Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens

Archive for December 2011

Think Spring! Spring Master Gardener Classes Set to Begin January 17th

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Ok, here’s another gift idea for the gardener in your life!  Read below for information on the next round of Master Gardener classes to start in the new year.

Think Spring!  Spring Master Gardener Classes Set to Begin January 17, 2012

Iowa State University Extension Black Hawk County is offering Spring Master Gardener classes, beginning January 17 through March 27, 2012, at the Dick Young Greenhouse (at George Washington Carver Academy), 1505 Logan Avenue in Waterloo.  Cost is $150 for the Master Gardener class.  To register, send payment to Black Hawk County Extension, 3420 University Avenue, Suite B in Waterloo.  After January 5, a $25 late fee is assessed.

Classes are offered on Tuesdays from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm for 11 weeks and are taught by Iowa State University Extension staff and specialists.  The program offers 40 hours of instruction that covers topics in lawn care, ornamental trees and shrubs, insect, disease, and weed control; soil and plant nutrition; vegetable gardening; houseplants, and garden flowers.

Participants become Master Gardener Interns after completing the training.  Upon returning 40 hours of volunteer service in the community, participants become Certified Iowa Extension Master Gardeners.  During 2011, Black Hawk County Master Gardeners completed 3,523 hours of service in the community.  It is the acquisition of knowledge, the skill in gardening, and giving back to the community that distinguishes a Master Gardener from other gardeners.

Contact Bryan Foster, ISU Horticulturist at 319.433-2516 for more information on the Master Gardener program.  For more information on Extension, go to: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/blackhawk/.


Written by cedarvalleyarboretum

December 15, 2011 at 5:02 pm

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Public Gardens of Iowa Calendar – On sale now for $6.00!

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Looking for gift ideas for the gardener in your life?  No worries, I’ve got you covered!

Iowa State Extension has showcased public gardens right here in our state for their 2012 calendar.  And the Arboretum is October!!

The full-color, 12-month calendar spotlights a different public garden each month with a variety of beautiful photos.  Other public gardens showcased in the calendar include: The Brenton Arboretum, in Dallas Center; Reiman Gardens, in Ames; Des Moines Botanical Center and Better Homes and Gardens Test Garden®, in Des Moines; Pella Historical Village, in Pella; Iowa Arboretum, in Madrid; Bickelhaupt Arboretum, in Clinton; Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, in Prairie City; Vander Veer Botanical Park, in Davenport; Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Garden, in Dubuque; and Noelridge Park, in Cedar Rapids.

You can order online at https://store.extension.iastate.edu/ItemDetail.aspx?ProductID=4127.  Calendars are $6.00 each.

Or you can purchase your calendar(s) at our local extension office at 3420 University Avenue, Suite B.  Office hours are 8:00 am and 4:30 pm. I encourage you to call their office at 319-234-6811 to make sure the calendars are in stock.  (They are going quick!)

For more information about our county extension office, check out their website at http://www.extension.iastate.edu/blackhawk/.


See you in the gardens.

Written by cedarvalleyarboretum

December 9, 2011 at 6:25 am

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Visiting Harmony House Greenhouse

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I was needing a little color pick-me-up after a few drab days of weather.  So I stopped by one of my favorite greenhouses – the Harmony House greenhouse at 2950 West Shaulis Road in Waterloo (just a few miles west of the Arboretum!).   The beautiful foliage plants, warm temperature and fresh soil smell is exactly what I needed to perk up my week!

Look at these stunning poinsettias I found:


I’m always drawn first to the classic red poinsettia – nothing says the holiday season quite like that bright red!  These plants aren’t the flimsy poinsettias you might find at local big box stores – they are full and healthy!


The red with white specks is playful.  A few of these would look stunning under the Christmas tree or on a mantle with greens.


It was difficult to get good photos of the final two varieties available for sale.  The above is a light pink and below has shades of dark maroon.  The coloring on the dark maroon was so striking that the leaves almost look fake!


These photos hardly do the poinsettias justice!  You all will have to go visit for yourself!  All poinsettias are on sale for $10.00 each.  The greenhouse has restricted hours this winter, so please call ahead to make sure they are open.  Ask for Kelly or Koral in the greenhouse319-234-4495 .

Note:  Harmony House Health Care Center is a full care facility specializing in the treatment of traumatic brain injury of all types, chronic respiratory failure, and adults with special needs who require a structured living environment. The center’s greenhouse, managed by Kelly Conrad and Koral Sienknect, has been a long time partner of the Arboretum.  Please help us support this wonderful facility.



See you in the gardens.

Written by cedarvalleyarboretum

December 8, 2011 at 6:31 am

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Brighten Your House with Kalanchoe!

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Hey All – I wanted to share with you this great article about kalanchoes from our November View.  Enjoy!

Brighten Your House with Kalanchoe

by Rita Lynn

Until recently, I had a cat that grazed on many houseplants.  One of her favorites was poinsettias.  No matter how much I wanted a beautiful plant for the winter holidays, it didn’t make sense to get a poinsettia and have her chew it to shreds.  Fortunately, I found kalanchoes, which she never even nibbled.  (Cautionary note: http://www.aspca.com lists kalanchoes as toxic to animals.  Apparently, my cat had checked the website, but you might want to keep your plant in a place where pets can’t reach it.)  I was glad to be able to display dazzling red kalanchoes where I would have liked to have poinsettias.

First of all, how do you pronounce the name of these beauties?  Writers admit that this is one of the most frequent questions about this plant.   After searching numerous sources, it appears that there are up to 4 ways to pronounce “kalanchoe,” all of which are acceptable.  So just enjoy the plant and don’t try to come to an agreement with a friend about how to say its name.

The kalanchoes customarily seen around the winter holidays (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana) are native to Madagascar and are succulents in the jade family (Crassulaceae).  They have fleshy dark-green leaves with scalloped margins.  You find them topped with large clusters of small, four-petaled flowers in bright shades of red, orange, pink, yellow and white.  Flowers open in succession from the center of the cluster to the outer edges and can last for six to eight weeks.

The best part about kalanchoes is that they are so easy to care for.  Being succulents, they should not be overwatered – they won’t even mind if you forget to water them for a while.  Pots and soil should allow for good drainage.  They prefer a brightly lit environment.  Cooler night temperatures prolong bloom.

We usually purchase kalanchoes in full bloom.  Fortunately, they will re-bloom fairly easily the following season.   Kalanchoes, like poinsettias, require short day lengths for bud development.  Buds will form when the plants are placed where they have natural day length between October 1 and March 1.  Or like poinsettias, you can control light at night by placing the plant in a dark area in late afternoons and bringing it out in the morning.  They require about 6 weeks of natural winter day lengths (14 to 16 hours of darkness a day) for buds to form.  Temperatures above 80° will delay bud development.  Once buds show, controlling day length is no longer necessary.

Kalanchoes have few disease problems.  You can avoid root rot by using well-drained soil and not overwatering.  Powdery mildew can be discouraged by allowing good air circulation around the plant.  Mealybugs, aphids, or brown scale may appear; these pests can be removed by hand.

It is not difficult to propagate these plants from stem cuttings taken in spring or early summer.  You should look for vegetative rather than flowering stems.  Shoots should be 2 to 3 inches long, with two pairs of leaves.  The bottom set of leaves should then be removed and the stem left for several days to allow callous to form before putting it into the rooting medium.  A 50/50 mix of peat moss and perlite is recommended, and no rooting hormone is needed.  Place the pot in a plastic bag to maintain high humidity, and put the cutting in bright, indirect light.  You should get transplant-ready plants in 2 to 3 weeks.

If you haven’t tried them before, do add a kalanchoe to your winter decorations.  And consider giving one as a gift.  They are readily available, and what recipient wouldn’t appreciate having a plant as colorful and undemanding as this?



http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/plants/indoor/flowering/hgic1563.html (image source)


Written by cedarvalleyarboretum

December 7, 2011 at 6:25 pm

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You’re Invited: Black Hawk County Master Gardener Bus Trip!

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Wanting a fun trip to look forward to this coming spring?  Our local Master Gardeners are opening up their bus trip to the Cincinnati Flower Show (April 27-29, 2012) to the community.  All are welcome!

The Cincinnati Flower Show is one of the largest flower shows in the country.  Over the three-day show, you will have the opportunity to see first class exhibits, socialize with other garden enthusiasts, attend lectures and tours as well as visit the markets.

The Cincinnati Flower Show is the only North American flower and garden show endorsed by the Royal Horticultural Society of Great Britain, producer of the world renowned Chelsea Flower Show.  Image and text taken from official Cincinnati Flower Show website.  For more information, please visit: www.cincyflowershow.com.

Secure your spot on the bus with $100 deposit by December 15th remainder due in March. The cost dependent on how many people are sharing a room:

$425 per person double occupancy,

$535 single room accommodations OR

$405 per person with 3/4 persons with 2 beds

For more information, please contact Sara Jansen at SARA_JANSEN@DENSO-DIAM.COM or Mickey Johnson at Mlj091554@aol.com.

See you in the gardens.

Written by cedarvalleyarboretum

December 2, 2011 at 6:00 am

Posted in Uncategorized