Raising Ducklings Part 2

My sweet babies are now about nine days old now. They have been getting bigger and bigger by the day. They enjoy splashing around in this concrete bird bath one or two times per day. They especially like small chunks of kale floating around in the water. They go crazy for it! I might have…

Garden Journal 7/8/2018

A few photos from around the farm this weekend. I planted these Monarda (Bee Balm) last year and they are just blooming like crazy right now. In the mint family, this species borders on the edge of invasive. However, it’s a bee and hummingbird favorite so I think I’m ok with it taking up some…

June Landscapes

We finally had a nice break from all of the rain we’ve been getting recently. It was a beautiful weekend and not too hot. I’ve been enjoying hiking around the farm and seeing parts of the acreage that I haven’t checked out much yet. Since its the last weekend in June, I thought I would…

The Swallow’s Nest

The June West Pott. Master Gardener meeting tonight was held at The Swallow’s Nest – Jayna’s Country Store & Gardens in Council Bluffs. We enjoyed listening to stories from the owners, held our meeting under the shade trees on the farm and then enjoyed a tour of their expansive vegetable and flower garden. It was…

How To: Grow Larkspur

Larkspur is what is called a hardy annual. They easily self seed year after year in the same patch and they are very cold hardy. They can be direct sowed very early in the season and sown in succession to have continuous blooms. Place seeds in the freezer for a few days before planting. Harvest…

Peonies, peonies, peonies

It seems like the peony season came and went very quickly this year. I’m glad I got out to take lots of photos right away because the HOT weather flushed all of our peonies out very quickly. I’m so disappointed that I didn’t make a single bouquet this year. These peonies at our new house…

Garden Journal 6/2/2018

We kicked off June with some more heat. My leafy greens are doing amazingly well. I’ve got several kinds of lettuce and kale along with arugula, turnips, beets and swiss chard growing in this market garden style bed. My agave sure are happy right now! They thrive in the heat. I planted a few coreopsis…

Longhorn Cattle

Meet our new neighbors. This is the first time they have grazed on our side of this hill. How lucky am I to have this great view! Aren’t they just beautiful!?!? They seemed very nice. Our neighbor must spend quite a bit of time with them. This one had the biggest horns.Although these were pretty big…

5 Tips on Growing Iris from Nancy

One of my fellow Master Gardeners is into irises. Nancy has over 250 varieties of tall bearded iris that are mostly from California. Her brother, who lives in California, started sending her irises for her birthday each August and then one year while visiting him, they dug over 150 varieties together. She has since been back…

Oranges and Grape Jelly

I enjoyed a four day break from work and got so much done around my house over this Memorial Day weekend. My only complaint is that I wish it was slightly cooler. Nearly 100 degree temperatures each day made it hard for a lot of heavy outdoor work. But, clearly I didn’t work too hard…

Pee Wee Gardens

There is an amazing peony garden in Council Bluffs. It’s located on Old Lincoln Hwy or N Broadway, directly across the street from Kimball Park. There is a large sign that says “Pee Wee Gardens – Flowers and More Since 94.” I googled this name and found a story about Oscar Kilnoski, the man most likely…

Garden Journal 5/25/2018

After a cold and wet spring, we’ve jumped straight into summer here in southwest Iowa. On this memorial day weekend, we are expecting temperatures of nearly 100 for four days. I was able to to take the day off yesterday for some plant shopping and did some digging in the dirt when I got home….

Mother’s Day Weekend

We received this bird feeder stand and new feeders as Christmas gifts. We set them up last weekend and since then, we’ve seen orchard orioles, baltimore orioles, catbirds, goldfinch and cardinals. The orioles LOVE oranges and grape jelly. They are very fun to watch! Goldfinch.Catbird.Cardinal.My little hummingbird friend was around again today.  This morning (Sunday)…

Sleeping Hummingbird

We have an amazing sunroom on the west end of our house that has huge picture windows facing both south and west. We’ve placed all of our bird feeders outside of these windows and it creates and unbelievable bird watching experience. We put our hummingbird feeder out last weekend after I saw my first hummer…

Hitchcock Nature Center

The mission of the Hitchcock Nature Center is to exist to develop and foster appreciation and understanding of the Loess Hills as a globally significant landform through land management, environmental education and low-impact recreation. Acquired by Pottawattamie County in 1991, Hitchcock Nature Center (HNC) currently consists of 1,268 acres located in the heart of the…

Metamorphosis

On this cold and dreary spring day, I decided to visit the Metamorphosis display at Lauritzen Gardens again. It was balmy in the upper greenhouse, so much that my lenses fogged over. The display includes artwork from by Sayaka Ganz and Aurora Robson. From the Laurtizen Gardens website: Millions of pieces of plastic find their way into…

Amaryllis Update

If you saw my last post, you know that I have several Amaryllis bulbs that I forced indoors this winter. It’s been a few weeks now so I thought I would share some updated photos. They all bloomed consecutively over the last few weeks resulting in constant blooms. How To Force Amaryllis Bulbs Indoors: Some…

A visit to Libby’s Yarn Barn

Operated by Libby George, Libby’s Yarn Barn is home to many English Angora rabbits, Huacaya alpacas and soon to be Cormo sheep. Now a knitting fanatic, she can shear, pick, wash, dye, card and spin her own fiber. She then uses the fiber to knit her own high-quality home-grown clothing. This winter, Libby has started…

Poinsettias @ Sherbondy’s Greenhouse

You just can’t beat a visit to a greenhouse in the winter. The warm air, smell of dirt and sound of running water can’t be found anywhere else besides a greenhouse in the heart of winter. Sherbondys Garden Center is a locally owned and operated garden center and landscape firm located in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Bring…

Membership @ Lauritzen Gardens

I just recently renewed my Lauritzen Gardens membership for another year. Check out the membership options here. If you visit more than three times per year it is worth the $35 for an individual membership. Member Benefits · Free admission for one year · Invitations to exclusive members-only events · A 10% discount on all regularly…