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.


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Spring Plant Sales  

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May is for Beginnings
by Andrea Dorn - posted 05/10/13

May is a month of beginnings, of new life springing from the ground, of new looks for your yards. In May you get to find out if all those plants you put into the ground last year are going to sprout again. What experiments from last year are going to work this year? If you are a hybridizer you might find out what those new plants are. This is also the month when your Extension Master Gardeners (MG) bring out their own products to share. Most Master Gardener Associations have their annual plant sales in May.

The Story County Master Gardener Association’s annual plant sale is this Saturday from 8 am to 2pm at the Reiman Gardens. We’ll be offering plants from our own gardens and houses as well as those purchased from a wholesaler and from Holub’s. This year we also have a “garage sale” table with various items for your gardens like pots, shelves for pots, garden art, gardening books, utensils and more. We also have a “garden artist” selling her wares, wonderfully unique garden art of many designs.

One of the most valuable things you can find at the MG plant sales is the Master Gardeners themselves. We have a wealth of knowledge to share and experience with the very plants we are selling. We can answer your questions and give you guidance on how to get the most out of your purchases.

The funds we raise through this plant sale goes toward scholarships for Horticulture students, book donations to local libraries and support of local gardens such as Reiman Gardens and the Iowa Arboretum.

For more information about this plant sale check out the following website:


In other counties check out your county Extension website or the Iowa site at:


What a great way to start out the gardening summer: spending the day with other gardeners!

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Getting Started
by Andrea Dorn - posted 03/18/13

Have you started your vegetable and/or annual flower seeds yet? What are you planting this year? As usual I’ve planned for more than my garden will hold. I’ll wait until planting time to decide which ones will be strong enough to make into my garden. Until then I’ll just enjoy watching them emerge and become living beings in my extra room.


In this blog I’ll be mostly sticking to the topics of vegetable gardens and natives but I’m also interested in using both of these throughout the yard landscape. I don’t see any reason to hide our vegetables in the backyard when many of them have such beautiful hues and configurations. Some of my favorites are the eggplant and the tomatillo plant. They make a beautiful addition to any location in the yard.


Natives planted in their appropriate conditions require less care than all the other exotic, tropical plants you might be considering. They were born to live in our yards. After all, our yards used to be their homes.


What are your favorites year after year? Do you plan to use anything different this year, anything you’ve never tried before? I’d love to hear how “your gardens grow” and any questions you might have. If we get some good conversations going maybe we can all solve each other’s gardening problems too.


Welcome to the magic of gardening. I hope you’ll enjoy sharing my garden with me.

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