Master Conservationist Graduation

Last Saturday, our class graduated from the Master Conservationist program at Hitchcock Nature Center. If you missed my class recaps, find them here: Iowa Ecosystems: ForestsIowa Ecosystems: PrairieIowa Ecosystems: Wetlands The program was hosted by 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….

Garden Journal 8/23/19

We went on a canoeing and camping trip on the Turkey River this weekend near Alpha, Iowa. We had a great time with friends and enjoyed spending time on the water. If I didn’t have to actually leave my house, I would camp all the time. Just when I think things can’t possibly be any…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

2019 Spring Garden Conference

The West Pott. Master Gardeners hosted their 2019 Spring Garden Conference today at Holiday Inn & Suites at Ameristar Casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The conference sold out in just a few weeks at 160 attendees due to an impressive lineup of speakers. They included Kim Todd with Backyard Farmer, Scott Evans, Jan Riggenbach, Michelle Biodrowski,…

Seed Exchange & Gardener Social

Several groups came together to host the March into Spring – Seed Exchange and Gardener Social today at Sherbondy’s Garden Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa today, March 24, 2019 from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. “Seed swaps having been going on for thousands of years. Folks coming together at markets, town squares, in huts and…

Garden Journal 01/13/2019

Several inches of snow came down between Friday night and Saturday afternoon here in southwest Iowa. It made for some pretty views from our house. Walking around our acreage is both a great way to get some exercise and it forces me to take a few moments to truly appreciate the beautiful place that we…

Cyclamen in the Conservatory

The Marjorie K. Daugherty Conservatory at Lauritzen Gardens is a sight to see this time of year and all year, being one place that feels like summer forever. Right now the model train weaves through the “cold” front room in the conservatory with splashes of pink and red cyclamen stealing the show. Cyclamen The trick…