I’ve been an Iowa State University Extension Master Gardener and member of the Story County Master Gardener Association since 2001. My favorite club activity is our annual Plant Sale on Mother’s Day weekend. I enjoy visiting with gardeners and helping them decide what plants would work best in their yards and their plan.

As a child I helped out with the family garden every summer reaping the fruits of my labor with joy. I also remember slipping away during visits to my grandfather’s farm to liberate some of his raspberries. However, gardening is more than just planting a flower, fruit or vegetable garden. We are conservators of the land and have a responsibility to protect the environment with a thoughtful plan for the land we manage.


Recent Blog Posts

May 09
Spring Plant Sales  

Apr 18
Hawaiian Ti Plant  

Dec 30
Garden Journals   (1 comment)

Dec 20
Fall Into Winter  

Nov 20
Winter preparations  

Oct 26
What I Did on My Summer Vacation  

Sep 24
Summer Garden Tour  

Jun 20
A Competitive Garden   (1 comment)




Summer Garden Tour
by Andrea Dorn - posted 09/24/13




In an attempt to catch up and to help us all remember what it was like when we actually received rain once in awhile I want to show you what the Story County Master Gardeners got to see in a garden tour this past summer.






In June we visited the Walkabout Gardens owned and operated by Nan and Merwyn Ripley just outside of Nevada. If you remember, our plants were all behind schedule at the beginning of the summer because of the weather and it was the same at these gardens. But that was a good thing! Many of us have visited the gardens before but usually during daylily season so this time we got to see things we haven’t seen before. Plus Nan is making changes to her gardens (when isn’t she changing things?) so we got in on some of her new ideas.





Because it has been so long since the tour took place I can’t really tell you a whole lot about it so I thought you’d just enjoy seeing the photos I took. A few of my take-aways:


·      A garden is never finished

·      The right garden art adds so much

·      Build in some resting spots so you can just sit and enjoy

·      Add a variety of plants that are at their best at a variety of seasons

·      Don’t be afraid to experiment




Nan is known far and wide for her beautiful daylilies but she has an interest in almost everything. She has a berm with a variety of interesting rocks, miniature conifers and unique art that makes me want to make one. She warned us though that a berm requires extra watering since it sits up higher.




She also loves a lot of different types of trees and has found that it is best to design your garden this way. As we’ve seen before if a disease or pest takes out one type of tree this multifaceted approach guarantees that you’ll still have trees to decorate your yard.


And though I can’t imagine how Nan ever has the time to actually sit still for very long she has incorporated some rather unique chairs and benches all throughout the gardens.




If you’re ever in the area you’ll just have to stop by and experience these gardens for yourself. Give Nan a call and I’m sure she’ll welcome you with stories for every piece in her gardens!





RSS | Print

Share this story on:
Facebook       Twitter