Plant Particulars

Cucurbita pepo 'Sweet Lightning'_1868

The fall harvest brings a bounty of colorful gourds and squash. All are members of the large Cucurbitaceae family, which has hundreds of species, including some that may surprise you, such as watermelons, cucumbers, and melons. Gourds and squash are part of a diverse group of plants that throughout history […]

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tomato

The Home Production Garden is full of produce, which we donate to Plant a Row for the Hungry. Below are a few tips for harvesting favorite summer vegetables in your own garden: Carrots: Pull when they are ¾ inches in diameter and the orange shoulder pushes through the soil. Cucumbers: […]

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containers

Visit us, and you’ll be impressed by the gorgeous, huge containers at the entrance and throughout the Gardens. You, too, can keep your containers overflowing with beautiful annuals until frost: • Monitor for watering daily. As the temperatures rise, and the plants get larger, plants (especially those in hanging baskets […]

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Rosa 'All the Rage' BAIrage

Roses—the queen of garden plants—can grow well in Iowa as long as you choose them well and give them good care. • Start with naturally disease-resistant and winter-hardy rose cultivars. Good bets include those developed by Iowa State’s Dr. Griffith Buck, the Easy Elegance® series developed by Bailey Nurseries in […]

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Magnolia x soulangiana

This time of year, some of the most beautiful displays of flowers can be found on small trees. Natives to woodland understories, small flowering trees are perfect for the home garden since they seldom top 25 feet. They also tolerate a wide range of light levels, from partial shade to […]

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cool season vegetables growing in the home production garden

While many Iowa gardeners plant their vegetable gardens over Mother’s Day weekend, there are many cool-season vegetables that can be started much sooner. Unlike the tomatoes and peppers we plant in mid-May, these cool-season edibles do better in cool spring weather and suffer once Iowa’s hot, humid summers arrive. Potatoes and […]

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usda hardiness zones

A cold, harsh winter may have you questioning if some of your favorite plants survived. If they didn’t, it may be that they aren’t cold-hardy to our “zone.” Back in 1960 the USDA published a Hardiness Zone Map. Updated in 2012, this map is divided into 5-degree gradients labeled numbers […]

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Succulent and Cactus

This winter the Conservatory features the “Crash Landing” display, which shows off dozens of cacti and other succulents among flying saucers to evoke an arid setting not unlike that of Roswell, New Mexico. We are often asked, “What is the difference between a cactus and a succulent?” The answer is […]

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common prickly pear

This winter the Conservatory is featuring dozens of cacti and other succulents. One group of cacti prominently featured will be the prickly pear cactus in the genus Opuntia. Prickly pear grow in very well-drained, dry rocky flat or slopes but are highly adaptable. Some types can even be grown in […]

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holiday 2013 tree

December 2013 Christmas Tree Care Nothing beats the incredible scent and natural appearance of a fresh Christmas tree. But it’s important to take care of your fresh tree to keep it attractive as long as possible. Key is watering, and keeping it watered! Use clean fresh water and never allow […]

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