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Surely you’ve seen — in envious awe just as I have — fields of grapes sprouting along the Iowa plains and taken mental notes to stop by a winery or two some day. Or maybe you’ve already traveled to the corners of the state, enjoying sips from all our proud vineyards. You may have even wondered how our fellow Iowans manage to create such a picturesque landscape as if it were flown in from California ...>> read “Backyard Grape Growing for the Freshest Wines” #Edibles #Feature
Many species of non-native invasive plants, insects and animals plague the Midwest. Why should gardeners care? Here is what you need to know. Chestnut blight in the early 1900s. Dutch elm disease in the mid-1900s. Emerald ash borer in the early 2000s. Asian longhorned beetle has been discovered in five states with the most recent find in Ohio. The list of invasive species goes on and grows ...>> read “Invasive Invaders”
Last year, 2011, was a bad year to be a tree. Tornadoes, borers, diseases, monsoon-like rains and a pre-Halloween snow storm tag-teamed to blow down, rot out and crack apart untold thousands of landscape trees throughout the East and Midwest. That puts many a tree-less homeowner in the market for replacements this spring ...>> read “Bad Storms, Better Trees”
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Earth laughs in flowers,” and it may be true, but for the day-to-day journey through life — and the garden — the leaves on those flowers sustain us. Nearly every plant on Earth has a flower. Some are flamboyant while others are hardly noteworthy. So it is with foliage ...>> read “Colorful Foliage Lights Up the Garden”
Is there something in your wardrobe, a go-to outfit that you throw on when you need to look good and don’t have time to put a lot of thought into it? I’d be lost without those reliable clothes in my closet. In my garden, that role is filled by Sesleria autumnalis. This grass is commonly called autumn moor grass. I call it “friend” ...>> read “A Go-To Plant”
I have to confess something. I almost gave up on lavender. I would repeatedly bring home plants, only to watch them gradually wither, sicken and die—or worse—thrive until they were shapeless woody shrubs with hardly any leaves or flowers. Is this you? It took a lot of trial and error, but I finally figured it out. Lavender (Lavandula spp.) is the princess of herbs. Like any other perfumed lady, she has her demands ...>> read “The Beauty of Lavender”
Ornamental grasses have wonderful textures, colors and silhouettes. They can be included in any garden design, from traditional to modern. Consider adding them to your garden — here is how ...>> read “The Grace of Grasses”
Garden design and gardening are not necessarily the same thing. Here are the most common design errors, why they are ‘bad’ and how to change your ways.
Here are the top five mistakes I see most often in my work as a professional gardener. They’re easy to fix ...
The rose, queen of all flowers, has a rather haughty reputation: difficult to grow, prone to diseases and pests, and dies after a few years. There are still a few divas around, but many rose varieties are not obstinate or impossible to grow. In the words of Peter Schneider, author of Right Rose, Right Place, “If you can grow a marigold, you can grow a rose.” The rose is one of the most decorative and adaptable of all flowers ...>> read “No More Rose Divas”
Most herbs are native to the Mediterranean region of Europe, but Iowa’s hot summers are ideal for growing some of the most flavorful varieties. Imagine pizzas with fresh basil, tacos with cilantro leaves and chicken soup with sprigs of lemon thyme. No matter what your culinary preference, herbs make nearly everything taste better and fresher ...>> read “Growing Good Taste”
From rocket reds to flaming oranges and sunshine yellows, fall's brilliant colors blow past our windows on breezy winds. Wouldn't it be nice to capture some of these amazing colors to see throughout the year, instead of only during autumn? The good news is that you can. Preserving leaves with glycerin is an easy craft that anyone can do. Leave preserved with glycerin will ...>> read “Preserving the Fall’s Colors”
The warm, soft tints of Korean chrysanthemum (Dendranthema zawadsii) flowers create a color counterpoint to fall foliage in the October garden. Korean chrysanthemums are later-booming and have a softer form than typical garden mums. The foliage of Korean mums forms an attractive mounding shape all season long ...>> read “Korean Chrysanthemum” #Hot Plants