Lauritzen Gardens in August

I wanted to get some exercise today and at the same time check out Lauritzen Gardens in the summer. It was a hot and humid day and I went in the middle of the afternoon but it was wonderful once you got down into the shady areas. “Lauritzen Gardens is a living museum of unique…

Becoming a Certified Monarch Waystation

One way to help pollinators AND support an organization that is helping pollinators… is to have your garden become a Certified Monarch Waystation through Monarch Watch. Monarch Watch is a nonprofit education, conservation, and research program based at the University of Kansas that focuses on the monarch butterfly, its habitat, and its spectacular fall migration….

Garden Journal 7/28/2019

We have definitely entered the high summer and the summer perennials are thriving. Last week it was brutal and in the 90s all week but this week we are seeing 70s and 80s. Thankful for this break in the heat for the RAGBRAI riders this week. We’ve been at this house for two and a…

Iowa Ecosystems: Wetlands

This month, our Master Conservationist class was held at Heron Haven in Omaha, NE to discuss the wetlands ecosystem. Heron Haven is a spring-fed wetland sanctuary. The sanctuary features one of the last oxbow wetlands of the Big Papillion Creek and it is within Omaha’s city limits. You may remember my recap of a Master Gardener…

Healthy Soil, Healthy Planet

I attended a lecture titled Healthy Soils, Healthy Planet today at Hitchcock Nature Center in Honey Creek, Iowa. It was the third installment of their 2019 speaker series. Today, Jean Eells discussed the importance of soil health and its impact on every day life. From cover crops and no-till to how adopting those practices widely…

Butterflies, Bees and More

The farm is bursting with life. I’m seeing something new every single day. It’s amazing how quickly things change in just a short amount of time. All of these photos were taken within a 48 hour period when I was trying to find as many different species as possible in our yard, I found a…

Interview with Benjamin Vogt

I first heard Benjamin Vogt speak at a Council Bluffs Noon Rotary lunch last year. A friend had invited me because she thought I would be interested in the topic. Vogt’s passion for what he does quickly became apparent. He urged the audience to re-think their grass lawns and instead plant low-maintenance native plants. I…

First Time Raising Monarch Butterflies

Monarch butterflies are the most wildly known butterfly in North America, perhaps in the world. Otherwise only living for a few weeks, the last generation of the year being a “super” Monarch generation, journies to the mountain forests of Mexico for the winter. Each spring they begin their migration back to the United States and…

Iowa Ecosystems: Prairie

The second of three Master Conservationist Program classes featuring Iowa’s Ecosystems highlighted the prairie. If you missed the first recap on forests, check it out here. There are a total of six classes throughout the summer, one Saturday per month. The class is a group effort by Golden Hills RC&D, Pottawattamie County Conservation, Pottawattamie County Soil & Water…

A Natural Shift

My gardening style has changed over the years, sometimes due to environmental factors, like living in an apartment, other times inspired by a certain type of plant, or even a new hobby. However, I’ve noticed a major shift in the last few months that might have irrevocably changed the direction of my garden for the…

Summer Solstice Lecture: Native Plants of the Midwest

Last night I attended a Summer Solstice Lecture featuring Alan Branhagen at Lauritzen Gardens located at 100 Bancroft Street in Omaha, NE. Alan Branhagen is currently the director of operations at Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and is also the author of Native Plants of the Midwest. We learned which natives grow to best suit your conditions…

How To: Create a Butterfly Habitat in Your Yard

Butterflies add so much to your yard and landscape while bringing it to life. Here are some tips for creating a more butterfly-friendly area in your yard. Host PlantsMost butterflies and moths are dependent on one or more types of host plants, a plant on which they lay their eggs and caterpillars feed on. There…

Garden Journal 06/02/2019

It’s the beginning of June here on the farm. We’ve had lots of activity in the garden and many different visitors in the landscape. Here’s a little bit of what’s been going on this week. I’ve posted about these peonies before and have even made a very similar arrangement, but I’ll never get enough. Original…

Forest Types and Exploring for Native Species

One of my all-time favorite things to do at home to to walk around the very edges of our property, up past the field and into the forest. Using my new terminology from the Master Conservationist Program, our property actually includes all of the “forest types” ranging from prairie and savanna, to woodland and forest….

Iowa Ecosystems: Forests

I signed up for a Master Conservationist Program through our local Golden Hills RC&D, Pottawattamie County Conservation, Pottawattamie County Soil & Water Conservation, Pottawattamie County NRCS, ISU Extension and Outreach West Pottawattamie over the summer. The program is one Saturday per month and is hosted at Hitchcock Nature Center in Honey Creek, Iowa. Unfortunately, I…

Midwest Natives Nursery

On Saturday, Midwest Natives Nursery in Lincoln, NE hosted its first plant sale of the year, which will continue each Saturday until the plants are sold out. I started following Midwest Natives Nursery on Facebook and couldn’t wait to attend their opening event. I ended up purchasing a flat of native species including various milkweed,…

Peaceful Night on the Farm

Tonight was one for the record books. It was about 70 degrees, sunny and no wind. My is my absolute favorite kind of night. We spent the entire evening enjoying the beautiful weather with a little yard party. Everyone, and I mean everyone, was invited. Here is a little video I made of the yard…

Atlanta Botanical Gardens

I was in Atlanta, Georgia for a work training at the end of April. During the eight days that we were in class, we had one free afternoon. I chose to spend my free time at the Atlanta Botanical Garden located at 1345 Piedmont Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30309. I recruited a small group of my…

Goat Yoga in the Loess Hills

My friend Danielle, her sister-in-law Chaz and I went to goat yoga today at Honey Creek Creamery, an artisan goat dairy nestled in the Loess Hills, located at 25593 Old Lincoln Hwy, Honey Creek, Iowa. It was a short drive to a beautiful farm completely surrounded by GREEN. The baby goats were adorable, the weather…