Posts tagged chores

Technically, it’s still winter

Several warm and sunny days this week might make us forget that winter is still with us, officially, at least, until Friday. Deb Engmark, head gardener at the historic Brucemore estate in Cedar Rapids, sent the following about this time of year:

Brucemore estate in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Brucemore estate in Cedar Rapids, Iowa





   From the Brucemore Gardens


   The lengthening of the days and the warmer temperatures make me want to go outside and get back to gardening along with the rest of the grounds crew here at Brucemore. We have pruned all the deciduous trees and grape vines. The lawns and garden beds have been raked and the orchard will be pruned this week. While failing to pull the greenery used for holiday decorating out of a still frozen container, a somber realization dawned on me: it is still winter and there is a good month left before the real gardening can begin, and before we know it, the whole growing season will have passed by in a blur of continuous activity.


In my haste to hurry up and get busy, I realized that I had almost missed it again—the experience, the wondrous process of late winter merging into spring. With every rain drop and ray of sunshine, change is taking place. We all know this but rarely take the time to observe and enjoy. This year I vow to observe and enjoy with total presence, and I will stay conscious and aware during every season and transition of the year. Through Cindy’s blog, (thank you Cindy) I will share my experiences and offer tips and ideas for you to use in your own gardens.


I encourage you and yours to participate wholeheartedly also. Come visit the Brucemore gardens and grounds to experience the seasons this year. Our gates are open during regular business hours, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and often from dawn to dusk. Stroll the grounds, formal gardens, pond, timber, and orchard. Stop by the children’s garden to pick up a monthly activity sheet, which offers suggestions for additional nature study opportunities.


I would love to hear what you are doing also!  Please feel free to send me any suggestions, ideas, or tips from your own gardens and explorations.


Deb Engmark

Brucemore Head Gardener

2160 Linden Dr. SE

Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52403


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A note from Brucemore’s head gardener

The following is from Deb Engmark, head gardener at Brucemore in Cedar Rapids:


     October 1st turned out to be a beautiful evening for the Wrapping up the Garden workshop at Brucemore. An intimate group of home gardeners attended and all were eager to ask questions and share their knowledge about plants and getting the garden ready for winter. My only disappointment of the evening was running out of sunlight. However, the dwindling sun was the perfect interruption in our lovely walk through the Brucemore formal garden. Experiencing the late season colors of the flowers and foliage as the orange sky glowed behind the trees to the west was a beautiful site most do not get the opportunity to experience. Perhaps we will have another gorgeous day to experience the estate in all its autumn glory in the upcoming Fall Landscape Hike…


     At 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 18, David Morton, Brucemore’s Assistant Gardener and I will lead guests on the annual Fall Landscape Hike. David developed the concept for the seasonal hikes as he and I were oohing and aahing over every color change, floating cloud and shadow cast that we came across during his first autumn employed at Brucemore.  The hikes allow us to share and enjoy the 26 acres we call our “office.”  Informal and casual, topics included on the hikes are seasonal chores and preservation issues, while questions and discussions are also encouraged.  Admission is $10 per person and $7 per Brucemore member. Registration required. Space is limited, call (319) 362-7375 or register online at for further information.


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