Using Hops to Shade a Chicken Coop

We wanted to find a fast-growing bine (yes, bine) to help shade our west-facing chicken coop run from the hot afternoon sun. After some research, we went with hops because they are completely safe for chickens, fast-growing and perennial, meaning they come back year after year. I ordered the Top of the Hops Collection from…

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…

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,…

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,…

How To: Keep Seeds Organized

When you want to have a cut flower garden, seeds are a very important part to the process. Direct sewing is a great way to have loads of flowers in a short amount of time. You can buy new seeds every year or you can save seeds. Read my post about starting a cut flower…

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…

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…

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…

West Pott. Master Gardener Plant Sale

Today was the annual West Pottawattamie Master Gardener Plant Sale from 8 a.m. – 11 a.m. at Iowa School for the Deaf. Proceeds from the sale will go toward scholarships and local community garden projects. The hard working master gardeners organized “digs” at homes around the county to help owner’s thin their perennials or remove…

Trees, Trees and more Trees

This weekend Ryan picked up and planted a lot of trees on our property. He planted Red Oaks, Burr Oaks and Norway Spruce. Below are pictures of the Red Oaks. I’d have to ask, but I bet it was a total of over 20 trees. Everything is starting to bud. Spring is finally here.  I…

Book Review: In Bloom

In Bloom was one of the books on my Christmas wish list that I received from my mom. Published in 2016, In Bloom, Creating and Living with Flowers by Ngoc Minh Jgo features artists, designers and decorators who incorporate flowers in their work. This was the follow up to her book Bringing Nature Home. It…

Air Plant Update

  Air plants are really catching on now. You might remember my previous post about growing air plants but I recently purchased two more so thought it was time for a refresher! What do you think of these two beauties?! I was mesmerized the first time I saw an air plant. How could a plant…

Hybrid Tea Roses

Hybrid Tea Roses were created by cross-breeding two types of roses: hybrid perpetuals and tea roses. They have traits of both parents, generally hardier and more often repeat flowers. Hybrid teas are very popular, especially with cut flower growers as they have a single flower on a longer stem. I purchased five Hybrid Tea Rose…

Stories from Jane’s Garden

Meet my friend Jane. Jane is an extraordinary human being. She brings light and laughter to every room and is quick to make everyone feel welcome. I had the pleasure of meeting Jane last fall through our Master Gardener program training. I felt an instant bond with her as almost everyone probably does. Our passion…

Passion Flower Vine

The tropical passion flower or passion vine (Passiflora spp.) naturally grow in South America and Mexico. An annual vine here in Iowa, prefers to grow on a trellis in full sun and in well-drained soil.  The blooms were originally used by missionaries to teach of the passion of Christ which is how it got its name. Because…

Garden Journal 8/13/2017

A few pictures from this weekend in the garden. So much beauty. The dahlias, cosmos, celosia and amaranth are stealing the show right now. What’s blooming in your garden?

Garden Journal 8/8/2017

The weather continues to be amazing with average temperatures around 80 this week. So nice to have a break from the hot, hot weather! Check out this amazing Nick Sr. dahlia that is red on top and yellow underneath. This is a very strong dahlia with strong stems and really good tubers.FimbriataZinniasZinniasDillArtemisia, a floral greenery….