Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens

Archive for May 2010

In Good Company

leave a comment »

Early last week, we went to work in the Rose Garden.   Our rose collection has always been nice but has not had that “Wow!” factor a visitor would like to find in a formal garden space.  The main problem was that when the roses were not in bloom, we lacked interest in the flowerbeds. 

If you have visited other public gardens in the Midwest, you might have noticed the addition of companion plants in their rose gardens.  After seeing beautiful plantings at Reiman Gardens (Ames, Iowa) and Olbrich Gardens (Madison, Wisconsin), I decided it was time to try it at the Arboretum, too.

Companion plants in a rose garden have many advantages.  We were looking to incorporate perennials to add four-season interest, color and texture.  When companion plants are incorporated, they can also take the spotlight off of the roses when there is disease/insect damage as well as stifle weeds.

Here is what we planted in the Rose Garden:

  • Achillea ‘Appleblossom’ — Yarrow
  • Artemesia ‘Silver Brocade’ — Artemesia
  • Geranium ‘Johnson’s Blue’ – Perennial Geranium or Cranesbill
  • Huechera ‘Palace Purple’ – Coral Bells
  • Lamium maculatum — Lamium
  • Leucanthemum ‘White Knight’ – Shasta Daisy
  • Panicum virgatum ‘Heavy Metal’ – Blue Switch Grass
  • Perovskia longin – Russian Sage
  • Popaver  orientale ‘Princess Louise’ — Poppy
  • Salvia ‘Blue Queen’ – Meadow Sage
  • Salvia ‘May Night’ – Meadow Sage
  • Stachys ‘Silky Fleece’

 

The plantings look a little pitiful at the moment, but soon will be overflowing with color as the new perennials take off.  Make sure to visit often to watch this garden’s progress!

See you in the gardens.

Advertisements

Written by cedarvalleyarboretum

May 27, 2010 at 6:00 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Busy as a Bee

leave a comment »

I’ll have to apologize for my absent blogging.  But I think if you visit this week you’ll see there has been good reason.  Oh, what a very busy week it has been!  I’ll tell you more detail in days to come, but for now here is a recap:

  • Planted the Rose Garden with a variety of perennials to compliment our rose collection.
  • Seventeen community gardens have been planted.
  • Planted vegetables in the Children’s Garden and annuals in the Enabling Garden.
  • Planted a variety of white flowering perennials outside the Children’s Garden entrance.
  • Lots of weeding and mulching.
  • Planted five conifer trees northing of the Children’s Garden entrance (purchased with Green Scene grant money).
  • Hosted four school groups on the grounds.  Two groups came for tours and two came to volunteer.
  • Cedar Falls Kiwanis club re-sided the south side of the Head House
  • Hosted a NCCC AmeriCorps group all day, Thursday through Saturday.

And much more!  All that hard work done by many faithful volunteers and visiting groups was completed to ensure good looking grounds for our first event of the season, our Memorial Day Ceremony, this Sunday, May 30th at 2:00 p.m.  All are welcome to attend!

See you in the gardens.

PS:  The peonies are beginning to pop and they are beautiful!

Written by cedarvalleyarboretum

May 26, 2010 at 9:22 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Willowglen Nursery

with one comment

While on my Decorah field trip, I also visited Willowglen Nursery.  And also worth a special trip!  But if you want to visit Willowglen, you better move quick – they are in their final growing season and will close their garden center at the end of June.

I found the plants in stock to be great quality with a wide variety of interesting plants for all locations.  Lee and Lindsay have also surrounded the garden center with beautiful gardens so you can see the plants they sell in their natural habitat.

Willowglen Nursery is a little bit off the beaten path, but don’t let that stop you. For directions, check out http://www.willowglennursery.com/maps.php.

To learn more about Willowglen Nursery, please visit http://www.willowglennursery.com.

See you in the gardens.

Written by cedarvalleyarboretum

May 14, 2010 at 6:06 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Seed Savers Exchange

leave a comment »

I’m going to let the photos speak for themselves today.  Last week, I took a trip up to Decorah to visit Seed Savers Exchange and Willowglen (will talk about Willowglen tomorrow).  I had a great time!

What is Seed Savers Exchange? 

(I’ll let  www.seedsavers.org do the talking because they can say it best!)  Seed Savers Exchange is a non-profit, member supported organization that saves and shares the heirloom seeds of our garden heritage, forming a living legacy that can be passed down through generations. Our loyal SSE members have distributed an estimated 1 million samples of rare garden seeds since our founding nearly 35 years ago. Those seeds now are widely used by seed companies, small farmers supplying local and regional markets, chefs and home gardeners and cooks, alike.

Seed Savers Exchange was founded in 1975 by Diane Ott Whealy and Kent Whealy to honor this tradition of preserving and sharing. Their collection started when Diane’s terminally-ill grandfather gave them the seeds of two garden plants, Grandpa Ott’s Morning Glory and German Pink Tomato, that his parents brought from Bavaria when they immigrated to St. Lucas, Iowa in the 1870s.

Today, the 890-acre Heritage Farm, Decorah, Iowa, is our home — and Seed Savers Exchange is the largest non-governmental seed bank in the United States. We permanently maintain more than 25,000 endangered vegetable varieties, most having been brought to North America by members’ ancestors who immigrated from Europe, the Middle East, Asia and other parts of the world. Unlike Fort Knox, Heritage Farm is not surrounded by security fences and guards. Our perimeter is patrolled by Bald Eagles, red-tailed hawks, deer, raccoons and other wildlife. The farm is ringed by 8.5 miles of hiking trails that take visitors through majestic scenery, past some of our 23 acres of certified organic preservation gardens, historic orchard and ancient White Park Cattle.

The main focus of my trip was to buy heirloom vegetables for the Children’s Garden.  If you haven’t already heard, our Children’s Garden is going to be overflowing with produce this summer!  (Well …. if it every warms up, that is!)  I bought a variety of tomatoes, peppers, cauliflower, broccoli and much more.  Once the gardens are planted, I’ll share a plant list with you.

Is Seed Savers worth the drive?

YES!  Visitors are welcome at Heritage Farm from April through October. The Lillian Goldman Visitors Center is open weekdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and weekends 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Donations are suggested to help us with our preservation work. Guided tours and bus tours are available for a charge of $3.00 per person, and can be arranged by calling visitors center at 563-382-6104 in season. Please call our main number at 563-382-5990 for information in the off-season

For directions, check out http://www.seedsavers.org//Content.aspx?src=directions.htm.

See you in the gardens.

Written by cedarvalleyarboretum

May 13, 2010 at 8:11 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Calling All Volunteers!

leave a comment »

There are weeds to pull and flowers to plant at The Arboretum!  Our first event of the season (Memorial Day Ceremony: Sunday, May 30 at 2:00 p.m.) is quickly approaching and we have plenty to do to get the gardens ready for company. 

Why should you volunteer at The Arboretum?  There are few prettier places to volunteer than the great outdoors.  Plus you’ll have the opportunity to meet new (fun!) people and learn more about gardening.  People of all ages, skill levels, talents and interests are encouraged to get involved with opportunities available to fit most schedules.

Weed & Unwind  Weed & Unwind will begin for the season this Thursday, May 13th.   This is an opportunity to volunteer in the gardens while meeting with friends and enjoying whatever drinks or snacks you may choose to bring!  Weed & Unwind will continue throughout the season each Thursday night and volunteers are encouraged to come whenever they can.  There is no set start time — most come whenever they get off work (usually between 4:30 and 5:30).  If you have questions please call the office at 319-226-4966 or email me at director@cedarvalleyarboretum.org.

Volunteer Open House  Plan on attending one or both of these open houses!  The Education Center will be open with light refreshments and work projects will be organized throughout the gardens.  This would be a perfect opportunity to invite family and friends to learn more about The Arboretum! 

Saturday, May 15th 9:00-12:00

Saturday, May 22 10:00-12:00 (volunteers encouraged to attend 9:00 class)

See you in the gardens.

Written by cedarvalleyarboretum

May 11, 2010 at 6:00 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Arboretum Update

leave a comment »

This cold, wet weather has forced me inside.  It has been a busy spring in the gardens and I’ve gotten behind in my blogging – I’m glad to catch up with you all this afternoon!

Congratulations to Green Scene on another successful plant sale!  I stopped by Friday evening to buy a few shade plants for my home garden and was excited to see the building bustling with people buying plants.  Every year I am amazed at the variety and quality of plants for sale – if you did not make it this year, I encourage you to mark your 2011 calendar!

The Head House is bursting with plant material waiting for sunny, warm weather!  A shipment of annuals for the Enabling Garden and perennials for the Rose Garden arrived last week from Swift’s Nursery in Gilman, Iowa.  I had the opportunity to tour the facility a few weeks ago and was blown away by the quantity and quality of annuals (herbs, too) and perennials available for wholesale.  After the gardens are planted, I will post more information about our new plants.

If you have visited the grounds lately, you have noticed yellow caution tape up in the Rose Garden.  Construction will soon be underway on our new pergola.  Like with most big construction jobs, there have been a few bumps in the road but we hope to start building soon.  If you enjoy woodworking and would like to volunteer with pergola construction in the next few weeks, please let me know!

See you in the gardens.

Written by cedarvalleyarboretum

May 10, 2010 at 9:29 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Green Thumb Roadtrip

leave a comment »

From our friends at Hartman Reserve Nature Center — sounds like a fun trip!

Green Thumb Roadtrip

For more Information, please contact Tammy Turner at Hartman Reserve Nature Center, (319) 277-2187, ext 13. 

Do you feel the need for green?  Join Hartman Reserve Nature Center for a roadtrip to Decorah on Saturday, May 15th to visit and shop at Seed Savers Exchange and Willowglen Perrenial Nursery.  The Green Thumb Roadtrip is part of Hartman Reserve Nature Center’s FANS (Fun Adult Nature Series).

Participants will need to bring a sack lunch, comfortable walking shoes and spending money.   The group will load up in the county vans and roadtrippers will be chauffeured to the gardening destinations.  The roadtrip is limited to the first 10 participants who send in their payment.  Several spots are already taken!  The cost is $15.00 per person.   Guided tours have been arranged for the group at each location.   The group will leave the Hartman Reserve Nature Center parking lot at 8:30AM and return no later than 6:00PM. 

To register for the Green Thumb Roadtrip, please send payment by May 10th to Hartman Reserve Nature Center at 657 Reserve Dr., Cedar Falls, IA 50613 or sign up in person.   Spots can also be secured by paying online at BrownPaperTickets.com.   As the date gets closer to the registration deadline, please call ahead to the nature center office (277-2187) to check if spots are still available in the vans, as there is limited space.

Written by cedarvalleyarboretum

May 3, 2010 at 6:00 am

Posted in Uncategorized