 15-20 min. 




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Branching Out with Faith Appelquist



Questions, suggestions or comments are welcome.

Contact Faith at (612) 618-5244 or by email 


Shrub Pruning Schedule


Prune in March

If a plant blooms in the summer and fall, it blooms on new wood (current year's wood). Prune in the early spring; its best to prune before the plant leafs out. It is important that you do this, as you only get abundant flowers and fruit on the new wood. If you don't prune, the plant loses its interior foliage and looks woody.

Here is a list of shrubs to prune in March: 

  • Barberry
  • Dogwood
  • Euonymus
  • Hydrangea, All Varieties
  • Ninebark
  • Roses, Shrub
  • Smokebush
  • Spirea
  • Viburnum
  • Willow

Prune in June

If a plant blooms in the spring (February through June), it blooms on old wood. It sets up its buds the previous year. Prune right after blooming; you have a window of 4-6 weeks to prune the plant before the new buds are set. A good rule of thumb is to have pruning done by the 4th of July.

Here is a list of shrubs to prune in June:

  • Chokeberry
  • Forsythias
  • Lilac
  • Rhododendron
  • Weigela

Dogwoods can be pruned right to the ground.

Wait until rhododendrons are done blooming to prune.

For more information on pruning shrubs.
Oak Wilt

Like the American elm in the 1950s and ash trees today, Minnesota's oak trees are facing potentially significant die-offs due to an exotic and largely invisible killer: oak wilt.

This deadly fungus can kill previously healthy trees within a matter of weeks. Oak wilt is spread by sap-feeding beetles - also known as "picnic beetles" - that introduce the disease to freshly wounded trees. The fungus then quickly moves through the underground root systems that connect entire stands of oak trees, rapidly increasing the impact of one infected tree. Considering the highly contagious nature of oak wilt and the fact that root systems of large oak trees can spread 60 feet or more, all red oaks found within this area may become infected.

Oak wilt kills by interfering with the vessels that transport water throughout the tree. The fungus plugs up those vessels and is fatal. Trees with oak wilt commonly begin dying from the top down, since the top is farthest from the roots and is the first part of the tree to suffer from lack of water. Oaks shedding their leaves in June or July instead of during the late fall can indicate an oak wilt infection. There are at least a dozen copycat disorders that mimic oak wilt symptoms, so it is best to have a laboratory confirm findings and not rely on the visual appearance of the tree alone.

Any wound or pruning cut made during the high risk time (April 1 through July 15) is like ringing the dinner bell for the beetles. They have been known to find a freshly wounded tree in as little as 15 minutes and possibly transmit the infection. Other culprits in the spread of oak wilt are spring storms which break twigs/branches, freshly cut stumps, and movement of firewood.

Trees in the red oak group - those that have pointy-lobed leaves, such as northern red oak, and pin oak- are most susceptible to the disease. White oaks - those with rounded lobes - are much less susceptible, though they occasionally are also infected.

If you would like to reduce the risk of losing entire stands of trees to oak wilt, increase diversity. If you want to plant oak trees, white oak is the best option.

Click here to check the current oak wilt risk status in Minnesota.

Scorched look of a red oak infected with oak wilt.

White oak leaves dropped during the summer show classic drought stress from oak wilt as the tree is unable to move water.


Thanks for reading. Happy Planting!    


Faith Appelquist

President & Founder


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