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Your USDA Hardiness Zone

Featured Articles!

Deadly Rose Rosette Disease Moves Across the Country

Rose gardeners throughout the country need to be vigilant in watching for the symptoms of an increasingly common problem known as rose rosette disease.

>> read “Deadly Rose Rosette Disease Moves Across the Country”    
Caladiums
caladium bicolor

Learn about Caladiums in this plant profile video.

>> read “Caladiums”    
Downsizing the Garden

Gardening and downsizing: two words that are rarely, if ever, used in the same sentence. However, Shirley Gibson, has taken the transition from a large splendid home with formal cutting, floral and vegetable gardens, groomed orchards with planned fields filled with native plantings, to a smaller villa style “Visiting Garden.” A senior residential community, where homes have limited space for gardens and patios, was where she graciously invited me to interview her.

>> read “Downsizing the Garden”    
Take a Load Off
The four C’s of a great hammock garden

Creating space for grace is truly the dream of every gardener, even if the gardener never verbalizes such a goal. With every vigorous day of digging, building, designing, and planting, the intrinsic goal of the gardener is to have a spot of earth that is beautiful with an element of functionality whether it be a beauty for beauty’s sake or beauty combined with utility as in an edible landscape, or both.

>> read “Take a Load Off”    
Second and Third Season Pointers

There is nothing I like more than being out in my vegetable garden in late March and April, working my soil in anticipation of a bountiful harvest. Temperatures at that time are usually splendid and I have no problem enjoying one of my favorite pastimes. As I fast-forward several months into the summer, my enthusiasm begins to wane as 90-degree days and high humidity begin to plague me. Not only do I have a problem staying active in such unbearable temperatures, but my plants always seem to be suffering as well. While many gardeners throw in the towel during the hottest part of summer and recline back in their air-conditioned homes, there is still an opportunity and possibility to extend your harvest season all the way until the cooler months of fall.

>> read “Second and Third Season Pointers”    
A Bit About Bees

You can try this at home! Growing bee-friendly plants is one way to help increase the bee population. Another way is to actually raise bees.

>> read “A Bit About Bees”    
Invincibelle Spirit II Hydrangea
Hydrangea arborescens ‘NCHA2’

Invincibelle Spirit II is a notable improvement over the original Invincibelle Spirit. It is a much stronger grower, with sturdier stems, darker green foliage and brighter blooms. Rich pink flowers are produced on new growth from midsummer until frost, maturing to an attractive shade of green. The dried blooms are lovely in long lasting bouquets.

>> read “Invincibelle Spirit II Hydrangea”    
Cuttings: An easy way to get more plants

If you have a plant you would like to share with someone or just make more of, now is a good time to take cuttings. In spring, the longer days and increased sunlight awaken our houseplants from their winter slumber. They push new growth, making it the optimal time to take cuttings.

>> read “Cuttings: An easy way to get more plants”    
Turn & Burn | How to use a 3-bin compost system

Along with the increased interest in sustainable living and gardening, composting is also regaining popularity. It’s a great way to manage organic matter while creating a valuable resource at the same time. There are many different methods of composting but the key elements they share are the organic materials that go in them: water, oxygen, and the microorganisms that actually do the decomposing.
My favorite type of composting is the three-bin method. This system works well if you have the room and generates a lot of organic matter.

>> read “Turn & Burn | How to use a 3-bin compost system”    
Glorious Ground Covers!

Let’s face it. The term “ground covers” doesn’t inspire a great deal of passion. For generations, ground covers have been regarded as plants for covering exposed soil in places where poor soil conditions, deep shade or steep slopes make it hard, or even impossible, to grow grass. But today, many gardeners recognize ground covers not only for their utility but their striking beauty as well.

Ideally, filling the spaces between plants with more plants instead of mulch provides color and textural contrast, increases habitat and food for beneficial insects and wildlife, beautifies the landscape, gives you ornamental foliage and various growth habits that are particularly attractive during the active growing season and – not surprisingly – might even provide winter interest to boot. If chosen correctly, a yard with established ground covers is a visual treat.

>> read “Glorious Ground Covers!”    
Poison Ivy is Everywhere

Ask any gardener what grows really well in your garden, and you may get an answer you don’t want to hear: POISON IVY. Unfortunately, it thrives from Maine to Florida.

Poison ivy manages to grow anywhere – on islands, marshy areas, and forests. Sand, good soil, or among acidic pine needles, poison ivy grows. Worst of all it grows in sun or shade, climbing up, over and around most everything.

>> read “Poison Ivy is Everywhere”    
Big Harvest - Tiny Space

With garden space and spare time at a premium for most families, gone are the huge backyard plots that once yielded all the vegetables a family could eat. After a move to the city in 2012, my own vegetable garden shrunk from a half acre in the country to a few raised beds. Nonetheless, I’m amazed at the large and varied harvest from my new, much smaller space these last two years.
Success for me and other small-space gardeners is due in part to plant breeders, who have developed compact veggies to replace some of the space hogs of the past. Many of these new varieties are ideal candidates not only for small beds, but also for containers, which means you can grow a decent harvest even if you have no ground at all.

>> read “Big Harvest - Tiny Space”    
 
 
 

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