Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens

REMINDER: Terra Cotta Pots Needed!

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Do you have terra cotta pots you would like to donate to the Arboretum?  We are currently looking for terra cotta pots of all sizes (saucers welcome, too) for the 2012 growing season.  Donated terra cotta pots must be 9 inch diameter or bigger; free of cracks and chips; and solid terra cotta free of design and color.

If you have terra cotta pots to donate, please contact Mollie at director@cedarvalleyarboretum.org  or call the office at (319)226-4966.

 

Please pass this message to your friends and neighbors.  Thank you for your help!

 

 

Written by cedarvalleyarboretum

March 6, 2012 at 6:59 am

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REMINDER: 2012 Green Scene Symposium this Saturday!

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If you have not attended this wonderful education event in the past, I encourage you to sign up this year!  I always come away from the symposium energized for the growing season and educated about new plant material, maintenance techniques and garden design.

This year’s symposium is on Saturday, March 10th at the Waterloo Center for the Arts in downtown Waterloo.  The event starts at 8:30 a.m. and runs to 2:30 p.m.

Registration is $20.00 per person and includes lunch.  To register, mail your check to Green Scene at PO Box 2004; Waterloo, IA  50704

To learn more about Green Scene, please visit their website at www.greensceneinc.org.  This organization heavily supports the Arboretum each year through plant material and volunteers as well as grant money to purchase trees.

See you in the gardens,

Mollie

Written by cedarvalleyarboretum

March 5, 2012 at 6:20 am

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Phalaenopis Orchids

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Hey All – Just wanted to share this great article from our View editor, Pat McGivern.  Enjoy and have a great Thursday!

See you in the gardens,

Mollie

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Remember the adage, “be careful what you wish for?”  Twenty years ago I expressed that I wanted to have finches to enjoy when I retired.  My very next birthday I was gifted with finches, to feed and clean while I was working full time and running a grade-schooler to daily activities.  I tried not to express further retirement wishes aloud, but in 2010 I made a better mistake of blurting out that raising orchids was on my retirement bucket list.  You guessed it.  Although I am not yet retired, within a month my son brought over two half-price Walmart orchids for me to enjoy.  These $7.50 beauties have required very little care and have re-bloomed each year.  From first open bloom until the last, the blooms lasted over six months in 2011!  There are four 2012 blooms open now on the stalk.

Phalaenopis is an orchid genus of approximately 60 species.  Phalaena was the name given by Linnaeus to a group of large moths.  The flowers of some phalaenopis orchids are believed to resemble moths in flight.  Thus the species are sometimes called moth orchids.  They are native throughout southeast Asia from the Himalayan Mountains to the Philippines and northern Australia.  In nature the plants are epiphytes, growing non-parasitically on other plants or objects.  They have a monopodial (growing upward from a single point) growth habit adding leaves to the apex each year, and their inflorescence (cluster of flowers arranged on a single stem) comes up between the leaves.

These plants should be kept in temperatures of over 60 degrees at night, and a range from 70 to 80 degrees in the day.  They do not require too much light, and east windowsills are recommended.  Mine live in a north bay window

most of the year, getting a bit of early east light and a bit of late west light, although I do place them in a south window December through February.  Water plants in the morning whenever the orchid bark or mix is dry, and allow water to run through the pot and dump any standing water.  Orchid foods are available and recommended.  My plants have done fine on light regular feedings of the same fertilizer all my houseplants receive.  Higher humidities are ideal, but plants can adapt to lower humidities if regularly watered.  In short, not the difficult houseplant that I expected, but a forgiving and easy to raise addition to your home.  Give them a try!

For more detailed information on raising and caring for these orchids in your home see:  http://www.orchidweb.com/phalcare.aspx

One thing I learned in researching this article is that after the plant has finished flowering the first time, to cut the stem above the node where the first flower bloomed, as a new flower stem may emerge.  With proper care, the plants may bloom more than the once per year that I thought was wonderful enough!

Written by cedarvalleyarboretum

March 1, 2012 at 6:44 am

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Seeking Presentation Opportunities

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Can you help us spread the word about the Arboretum’s top-notch education programs, free summer events and volunteer opportunities?  It is an exciting time at the Arboretum and I am looking for speaking opportunities to help market the Arboretum.

Presentations about the Arboretum and/or gardening topics are free to all community organizations with weekday and evening scheduling available.

To learn more or schedule a presentation, please contact me at director@cedarvalleyarboretum.org or call (319)226-4966.

See you in the gardens,

Mollie

 

Written by cedarvalleyarboretum

February 29, 2012 at 6:27 am

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Gardening Basics by ISU Extension — Perfect for new gardeners!

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Hey All – Just in time for spring!  I wanted to share this great opportunity for newbie gardeners —  ISU Extension is organizing a March and April session to introduce gardening basics.   Don’t wait too long to register.

See you in the gardens,

Mollie

 

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is offering beginning gardening classes for novice gardeners.  These family-oriented programs have been designed to be simple and hands-on.

 

Session I is called “Introduction to Basic Gardening” and will be held on Sunday, March 4 from 2 to 4 pm at the Black Hawk County Extension Office, 3420 University Avenue, Suite B in Waterloo.  Participants will learn to start seeds at home, when and how to plant seeds, benefits of direct seeding and transplanting, and how to read a seed packet.  Registration deadline is March 1.

 

Session II is called “Spring Planting Workshop” and will be held on Sunday, April 15 from 2 to 4 pm at the Dick Young Greenhouse, 1505 Logan Avenue in Waterloo.  Participants will learn the basics of planting such as light requirements and spacing and receive seeds to plant at home.  Registration deadline is April 12.

 

Pre-registration with payment is required.  Cost to attend both sessions is $12.  To register or for additional information, contact Bryan Foster, Consumer Horticulturist at fosterbd@iastate.edu or by calling 433-2516.

 

Click on the following link to see the full brochure for this great opportunity: Beginning Gardening 101 (2-12)

 

Written by cedarvalleyarboretum

February 27, 2012 at 7:58 pm

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2012 Green Scene Symposium Announced!

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I always know we have almost survived another Iowa winter when I start to hear information about Green Scene’s Annual Symposium.    If you have not attended this wonderful education event in the past, I encourage you to sign up this year.

This year’s symposium is on Saturday, March 10th at the Waterloo Center for the Arts in downtown Waterloo.  The event starts at 8:30 a.m. and runs to 2:30 p.m.  Speakers for the event have not been announced yet, but the planning committee always chooses engaging speakers who are experts in their field.  I always come away from the symposium energized for the growing season and educated about new plant material, maintenance techniques and garden design.

Registration is $20.00 per person and includes lunch.  To register, mail your check to:

Green Scene

PO Box 2004

Waterloo, IA  50704

To learn more about Green Scene, please visit their website at www.greensceneinc.org.  This organization heavily supports the Arboretum each year through plant material and volunteers as well as grant money to purchase trees.

See you in the gardens,

Mollie

Written by cedarvalleyarboretum

February 15, 2012 at 6:33 pm

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Kumquats

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Hey All – I wanted to share this article with you about Kumquats.  After visiting Florida and seeing these citrus trees up close, Pat McGivern, a View co-editor, shared the below article in our January edition.  A fun (and informative article) just in time citrus season – I just saw kumquats in the grocery store yesterday!

If you do not receive our monthly e-newsletter, the View, you can sign up at http://www.cedarvalleyarboretum.org/newsletter.asp.

See you in the gardens,

Mollie

 

Kumquat is the common name of a group of small fruit bearing trees in the flowering plant family Rutaceae.  They are native to south Asia and the Asia Pacific region.  They were introduced to Europe in 1846 by Robert Fortune, and shortly thereafter to North America.  Kumquats are commonly classified as the genus Fortunella (in honor of Robert Fortune), but some authorities believe they should be included in the Citrus genus.  The leaves are dark glossy green, and the flowers white, as are other citrus flowers. They need hot summers, but are hardier to cold temperatures than oranges. The edible fruit, also called a kumquat, looks similar to an orange, but is smaller and more oval.

I was introduced to kumquats on a recent trip to Central Florida when a friend pulled a handful off a neighbor’s tree.  The fruit is considered ripe when it has reached yellowish orange and shed the last tinge of green.  The rind is sweet and the juicy center is sour.  Kumquats are often eaten raw, either whole to savor the contrast, or only the rind is used.  I loved to cut in half, remove the few large seeds, and eat whole.  The flavor  is described as citrusy, spicy, woody.  I can testify that ripe off the tree is wonderful, and plan to check out the citrus shelves of local stores.

To say these fruits are plentiful in Central Florida is an understatement.  Owners are urged (tongue in cheek), to pick grocery bags full to hang on neighbor’s doorknobs as a gift and run.  Apparently their excess is the equivalent of Midwest zucchini.  However, they are rich source of vitamin C, vitamin A, and potassium.  In addition to enjoying them raw, or sliced and added to salads, they are commonly used for preserves, marmalade, and jelly.  They can be added to muffins, or used as a martini garnish.

Looking at our Iowa snow, I can only dream of having a fresh bag of tree ripened kumquats left on my door….

Written by cedarvalleyarboretum

February 10, 2012 at 6:32 am

Posted in Uncategorized