Let’s Talk Trees: The Bald Cypress

Iowa City Landscaping Bald CyprusIn Iowa, we have a large variety of trees, native and non-native. One such non-native species is the Bald Cyprus tree which can grow to be 50 feet tall. It is a popular ornamental tree, grown for its light feathery foliage. The spring foliage is a bright yellow-green becoming sage green in summer. It is a deciduous tree and ends the season with rich, russet-brown leaves which fall attached to 2-3 inch long shoots. Most members of its family Cupressaceae do not lose leaves, hence the name “Bald” Cypress for this variety.

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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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You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby

In the 1960’s, our culture was very different.  One huge difference was in every day advertising.  An example of this is cigarettes. Virginia Slims was a brand manufactured by Altria (formerly Phillip Morris Companies). The brand was introduced in 1968 and marketed to young professional women using the slogan, “You’ve come a long way, baby.” This catch phrase has worked its way into societal idioms and is occasionally still used. While thinking about the Arboretum and the fact that it is our 20th anniversary this year, I found the expression especially appropriate.

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A Note From the Director

It’s amazing to look back at pictures from a cold spring day 20 years ago when volunteers were planting the first trees at the Arboretum, and then to take a walk in what is quickly becoming a real forest.  The growth and change is striking.  Even year to year, the growth at the Arboretum is incredible.  Just this year, we started a really fun new project for the Children’s Garden that is a Hobbit House and Garden.   In addition, we planted over 57 new trees, created a new Buffalo Plant Sculpture (Mosaiculture), finished planting the new Master Gardeners Orchard, and created a trail through our new 4 acre butterfly meadow.   It’s been a busy season!

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Reasons to Visit the Arboretum in October

In the past, the gardens have been extremely quiet during the month of October.  We understand; the kids are back in school, the Cedar Valley has an abundance of cool fall activities, and the holiday season is just starting to begin – you’re busy!  However, we would love for you to take advantage of our 35 acre oasis this fall and come enjoy walking the gardens.  We promise you won’t be disappointed!  Still need convincing?  Keep reading for the four top reasons for you to visit the gardens this month!

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