Posts tagged gardening

Mini garden walk

The following is by Linn County Master Gardener, Claire Smith:

What a great idea, visiting other people’s gardens! Amazing!  Awesome!  (and, with planning) Affordable!    If you were gadding around and missed the Master Gardeners’ Garden Walk or if you didn’t take the plunge for the Pond Society tour, do make a concerted effort to mark your 2010 calendar to attend both! One of the stops incorporated all manner of garden art, mostly primitive farm equipment and several unusual birdhouses.  The other end of the spectrum was a beautiful English garden.  Ponds fed by babbling brooks created mesmerizing atmospheres. 

                My neighbors have even planned a mini-garden walk involving just a few families.  It’s an opportunity to get better acquainted with your neighbors and visit about something besides the weather.  It’s too late for a vegetable garden this summer, but there’s still time to start a flower garden involving the whole family.  My favorite daughter’s second garden is a family affair reaping benefits far out weighing the harvest of peas and pumpkins.   Charlie has beans on his beanstalk (Two year old Charlie planted a good share of an envelope of beans in one hill.)  Catie is planning on several jack-o-lanterns.    Daddy grills home grown potatoes, tomatoes and onions.  

The long range forecast for July is cooler and wetter weather so get in sync with Mother Nature and go for it.  New beds do need to be religiously watered this time of the year to establish root systems.  It’s okay to fertilize from now through the end of August.  Your new garden needn’t be huge.  It can be containers on the porch.  If the kids are still bugging about a pet, put in a pond and get some goldfish.  The fish we saw at the walks were huge and survived there through the winter.  Your water feature could be a whiskey barrel size container adjacent to the deck. 

Now is a good time, too, to do some rearranging.  We didn’t get the new strawberry bed organized quite soon enough this summer so I’m going to remove the weeds that have sprouted and cover the bed with mulch.  I’ll soon be transplanting several Iris and a few Hosta over to the seeder wagon area. Some of the Tiger Lilies are moving from the ditch there to surround the mailbox in the newest zeroscape area.  A horse ate the top off the sapling in that bed.   I’ll need to install a taller barrier than the garden gate that I thought was such a nifty idea.  Oh, well, the garden gate can become home to a climber in another location.  That’s the great thing about plants and gardens.  Nearly everything is portable and/or potable.

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Digging up dirt

Linn County Master Gardener Claire Smith shares the following about becoming a master gardener:    

       Do you like getting your hands dirty and your feet wet?  How about digging up dirt?  Would you wholeheartedly grovel in the ground with new friends?  Are you inquisitive about things flora? Have you ever considered becoming a Master Gardener?  From experience, I can say, it’s a great experience.  What better way to get in touch with nature than through an educational opportunity provided by Iowa State University Extension’s Master Gardener program and an opportunity to make new friends who willingly share their expertise.  The enrollment process is not daunting! If you can demonstrate that you know a little something about gardening; you are enthusiastic about acquiring new knowledge; and would eagerly commit to some volunteerism and community betterment, then this program is for you. Sure, some of the Linn County Master Gardeners can spew verbiage about hundreds of issues.  Some of us, though, still need to ask questions and do the research.  But gardeners of any type and especially Master Gardeners love to share.  In fact, our mission statement says, “the purpose of the Master Gardener program is to provide current, research-based home horticultural information and education to the citizens of Iowa through ISU Extension programs and projects.”

                What do Master Gardeners do in addition to enjoying their personal gardening passions?

Imagine helping create a children’s garden at Lowe Park in Marion.  Learn how fabulous gardens are created by assisting at the annual Garden Walk.  Contribute some time at the Winter Gardening Fair where there are outstanding keynote speakers and the opportunity to choose from dozens of classes.  Lead or scribe on the Horticulture Line to research answers to any number of telephone and walk in questions.  Have privy to updates provided directly to you by ISU plus receive an informative monthly newsletter created by Linn County Master Gardeners.

                Applications and further information are available at http://www.mastergardener.iastate.edu or call the Linn County Extension Office at 319-377-9839. Please note that the application and fee are due by Friday, July 17th.  Visit the website at www.extension.iastate.edu/linn .  Selecting “Yard and Garden” will bring a menu of articles and information about the Master Gardener program.   Go ahead, talk to any Master Gardener.  They’ll tell you to try it:  you’ll like it!

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Fun of July

Following are some of the gardening and eco-events in Eastern Iowa scheduled for July 2009. As always, if you know of other events, add it in a message below, or send an e-mail to: cindy.hadish@gazcomm.com    

 

         Wed., July 1, 12:15 p.m. – Gardening program at Cedar Rapids Library’s Bridge facility at Westdale Mall. What better way to enjoy delicious, healthy food and glorious flowers than to plant your own garden? Master gardener Larry Dawson will discuss maintaining bountiful, beautiful gardens. This Brown Bag Briefing program also includes landscaping, fall tree planting, and audience questions. Bring your sack lunch for this 30-minute program. For further information, visit the Library’s website www.crlibrary.org or call 398-5123.   

 

    Mon., July 6, 7 p.m. – Ushers Ferry Historic Village, Trees Forever’s rescheduled Liberty Tree and Champion Tree Tour. IF THE WEATHER DOES NOT COOPERATE AGAIN- the Rain-date is scheduled for the next evening July 7, 2009 at 7:00 pm at Ushers Ferry Historic Village. Email agreen@treesforever.org or call (319)373-0650 x 25 with your RSVP.

      Wed. July 8, 7 p.m., Indian Creek Nature Center, 6665 Otis Rd. SE, FROM MULTIFLORA ROSE TO BLUESTEM: 30 YEARS OF CHANGE: Members-$3; NONMEMBER- $5;VOLUNTEERS –FREE. Rich Patterson has seen much change in his 30 years at the Nature Center. The landscape has changed greatly–for the better–over those years. Join him on a two-mile walk at a leisurely pace to parts of the Nature Center more ecologically healthy because of the dedicated work of Nature Center staff and volunteers. CALL 362-0664 TO REGISTER.

   Wed., July 8, 5:30-8 p.m., Funky Garden Art, Cedar Valley Habitat for Humanity ReStore, 725 N. Center Point Rd., Hiawatha. Make one-of-a-kind garden art out of odds and ends at the ReStore. Fee: $25. Call (319) 294-1500.

Thurs., July 9, 7-9 p.m., Indian Creek Nature Center, BEGINNING BEE CLASS: SESSION I– MEMBER – $55/SERIES; NONMEMBER – $85/SERIES. This eight session series is designed for individuals serious about starting a beekeeping hobby. The series will take the participant through the annual cycle of beekeeping from establishing a hive to harvesting and marketing the honey produced. The class members will be actively involved in learning activities by working with the hives at the Indian Creek Nature Center. Call 362-0664 to register.

     Sat., July 11, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Friends of Hickory Hill Park will have a garden walk in Iowa City. The walk benefits the group’s stewardship fund for maintenance and restoration work. Four gardens will be on the tour, plus tornado recovery areas on Hotz and Rochester avenues. Speakers will be at each site to discuss prairie plantings, Backyard Abundance and organic lawn care.  Start at 1167 E. Jefferson Street to purchase tickets and pick up a map. Cost is $10 per person or $8 per person if you bike or walk to 1167 Jefferson St. Families are $15. To volunteer or for more information, phone 319-338-5331. To make a donation:  Anyone unable to attend the Garden Walk but wishing to make a contribution should make the check out to LEAF and mail it to:  LEAF, P.O. Box 1681, Iowa City, IA  52244-1681.

    Sat., July 11, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Indian Creek Nature Center’s NATURAL HISTORY WALKING TOUR OF DOWNTOWN CEDAR RAPIDS. MEMBER -$3; NONMEMBER – $5; CHIDREN:$1. Join Indian Creek Nature Center’s naturalist on an urban adventure to investigate the fascinating cultural and natural history of downtown wildlife. Learn about the pre-settlement ecology of the downtown area and how it has changed with urbanization. This 90-minute tour begins at the old Cedar Rapids Public Library parking lot between 5th and 6th Avenues SE on 1st Street. Stroll along the Cedar Lake Trail near the library to discover native plants growing along the Red Cedar River and learn about urban wildlife along streets and buildings as you walk to Greene Square Park and then to return to the library. CALL 362-0664 TO REGISTER.

    Sun., July 12, 1-4 p.m.,  The Fairfax Parks Committee will have a walk, rain or shine, at five Fairfax gardens. Iowa State University Extension master gardeners will be available at the gardens to answer questions. The walk includes the garden of Megan McConnell Hughes, which is featured on the cover of the summer 2009 Country Gardens magazine. Tickets can be purchased at Fairfax State Savings Bank or Guaranty Bank in Fairfax. Tickets can also be purchased the day of the event at the Fairfax North welcome sign at Williams Boulevard and Prairie View Drive. Cost is $5 for adults and $10 for families. Proceeds will be used to buy playground equipment for Hawks Ridge Park.

    Sun., July 12, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Project GREEN will have a garden walk in Iowa City. If you want to know how to garden with deer, this is the walk for you. Four large gardens at the edge of woodlands are featured on the walk, including one property that covers nearly four acres. All gardens are located north of Interstate 80, off Dubuque Street. Cost is $5 for adults. Children under 16 are admitted free.  Start at any of the following sites for a map, which becomes your ticket for the other gardens: Pat and Stan Podhajsky, 3817 Cedar Drive NE; Maggie VanOel, 8 Oak Park Lane NE;   Twila and Dick Hobbs, 9 Oak Park Lane NE; Bill and Michelle Welter, 15 Oak Park Place NE. Wear comfortable walking shoes. The weather may be hot and buggy, so bring along a bottle of water and bug spray.  To learn more, see: www.projectgreen.org              

     Sun., July 12, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Eastern Iowa Pond Society’s pond tour. Whether you are a serious water gardener, Koi keeper, casual pond owner, want-to-be pond owner, or just plain love flowers and water, you won’t want to miss the chance to view the ponds in this year’s 13th annual pond tour. As usual, pond owners and club members will be available at each pond to answer questions. Will also have a plant and small art/craft sale at one of the pond locations. This year’s tour will feature beautiful ponds in the Cedar Rapids/Solon/Swisher areas. Tickets and maps are $5.00 for adults (kids under 12 are free) and are available at all pond sites with all proceeds going back to the community for area landscape and beautification projects.  A good place to start might be 131 Rosedale Rd SE, Cedar Rapids or 3682 Douglas Dr. NE Solon. For more information please call Jackie Allsup 319-934-3665 or visit: www.EIPS.org

   Mon., July 13, 7-8:30 p.m. – Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center, 10260 Morris Hills Rd., Toddville. “True Lilies–Queen of the Gardens,” illustrated lily presentation by lily expert Wanda Lunn of Cedar Rapids. Lunn is an accredited North American Lily Society Lily Judge and just returned from judging at the NALS National Lily Show in Missouri. She will showcase many different true lily cultivars for sun & shade and give gardening hints for growing them properly. Cost: $2.50. Master Gardeners can count it for instruction hours.

     Mon., July 13 – Fri., July 31 – Indian Creek Nature Center, 6665 Otis Rd. SE, OWAA PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBIT. The Outdoor Writers Association of America Photography Contest winners will be exhibited. The work of noted wildlife photographers features both black-and-white and color photographs. Visit during regular business hours: Monday-Friday 9 AM-4 PM & Saturdays 11 AM-4 PM.

 Wed., July 15, 6-9 p.m., Noelridge Park open gardens, corner of Collins Road and Council Street NE. Tour the gardens with Noelridge staff and Friends of Noelridge volunteers. Activities will be available for children.

   Thurs., July 16- Sat., July 18 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Prairiewoods, 120 E. Boyson Road, Hiawatha. Solar Energy Workshop. This three-day workshop will provide information and experience in installing solar panels to generate electricity. The workshop includes hands-on exposure to assembling pole-mounted solar racks, installing solar modules and wiring of the entire system including modules, disconnects, inverters and grid tie. Approximately half the class will be in the classroom learning how solar energy works. Classroom instruction includes the basics of photovoltaics, racks, solar modules, inverters, basic electricity, design processes and safety. Instructor is Dennis Pottratz, Iowa’s first nationally certified photovoltaic installer (NABCEP). His company, GoSolar, has been in business in Decorah since 1996. He has designed and installed more than 100 working systems. Dennis is a frequent speaker and workshop presenter with I-RENEW. Fee: $250 for the first person from an organization or family; $200 for a second person. Fee includes daily lunch and handouts. Lodging is available at $45 per night. See: www.prairiewoods.org

       Fri., July 17 to Sun., July 19, Seed Savers Exchange 29th annual Summer Conference and Campout at Heritage Farm, Decorah. Organic farmer, author, and teacher, Eliot Coleman will be keynote speaker at 7 p.m. July 18. Other featured speakers include Barbara Damrosch, Coleman’s wife and co-owner of Four Season Farm in Harborside, Maine, and Mike McGrath, host of the popular nationally syndicated show “You Bet Your Garden” on National Public Radio. Coleman is author of “The New Organic Grower,” “Four Season Harvest,” and the newly published “Winter Harvest Handbook”.  The conference will also include several workshops on various aspects of gardening and farming, a panel discussion, field demonstrations, heritage seed swap, lots of good local food, inspiring conversation and even a barn dance. Local vendors will be selling products on Saturday morning. The cost for the weekend conference is $75 for Seed Saver members and $100 for the general public.  One-day only registration is also available. Registration details and a list of scheduled events are available at www.seedsavers.org or by calling Seed Savers Exchange at (563) 382-5990. 

   Sat., July 18, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Nature Photography class at Linn County Extension, 3279 7th Avenue, Marion. The class will be taught by Jim Messina, a professional photographer with many years of experience in photography and teaching experience.  Topics include exposure, metering techniques, tonality natural lighting, photographic equipment, digital photography and macro photography.  Teaching method includes slide presentations using dual projectors emphasizing comparisons with several examples.  The examples provide a framework of understanding basic principles and practical solutions in difficult field situations.  Extensive handouts are provided for the workshop topics.  You can bring your camera. Register by at the Extension office or call 319-377-9839.  Cost is $ 35.00.  Payment must be made when registering.  Registration will close on July 10.  

     Sat., July 18, 7:30 a.m. to noon, “Green” Day at Cedar Rapids Downtown Farmers Market. Area environmental organizations will have space set up at the farmers market.

      Sat., July 18, 9 a.m. to noon, Prairiewoods, Mulch Sheet Beds for Flower and Vegetable Gardens. This workshop will include classroom and hands-on experience building mulch sheet beds for soil used in gardens. Mulch sheet bedding is a permaculture technique used to enrich the soil and decrease weeding. This is a sustainable way to work the soil while retaining water and and to maintain the soil without tilling and the use of chemicals. This workshop will not be held is there is heavy rain. Fee: $10

     Sat., July 18, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. – Daylily and true lily open garden at Wanda Lunn’s home, 526 Bezdek Dr. NW, in Cedar Rapids. Lunn said this will be the height of daylily blooms & the larger lilliums, as well as many other summer perennials.  She will be available to answer questions on cultivation of all these glorious flowers. Lunn says with all the buds, loaded stems & stalks, this promises to be a wonderful summer bloom!

   Sat., July 18, 11 a.m. to noon – There’s nothing like an Iowa prairie in summer. Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center near Toddville is hosting a Guided Prairie Loop Trail Hike.  Participants will learn about the native grasses, wildflowers and prairie wildlife. The prairie loop trail contains an area of sand prairie and a beautiful view of the wetlands below. Meet the naturalist at the kiosk in front of the center. Donations accepted.

    Tues., July 21, 1-2 p.m., Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center, 10260 Morris Hills Rd., Toddville.  Toad Adobe! (Repeat from June 23.) OK, so not everyone finds toads attractive. However, a single toad can consume about 110 beetles, slugs, moths, armyworms and other bugs in a day! Meet our live toad. Make a house for a local amphibian to hang out in your yard. House is made of a clay pot that will be decorated with paint. For all ages. Young children must be accompanied by an adult. Register by July 18. Cost is $5 per toad house. Call (319)892-6485.

   Tues., July 21, 6-7:30 p.m. – The Linn County Conservation Department will hold a public program about turtles at Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center near Toddville.  A naturalist will debunk myths about turtles and show a variety of live turtles.  Please register by July 20 online at www.lincountyparks.com or register by calling 892-6485. Cost: $2.50/adult, $1/child or $5/family.

    Fri., July 24 – Aug. 2, Rummage in the Ramp at Chauncey Swan Ramp, Gilbert and Washington Streets, Iowa City. Ten-day-long garage sale benefitting several area non-profit groups aimed at waste reduction and affordability (most items are priced under $20). Items for donation should be dropped off at the ramp on sale days.

     Sat., July 25, 1 p.m., Indian Creek Nature Center, GREEN AND SIMPLE: COOKING WITH A SOLAR OVEN. MEMBER -$5; NONMEMBER -$8. Create a simple solar oven for backyard cooking. Collect heat energy from the sun to cook simple, tasty meals. Take home basic recipes and techniques. Sample solar-baked foods. REGISTER BY 4 PM ON THURSDAY, JULY 23. CALL 362-0664 TO REGISTER.

     Sat., July 25 and Sun., July 26, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Garden of Zora and Paul Ronan, 5031 North Marion Road, Central City, gardens open for viewing. The garden of Zora and Paul Ronan is located in rural Linn County.  The garden covers approximately 1 acre surrounding the house.  The remaining 32 acres uses no-till cultivation and wild-life habitat to conserve the soil and prevent erosion. Herbicides are used for weed control but no insecticides are used in crop production.  Over the last 10 years the soil has become healthy again.  Twelve years ago the soil was lifeless and heavily fortified with chemicals and we were never visited by wildlife.  Now, earth worms, birds, critters and varmints both are in abundance.  (Some are more welcome than others.) You may find gopher and moles disturbances in the grass, so walk carefully.  Directions:  From I-380:  Exit at Toddville.  Travel east on County Home Road to Alburnett Road.  Turn north on Alburnett Road.  Turn east on Justins Road (gravel).  Justins Road dead ends at North Marion. Turn north and the garden is on the right. From:  Highway 13: Travel north on Highway 13 to Central City.  Turn west on E-16 (Center Point-Central City Road).  Turn north on North Marion Road (gravel) and travel 1.6 miles.  Garden is on the right. From Marion:  Travel north on North Tenth Street.  Tenth Street changes name to North Marion and becomes gravel when it crosses County Home Road.  Since North Marion is gravel for quite a long way, it is better to travel north on either North Alburnett Road or Highway 13.

    Sat., July 25 and Sun., July 26 – Culver’s Garden Center & Greenhouse in Marion is planning a free Do-It-Yourself Weekend, open to the public. During the event, customers will be able to view displays and collect information on a number of home, lawn and garden topics. In addition, kids can enjoy decorating Culver’s grounds with sidewalk chalk. Free summertime refreshments will be available. Information about Culver’s Garden Center & Greenhouse and Culver’s Lawn & Landscaping, Inc. is available online at www.culverslandscape.com or by calling (319) 377-4195.

     Sun., July 26, 2-3 p.m. – “Slimy Scaly Guided Hike,” The Linn County Conservation Department is hosting an afternoon hike at Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center near Toddville to view reptiles and amphibians basking in wetlands and or on sandy trails.  A naturalist will provide participants with a new appreciation of these animals. Meet her at the kiosk in front of the center.  This is a free program.

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Gardening addiction

The following is by Linn County Master Gardener Claire Smith:

                 Over the road and across the highway to the garden center I go.  The car knows the way, never to stray………………..   I told myself I already have enough plants for this year.  Can gardening be addictive?  Unfortunately I read somewhere that June is the time to walk around the yard looking for bare spots or drab areas that could use a little sprucing up with annuals.  And June is still prime time for planting annuals whose duty is to mask those early blooming perennials and waning spring bulbs.   I‘m going scoot out of here early in the day, returning quickly and maybe nobody will notice.  Morning is the best time to plant anyway, ahead of the hot daytime sun.  Nobody will discern me watering the new plantings daily because the hanging baskets get a drink daily and the container plants every other day. My potting soil didn’t have fertilizer in it, so I’m going to try a starter solution of fertilizer when I introduce these new plants into the landscape.               The next task is weeding, also a morning chore.  It keeps me out of the hot daytime sun.  Do you agree that weeding is a bother?  Not many folks enjoy it.  Pesticides limit weeds but also discourage bees, butterflies and birds.  Our Creeping Charlie is so aggressive. Hopefully, a pesticide will slow its pace, but a layer of hardwood mulch is an alternative to commercial weed killers. 

          Grooming beds certainly dresses them up.  Deadheading, –  removing fading flowers –  improves a plant’s appearance and encourages continual bloom.  I bought a pair of good garden shears this spring. They sure make a clean cut. I’ll remove the flower buds or flowering stem back to the first set of leaves.

                Participating in an exercise class several times each week keeps my doctor happy, but playing in the dirt is certainly therapeutic.  The dog and I and sometimes a cat or two could just spend hours and hours in the gardens.  Flower or vegetable gardens each create a soothing no worry-be happy atmosphere.

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Your questions: native lawn seed and “dead weight” compost

Homegrown readers are sending in their questions. Does anyone have answers for these two?

 Jody from Cedar Rapids sent in the first one:

 Hi Cindy – I love your site:) I live in C.R. and I have a question – where do I go to find native lawn grass mix?? I have a new very large area to seed! Thanks!

 Dikkie Schoggen asked the following:

 Rains daily for months has turned the compost pile into dead weight mud. We have composted for over thirty years and never had anything like this. How to rescue the mud and return it to useable compost?

 I thought the answer for Dikkie could be working brown material, such as dry leaves, into the compost pile. Any other suggestions? And does anyone know where Jody might find a native lawn grass mix in the Cedar Rapids area? And what might that be??

 Please answer in a comment below. If you have other gardening questions, you can ask those in a comment, as well.

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Much to do in May

Following are gardening/environmental events scheduled in Eastern Iowa for May 2009. If you know of others, send an email to: cindy.hadish@gazcomm.com

Friday, May 1, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Ton of Fun Earth Day celebration and re-opening of SWAP shop, Cedar Rapids/Linn County landfill, 1954 County Home Road, Marion, includes “dumpster dive” for customers dropping off items that shows what people would have thrown away without environmental intervention. See: http://www.solidwasteagency.org/

Friday, May 1, 7 p.m., Prairiewoods, 120 E. Boyson Rd., Hiawatha, Farm Sanctuary President and co-founder Gene Baur, discusses his work and national best-selling book, Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds about Animals and Food. He will provide firsthand accounts of conditions on today’s farms, outline efforts to combat the current system, and put forward a vision for a healthier and more sustainable food system. For more information, visit www.genebaur.org or call Prairiewoods at (319) 395.6700.  Fee: $10. His book will be available at Prairiewoods prior to and on the day of the event. See: www.prairiewoods.org

Friday, May 1 to Sunday, May 3, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Solar Energy Worshop, Prairiewoods. Dennis Pottratz, Iowa’s first nationally certified photovoltaic installer, will lead hands-on workshop. Fee: $250, includes lunch each day. NOTE: This has been postponed. See: www.prairiewoods.org

Saturday, May 2, 9 a.m. to noon, Indian Creek Nature Center, 6665 Otis Rd. SE, Cedar Rapids, Guild’s annual spring plant sale with wildflowers, prairie grasses, perennials, garden art and more. See: http://indiancreeknaturecenter.org/

Sunday, May 3, 2 p.m., Celebrating Land and People, Indian Creek Nature Center dedication of 28-acre woodland at NW corner of 44th Street and Otis Rd SE. Call (319) 362-0664 to register for this free event.

Sunday, May 3, 2-4 p.m., Iowa City Environmental Film Festival, Iowa City Public Library, 123 South Linn St., Food Not Lawns will host a screening of The Future of Food The film offers an in-depth investigation into the genetically engineered foods that are quietly filling U.S. grocery store shelves. David Cavagnaro, photographer and board member of Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, will present additional insights into this trend toward the globalization of our food system. Backyard Abundance is hosting a community seed swap after the screening at 4 pm.  Bring seeds, if you have some to spare. Vegetable, herb and prairie seeds will all be available. See: http://www.backyardabundance.org/eventCurr.aspx?id=25

Monday, May 4, 3:30 p.m., Squaw Creek Park near Marion. Volunteers will help Trees Forever and the Linn County Conservation Board plant 100 oak trees as part of National County Government Week.  Another 100 trees will be potted up by volunteers for use in replanting flood-stricken areas of Cedar Rapids and Linn County. Supervisors Lu Barron and Brent Oleson will speak at the event, along with Shannon Ramsay, Founding President of Trees Forever, who will address the importance of trees, wetlands and prairies. The oak trees were donated to Trees Forever by IA-WIS-IL Nursery from Cascade.  Members of the Cedar Rapids Green Iowa AmeriCorps team helped dig the trees and will be at the event. For more information: call 1-800-369-1269, or see: www.TreesForever.org

 Tuesday, May 5, 7 p.m., Secrets of the Bearded Iris, Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center near Toddville. The Linn County Conservation Department is hosting a program led by  Wanda Lunn, who grows over 300 bearded iris in her Cedar Rapids garden. Her garden is one of only 40 registered Historic Iris Preservation Gardens in the United States. Wanda will share the varied types and colors of bearded iris as well as secrets to growing them well in Iowa.  Cost is $2.50/adult, $1/child or $5/family.  Call (319) 892-6450 or (319) 892-6485.

Saturday, May 9

–          8 a.m. – 1 p.m., Cedar Rapids Garden Club, Plant & Garden Sale, CornerHouse Gallery & Frame, 2753 First Ave. SE, annuals and perennials specially grown for you by Piersons Florist, Occasions Florist and Fairfax Nursery, as well as Garden Club members, designer patio-ready pots, herbs, heirloom tomatoes, new and gently used garden items, recipes, and exciting presentations. Proceeds will go to support community beautification projects.

–          9 a.m., Cedar Valley Iris & Daylily Society annual spring sale, Penn Meadows Park Gazebo, North Liberty. Named cultivars available, mostly $4-$10. Proceeds used to purchase plants for future sales. See: http://www.cvids.org/May2009Sale.html

–          9 a.m. to noon,  Brucemore Plant Sale,  2160 Linden Drive SE, Cedar Rapids, features a wide array of perennials and annual plants from Brucemore’s greenhouse. Back by popular demand, the Brucemore gardeners have prepared a variety of topiaries and hanging baskets. Plant sale prices range from $3 to $15, with all proceeds benefiting garden and landscape restoration projects at Brucemore.  The garden staff will be on hand to provide their expert advice on the selection, placement and care of plants.  Also, step inside the Brucemore Museum Store where a variety of garden books and merchandise will be available for purchase.  Call (319) 362-7375 or visit www.brucemore.org

–          9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Project GREEN garden fair, Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City. Sale of assortment of trees, shrubs, vines, and sunny and shade perennials, plus local experts will be available to answer garden questions including Mark Vitosh, DNR forester; Terry Robinson, Iowa City forester; Tim Thompson, DNR wildlife biologist; Jim Scheib, member of Eastern Iowa Bird Watch; Master Gardeners of Johnson County; a garlic mustard specialist; and Jennifer Jordan, the IC recycling coordinator, who will be available for information and questions relating to the IC Community Compost program. See: http://www.projectgreen.org/gardenfair.htm

Sunday, May 10, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Noelridge Park Greenhouse open house, Cedar Rapids, will include sale of hanging flower baskets for $20/$30 and $40 as a fundraiser, plus gardening book sale. Also information from Neighbor to Neighbor Sharing Plants, bee keepers, Eastern Iowa Bonsai Society, Butterfliz of Iowa, bookmark making and the Indian Creek Nature Center.

Monday, May 11, noon to 1 p.m., Prairiewoods, 120 E. Boyson Rd., Hiawatha. Environmental luncheon on heirloom seeds. $10 for meal. See: www.prairiewoods.org

Thursday, May 14, 6-8 p.m., Prairiewoods, 120 E. Boyson Rd., Hiawatha. Exploring Wild Edibles, $6/person or $10/family. Bring a small container to collect plants. See: www.prairiewoods.org

Friday, May 15, 4-7 p.m. and Saturday, May 16, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Annual Friends of Hickory Hill Park plant sale, backyard at 1167 E. Jefferson St., Iowa City. Plant donations needed, as well as help before and during sale. Sale will include perennials including coneflowers, phlox, daylilies, asters, daisies, hostas, Lily of the Valley, wild ginger, celadine poppy,  herbs and groundcovers as well as native plants.  Some house plants may be included. For more information or to volunteer,  call Joan at 319-338-5331.

Saturday, May 16, 8 a.m. to noon, Linn County Extension parking lot, 3279 Seventh Ave., Marion, Linn County Master Gardeners plant sale, featuring many kinds of perennials (both for sun and or shade), and many varieties of hosta and daylilies, also wildflowers, groundcovers, ornamental grasses, annuals and more. Plants come from Master Gardeners’ gardens, where they were carefully dug and potted, and tenderly taken care of until the sale. Master Gardeners will help you choose the plants just right for you and Plant Doctors will answer your gardening questions. New this year will be a container potting / design service. Bring your own container and the experts will create a beautiful combination of plants for sun or shade. We will have plants available for containers, or bring any of your own you wish to incorporate in the arrangement.  See: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/linn/events/

Saturday, May 16, 8 a.m. to noon, Johnson County 4-H Fairgrounds, south side of Iowa City,  Johnson County Master Gardeners host a flea market and plant sale, featuring an assortment of annuals, perennials, houseplants, bulbs, tubers and seedlings.  There will also be a great assortment of new and previously used lawn, yard and garden tools and equipment.  Donated items can be dropped off at the food booth on the fairgrounds Thursday, May 14, or Friday, May 15.   

Saturday, May 16, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Sunday, May 17, 1-5 p.m., First Annual Grant Wood Scenic Byway Art & Culture Tour.  Combines love of art with a scenic drive through Jackson and Jones counties. Get to know the regional art and artists of the Grant Wood Scenic Byway with art galleries, wineries and artists in special locations. See: http://www.iowadot.gov/iowasbyways/index.aspx or contact Linda Muller, (563)652-5104.

Saturday, May 16- Sunday, May 17, Urban permaculture for land, yards and gardens, Prairiewoods. Learn how to begin applying permaculture techniques around your home and in your community. Permaculture is a design system for creating sustainable environments. This workshop will include two days of classroom and hands-on experiences. Information and techniques will include ecological patterns, edge, energy flow, zones and sectors, soil, trees, wind breaks and shelter belts, composting, water and landscape, mulch beds and gardening. Instructors are Grover Stock and the staff from Big Green Summer. Fee: $120 for both days, includes a permaculture book and lunch both days. Scholarships are available; reduced rates for more than one person from a family or organization. See: www.prairiewoods.org

Tuesday, May 26 and Thursday, May 28, 6 p.m. or Saturday, May 30, 10:30 a.m., Brucemore’s Historic Landscape Tour, 2160 Linden Drive SE, Cedar Rapids.  Experience the passion influential historic landscape architect, O.C. Simonds, had for retaining the natural elements of the land, using native vegetation, and applying his knowledge of nature and artistic principles to achieve his picturesque style. Participants will learn the progression of the Brucemore landscape from 1886 to present, the importance of the estate’s architecture on the landscape, and hear the challenges facing the continuing preservation of the estate. Contact Brucemore at (319) 362-7375 or visit www.brucemore.org

May 31-June 14, Permaculture Design Certification, BGS Campus, Fairfield. Instructors are Doug Bullock, Lonnie Gamble, Grover Stock, and dozens of guest presenters. Cost is $1,200 if you register by May 1.  See: http://www.biggreensummer.org/page/Permaculture+Design+Certification+2009

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Getting back to Earth

To some of us who grew up gardening, the process comes naturally. How can you not know how deep to plant a radish seed or realize you have to wait until the danger of frost has passed to plant your tomatoes? Actually, I’ve heard from people who grew up gardening and despise it now. That includes a couple editors here at The Gazette, who prefer to stay as far away as possible from watering cans, trowels, or anything else that reminds them of the back-breaking labor of their youth. 

   But, as mentioned in  today’s (4/19/09) Gazette article: http://www.gazetteonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090419/NEWS/704199992/1002/NEWS

more and more people are moving toward gardening, as a way to help the Earth and save money on food budgets in these tough economic times. To that end, Iowa State University Extension has come up with a great beginner’s guide to home gardening, especially tailored for Iowa.

 

Even experienced gardeners will find helpful hints on beets, potatoes, squash and numerous other veggies, along with everyone’s favorite: weed control.

 

You can find the guide here: http://www.ipm.iastate.edu/ipm/hortnews/2009/4-8/introduction.html

 

 

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