Jack in the Pulpit

When I was a child, my favorite spring activity was to hunt for wildflowers in the timbered hills of my grandparents’ small farm in Iowa County, north of Marengo.  My memory’s eye recalls as if it was yesterday, following my father through the dry brown fall leaves, and finding large swaths of May apples, smaller groups of spring beauty and dutchman’s breeches, and the occasional rare trillium.  Although the Jack in the Pulpits were common and easy to find, I believe they were my favorite.

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How To Grow Tomatoes From Seed

Although many tomato varieties are available from stores in the spring, there is nothing quite as rewarding as growing your own tomatoes from seed.  Also, if you peruse spring seed catalogs, you will note hundreds of tempting varieties of tomatoes are available from seed, as opposed to the few varieties you can find to purchase as plants.  I grew up in a home where seeds were chosen when the seed catalogs first arrived, planted in March, and moved from sunny window to window until hardened outside and planted in the garden.  It just wasn’t spring without watching the tomatoes grow!

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A Thorny Subject: All Your Rose Questions Answered

This year, we have been lucky enough to welcome a passionate rosarian, Edwina, onto our gardening staff.  She has worked tirelessly to ensure that our Rose Garden will be looking beautiful all season, and wow, her work has paid off!  If anyone reading this has been fortunate enough to be able to visit our Rose Garden this year, you know what I’m talking about.  If you haven’t had the time to visit this year, I strongly encourage it!  Let’s learn a little more about Edwina’s background with roses, and then we’ll move on to some burning questions you may have about your own rose bushes.

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Spring Seeds and Gardening Supplies—Local Sources

Spring is upon us and as such, so is the time for planting many of the flowers and crops that our Iowa soil nourishes so well.  Ironically however, although Iowa is known for its cultivating abilities many Iowans do not have the space, time, or resources needed to join in the fun of growing their own produce or blossoms.  Luckily, the last few years have brought with them many opportunities for the gardener in training, many of these options being very cost effective as well as convenient.  Seed libraries, community plots, and garden tool rental are all available within our community; you just have to know where to look.

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Flowers in the Dead of Winter: Growing African Violets

“I like to think that the purpose of the African violet plant is to bolster my ego.  I am very capable of growing lovely flowering and fruiting plants in a variety of outdoor settings, flower beds, raised beds and containers, for example.  I was, however, completely incapable of successfully nurturing houseplants until I discovered the African violet.”  

  • Sarah Preiss-Farzanegan. (See source list below)
african violets

One of Rita’s African Violet plants

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