Posts tagged landscaping

A look at rain gardens

Gazette photographer Brian Ray takes photos of Lucy Hershberger in the rain garden at Forever Green Garden Center near North Liberty (photo, Cindy Hadish)

Gazette photographer Brian Ray takes photos of Lucy Hershberger in the rain garden at Forever Green Garden Center near North Liberty (photo, Cindy Hadish)

Our flood anniversary tribute continues with a look at rain gardens. Several people I interviewed for the article in the Sunday, June 14, 2009, Gazette said while rain gardens would not have prevented last year’s devastating floods in Iowa, they could have helped. Lucy Hershberger, co-owner of Forever Green Landscaping & Garden Center in Coralville showed me the well-kept rain garden in front of their site on Forevergreen Road, near North Liberty. Yellow and blue flag iris, native grasses, coneflower, liatris and dwarf arctic blue willow were planted when the rain garden was installed in September. It’s obvious that Hershberger’s  enthusiasm goes beyond trying to sell customers on a new fad. She has conducted free seminars on rain gardens for people to learn more and to better take care of their little corner of the environment. Hershberger remembers the interest in rain gardens and rain barrels in the early 1990s, at that time because of costs associated with watering. “Now it’s because of the awareness of stormwater management,” she said. “It’s not cost-driven.”

Blue flag iris

Blue flag iris

The following list of plants is from Iowa’s Rain Garden Design and Installation Manual Native Plant Favorites for Soils with Good Percolation Rates:

Common Name Height Comments

Blue grama 1-2 ft makes a good border

Bottle gentian 1 ft novel purple flowers

Butterfly milkweed 1-4 ft emerges late spring; no milky sap

Columbine 1-2 ft orange flower stalk may add 1 ft

Culver’s root 3-6 ft can get tall; for moderatley moist soils

Fox sedge 1-3 ft may not tolerate drought

Golden alexander 1-3 ft yellow dill-like flower, mod moist soils

Little bluestem 2 ft nice rusty color all winter

Mountain mint 1-3 ft for moist soils

Nodding onion 1-2 ft for moderately moist soils

Pale purple coneflower 4 ft most overused native; only in S. Iowa

Prairie blazing star 2-5 ft for moist soils

Prairie smoke 1 ft makes a good border

Sideoats grama 2-3 ft red anthers; not as tidy as little bluestem

Silky aster 1-2 ft loved by rabbits

Websites with native plant lists for rain gardens:

http://prrcd.org/inl/recommended_plants.htm

http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/runoff/rg/plants/PlantListing.html

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April events (and two late March additions)

Area events for late March/April 2009. If you know of others in the coming weeks, add a comment below or send an email to cindy.hadish@gazcomm.com

 

Sat. March 28 – 1-3 p.m., Grant Wood Elementary School gym, 1930 Lakeside Dr., Iowa City – Building your home’s curb appeal: free landscaping seminar shows what it takes. Now that spring has arrived, you may have noticed that the nicer the weather gets, the worse your lawn starts to look. A little yard work may help spruce things up. If you’re interested in learning more about how to improve the appearance of your property and the curb appeal of your home, plan to attend a series of informational presentations. There is no charge to attend, and door prizes will be given away each hour. Presentations will include Curb Appeal, Easy-to-Care-For Landscaping, and information on the Iowa City Area Association of Realtors (ICAAR) Tool Shed, a garden tool-loaning program.  This event is sponsored by ICAAR Fair Housing Ambassadors, Iowa City Landscaping, Grant Wood Neighborhood Association and the City of Iowa City Neighborhood Services Division. It was funded in part by a City of Iowa City PIN grant (Program for Improving Neighborhoods) awarded to the Grant Wood Neighborhood Association.
For more information, contact Marcia Bollinger, Neighborhood Services Coordinator, at 356-5237 or e-mail Marcia-bollinger@iowa-city.org.

 

Tues., March 31 – 1-3 p.m., Converting a traditional planter to adapt to no-tilled fields isn’t as costly and difficult as some might think. The Iowa Learning Farm is hosting a planter clinic at Kirkwood Community College, Cedar Rapids, to demonstrate how to convert to a no-till planter. The clinic will include a presentation by local NRCS staff about the benefits of no-till and residue management, a demonstration by Mark Hanna, Iowa State University Extension Agricultural Engineer, on how to convert to a conventional planter to a no-till planter and a panel discussion with farmers who practice no-till. The clinic will be held at 6301 Kirkwood Blvd. SW at the Tippie Beef Education Center arena, located on the southeast side of campus.  The planter is the key for no-tillage as it is likely the only machinery that moves the soil for seed placement. Seed depth and seed-to-soil contact are keys to emergence when planting through residue, says Hanna. The benefits of no-till are numerous. Equipment needs are minimal, labor costs are reduced, and there is less soil compaction when field passes are eliminated. Also organic matter builds in the soil over time. The farmer panel at this clinic may address some of these issues and how they overcame the barriers to no-till. The planter clinic is open to the public and there is no charge for the event. Registration begins at 12:30.  To RSVP or for more information about the clinic, contact Farm Conservation Liaison Erin Harpenau, 515/509-4768, email: erinharp@iastate.edu

Wed. April 1 –  6 p.m.,  Hiawatha Public Library, 150 W. Willman St., Starting Garden Transplants. Linn County Master Gardener Zora Ronan discusses growing vegetable and flower transplants successfully at home. Call (319) 393-1414.

Thurs., April 2 – 7 p.m., Tiny Gardens, Lots of Food. Are you interested in less expensive food that is also fresher and safer? Join Judy Kash at the Indian Creek Nature Center, 6665 Otis Rd. SE, Cedar Rapids, for suggestions and encouragement for growing some of your own food—even with limited garden space, time, money, and experience. Explore ideas for combining production and beauty in your new edible landscape. For questions or to register, call 362-0664. Member fee for this program is $5, nonmembers are $8.

 

Fri., April 3- Sat., April 4, The largest All-Iowa horticulture exposition in 100 years will be held in Ottumwa, Iowa at the Bridge View Conference Center.  The exposition, billed as the state fair of horticulture, is sponsored and coordinated by the Iowa State Horticultural Society, and supported by over 20 in-state horticulture associations and Iowa State University Extension. Nearly 100 vendors are expected to exhibit plants, art, garden supplies, and lawn equipment.  A wine village featuring Iowa wineries is also planned.  Additionally, the Expo will feature three concurrent educational seminar tracks featuring experts from around the state and region.  Topics will cover the gamut of horticultural specialties including honey production, growing herbaceous perennials, panel sessions of wine and arboriculture experts, rain gardens, organic lawn care, sustainability in the home garden, children’s gardening, and much more.  The Expo will offer anyone, novice to professional to engage in Iowa’s diverse and vibrant horticulture industry. Elvin McDonald, renowned horticultural author and former editor-at-large for Better Homes & Gardens® will be the keynote speaker for the inaugural All-Iowa Horticulture Exposition on April 3.  His lecture “Why I Love to Garden” will begin at 10:00 AM. Twenty-four breakout sessions on Friday and Saturday will offer attendees a wide variety of topical information that showcases the diversity of Iowa horticulture and gardening.  Top speakers for these sessions include Susan Appleget Hurst, senior associate editor at Better Homes & Gardens® and Kathleen Ziemer, known throughout the area as “the butterfly lady”.  A number of ISU Extension personnel will also be present including Dr. Jeff Iles, Dr. Eldon Everhart, Dr. Cindy Haynes, Dr. Patrick O’Malley, Dr. Nick Christians, Dr. Kathleen Delate, Andy Larson, and Dennis Portz.  Please visit www.iowahort.org for more information about speakers, topics, and times.  Single and two-day registration packages are available.  Visit www.iowahort.org for registration forms or contact your local ISU Extension Office.  For more information call 641-683-6260.

Sun., April 5 – 2 p.m., Chickens in the Yard. Before the advent of industrial agriculture and long distance food shipping, many families kept small flocks of chickens in backyards… even in the city. Join Indian Creek Nature Center Director Rich Patterson to learn how you can do the same. “In this day and age when incomes are stretched thin and costs are high the Nature Center is hosting a series of programs that may help people become more self sufficient in food,” said Patterson. Discover how to convert table scraps and garden weeds into delicious eggs. Learn the ins and outs of keeping a few chickens for fun and food. The member fee for this program is $5, nonmember fee is $8. Please call 362-0664 with any questions or to register for the program.

Tues., April 7 – 6:30-8:30 p.m., Using Prairie Wildflowers and Native Grasses in Iowa Landscapes, Kirkwood Community College, Cedar Hall Room 234, 6301 Kirkwood Blvd SW, Cedar Rapids. Neil Diboll will present the process of establishing prairie gardens and meadows using either plants or seeds, in both small and large venues.  He will highlight the top prairie wildflower and grasses for landscape use, along with specific step by step procedures for achieving success.  Diboll is a Prairie Ecologist for Prairie Nursery and produces native plants and seeds and designs native landscapes.  Since he began in 1982, he as devoted his efforts to championing the use of prairie plants, as well as native trees, shrubs and wetland plants, in contemporary American landscapes.  The session is free.  See web site: www.extension.iastate.edu/linn

Wed. April 8 – 6 p.m., Hiawatha Public Library, Garden Lighting. Why only enjoy the beauty during the day? You don’t have to be an electrician to be able to enhance your garden in the evening!  Linn County Master Gardener Deb Walser will discuss placement, types of lighting, and transformer options – let there be lite!

 

 

 

Wed. April 8- 8 a.m.-7 p.m. and Thurs. April 9, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Mount Vernon. Come get dirty down on the farm while learning from an expert how to construct a hoophouse. Practical Farmers of Iowa is hosting a two day hoophouse training build workshop at Laura Krouse’s Abbe Hills Farm near Mount Vernon. Adam Montri will lead the workshop. Hoophouses are structures that extend the season on fruit and vegetable farms by providing a protected environment. This training build will address hoophouse construction through an actual build of a 35 foot by 96 foot double poly hoophouse. Participants will learn techniques and tips to efficiently and effectively build a hoophouse, and will have opportunities to ask questions related to design and construction of the hoophouse as well as how to grow vegetables 12 months out of the year without supplemental light or heating. Wednesday will start with a light breakfast at 8:00 a.m., and the workshop will begin at 8:30. Participants will break at noon for lunch. Meals and refreshments will be provided, including dinner at 7:00 p.m. when work is done for the day. Thursday will commence at 8:00 a.m. with a light breakfast. The workshop begins at 8:30. Lunch will be served at noon, and the field day will end at 4:30. Adam Montri is the Outreach Coordinator for the Michigan State University Student Organic Farm. He works with farmers around the state on year-round vegetable production in hoophouses through on-farm economic research projects, one-on-one production consultations, and hoophouse training builds in rural and urban sites. He and his wife Dru and daughter Lydia own and operate Ten Hens Farm, a year-round farm, in Bath, MI.  Laura Krouse and her summer workers on Abbe Hills Farm produce vegetables for a 200-family CSA from June through October. She hopes the addition of the hoophouse will extend the garden season until Christmas. Laura also grows seed for an open pollinated variety of corn that has been selected on the 72-acre farm since 1903. A number of soil conservation and water quality practices have been established, including a restored upland wetland surrounded by native prairie. Primarily chemical-free practices are used to manage soil fertility and pests. Directions to Abbe Hills Farm: 825 Abbe Hills Road, Mount Vernon. From Highway 30 and Highway 1 south of Mt. Vernon: Go north at the 4-way stop of Highways 30 and 1. Go uptown to the stoplight. Turn left and go west to 8th Ave/ X20. You will be in front of Cornell College. Turn right and go north a little more than 1 mile out of town. Turn left and go west on Abbe Hills Road a little more than 1 mile. There are two red sheds on the north side of the road (and soon to be a big HOOPHOUSE). The address is 825 Abbe Hills Road. From Highway 1 north of Mt. Vernon: At the stoplight in downtown Mt. Vernon, turn right and go west to 8th Ave/ X20. You will be in front of Cornell College. Turn right and go north a little more than 1 mile out of town. Turn left and go west on Abbe Hills Road a little more than 1 mile. There are two red sheds on the north side of the road (and soon to be a big HOOPHOUSE). The address is 825 Abbe Hills Road. This field day is free, and everybody is welcome. RSVP is required by April 3 to Sally Worley, sally@practicalfarmers.org, (515)232-5661.

Fri., April 10 – 8:30 p.m., Spring Moon Walk, Indian Creek Nature Center. Enjoy the smells, sounds, and sights of a springtime evening on the trails. Walk to a high point of the Nature Center to view the moonlit landscape below. Adults: M: $3, NM: $5. Children: $1.

 

Sat., April 11 – 1:30 p.m., Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center, 10260 Morris Hills Rd., Toddville, Iowa. Earth Month Wildflower Walk. Enjoy a leisurely woodland walk, celebrate spring and learn ways to have less impact on our planet. Cost: $2.50/adult, $1/child 16 and under or $5/family.

319.892.6485

Sat., April 11 and Sun., April 12 – 11 a.m., to 5 p.m., Easter Open House, Noelridge Greenhouse, Cedar Rapids. Features aquarium display by the Eastern Iowa Aquarium Association and Indian Creek Nature Center displays, along with a beekeeper. Free plant for first 500 children under age 12.

 

Tues., April 14 – 6:30-8:30 p.m., Don’t Fence Me In – Creating Garden Rooms Without Walls, Kirkwood Community College, Cedar Hall Room 234, 6301 Kirkwood Blvd SW, Cedar Rapids. With colorful slides that Shirley Remes has taken of garden rooms in historic public gardens as well as delightful homeowner gardens, she will demonstrate how to create easy and affordable garden rooms in your own yard, large or small.  Dividing a landscape into garden rooms not only creates more enjoyable living space but solves practical space problems.  Photographer, journalist, lecturer and treasurer of the national Garden Writers Association, Remes is field editor for Better Homes and Gardens magazine and writes for Cottage Living, Organic Gardening and Victoria magazines. The session is free. See web site: www.extension.iastate.edu/linn

Tues., April 14 – 5:30-6:30 p.m., Culver’s Garden Center & Greenhouse, 1682 Dubuque Road (Highway 151 East), Marion. Veggies and Herbs in Pots and Containers. The free seminar will focus on growing vegetables, herbs and more in containers in order to enjoy the benefits of homegrown produce, even in limited space. Participants are asked to RSVP by calling (319) 377-4195.

 

 

Wed. April 15 – 6 p.m., Hiawatha Public Library, Revitalizing Your Garden. For the novice or experienced gardener, this class covers beginning or re-working the soil prep, planting, transplanting, and pruning for your beds. Linn County Master Gardener Lori Klopfenstein will also cover tools, design principals, and “go to” resources for all your garden needs.

Sat., April 18 – 9:30 a.m., Earth Day Tree Planting, Indian Creek Nature Center. Help diversify the woods as part of a wetland restoration. Bring a shovel, wear old clothes, and be prepared to get dirty. Participate in a tree planting ceremony “on behalf of Sacred Mother Earth,” facilitated by Wha’la, a Cree man from Squamish Territory. The ceremony is a Chanupa or Pipe ceremony. He will offer songs and direction to us from his traditional way of life. Trees Forever Field Coordinator Matt Nachtrieb will demonstrate the best way to plant a tree. Free.

Sat., April 18 – 8:30 a.m., Herbert Hoover National Historic Site will kick off National Park Week with a spring restoration project in the 81-acre tallgrass prairie. Volunteers are needed to help remove weeds from a recent planting of native prairie grasses and flowers. Volunteers interested in helping at Herbert Hoover National Historic Site should contact Adam Prato at (319) 643-7855 by Friday, April 17. Dress for the weather and wear comfortable work clothes. Water, sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats are recommended. Meet at the Visitor Center at 8:30 a.m. for an orientation and to get signed up. Work in the prairie will be from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Herbert Hoover National Historic Site and the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum are in West Branch, Iowa at exit 254 off I-80.

Sat., April 18, Habitat for Humanity Restore Go Green expo., 725 N. Center Point Rd., Hiawatha.

Sat., April 18 – Creative Gardening Hands ON Workshops, Linn County Extension, 3279 7th Avenue, Suite 140, Marion, Iowa. Register and pre-pay materials fee  by April 10th, call: 319-377-9839

9:00am–10:30am • Twig Art

Have fun using garden prunings to create a pot trellis. The project will include the pot, soil and plants.  The participant will supply a hand pruner, wire cutter, needle nose pliers (optional) and scissors. Shelby Foley, Linn County Master Gardener, leads this class. Materials fee: $10 (due at time of registration) Class is limited to 20 participants.

11:00am–12:30pm • Build a Toad House

Parents, delight your child with this fun filled morning. Accompany your child as they enjoy the hands-on experience of making a mosaic toad house with Linn County Master Gardener, Karla McGrail. Materials fee: $10 (due at time of registration) Class is limited to 25 participants, age 7 and up.

1:00pm–3:00pm • Building A Gourd Birdhouse

Members of the Iowa Gourd Society will share their expertise and provide sturdy gourds for this fun project. All materials will be furnished to construct and decorate a unique, functional birdhouse. Won’t it be fun to watch the birds flock to their new home this spring? Materials fee: $30 (due at time of registration) Class is limited to 25 participants.

Sat., April 18 – 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Cedar Rapids Linn County Solid Waste Agency – 1954 County Home Rd.  Marion,  Earth Day Dumpster Dive

 Bring a load of waste to the agency and let the staff show you what can be recycled.  All loads chosen as recycled, will be recycled and disposed of free of charge.   No appointment necessary and Linn County Residents can bring their items from 10am to 2pm.

Sun., April 19 – 3-5 p.m.,

Iowa City Environmental Film Festival, Iowa City Public Library, Room A, 123 South Linn Street, Iowa City. Blue Gold:  World Water Wars Host:  FAIR!  Film Overview:  www.bluegold-worldwaterwars.com In today’s world, corporate giants force developing countries to allow privitization of their public water supply.  As water enters the global market place, corporate giants, private investors and corrupt governments vie for control of our fresh water supply.  A line is crossed when water becomes a commodity.  So the stage is set for world water wars, with a new geo-political map and power structure, and the possibility of military involvement.  The film shows numerous worldwide examples of people fighting for their basic right to water.  As Maude Barlow proclaims, “This is our revolution, this is our war.”  Will we survive? Based on the groundbreaking book, “Blue Gold:  The Fight to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World’s Water” by Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke. Winner of the Vancouver International Film Festival Film Audience Award.

Wed. April 22 – 6 p.m., Hiawatha Public Library, Container Gardens. Container gardens do not have to be three geranium, asparagus fern and vinca vines. Come see what can be done with the newest annuals for your containers. Linn County Master Gardener Deb Walser’s own containers will be featured along with planting instructions. You will never have a plain container again.

Wed., April 22 – noon-4 p.m., Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center, Earth Day Guided Hikes. AmeriCorps Naturalist Sarah Hinzman will lead a 45 minute spring-themed hike every hour on the hour beginning at noon. The last hike of the day is at 4:00 p.m. Meet her at the kiosk area on the lower end of the long sidewalk. Donations accepted.

Wed., April 22 – 4 p.m., Hiawatha Public Library: Kids and Worms: Composting. First-Fourth graders, get you hands dirty and learn how composting with worms can help our Earth. Space is limited to thirty kids 150 West Willman St., Hiawatha, Iowa  319.393.1414

Thurs., April 23 – 6 p.m., Welcome the changing of the seasons by joining the Brucemore gardeners for the Spring Landscape Hike. Brucemore, Iowa’s only National Trust Historic Site, is located at 2160 Linden Drive SE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The 90-minute hike will emphasize the renewal of spring through the sights and sounds found on the Brucemore estate. Experience a sea of budding bluebells, wildflowers sprouting, and the pond awakening after winter’s slumber. Brucemore gardeners take participants off the beaten path into the natural areas of the 26-acre estate. The tour will explore current issues of preservation and public use as well as the seasonal chores spring requires. Hear stories of the spring activities of the Brucemore families, like picking wildflowers for May Day baskets, and much more. Participants will have ample opportunity to ask questions and seek advice about their own gardens. Admission is $10.00 per person and $7.00 per Brucemore member. Space is limited, call (319) 362-7375 to reserve your spot or register online at www.brucemore.org

Sat., April 25 – 6-8 p.m., Mid American AeroSpace – 280 Blairs Ferry Rd. NE, Recycle in Style. Join area resale shops for a fashion show like no other.  All models will be sporting clothing from consignment, thrift and resale shops.  Get some great money saving ideas at this one of a kind event.  Ticket information available by calling 319-377-5290.

Tues., April 28 – 6 p.m., Natives: Planting, Caring, and Options Workshop. Spring has arrived! Learn easy and effective ways to “go green” in your gardens and landscapes this year by utilizing native Iowa plants. Planting indigenous flora is the most effective way to create sustainable and healthy gardens and landscapes. Join Master Gardener Becki Lynch for a native Iowa plants and prairie history workshop,  in the Brucemore Visitor Center. Brucemore’s own gardens and grounds were originally designed in the 1900s by O.C. Simonds, a founder of the Prairie School landscape movement, who advocated a strong conservation ethic in landscape design. Simonds planted local forbs and grasses to develop the Brucemore grounds into “outdoor rooms.” Using indigenous flora exemplifies environmental stewardship and helps to curb natural resource depletion. Planting with natives is also a great way to preserve Iowa’s unique prairie history. Lynch shares how to identify and incorporate indigenous plants in your own gardens and landscapes. Join the many Iowa gardeners who are preserving our beautiful Iowa heritage. $15 per person and $10 per Brucemore member. Space is limited call (319) 362-7375 or register online now.

Wed. April 29 – 6 p.m., Hiawatha Public Library, Lawns Green With Envy. Linn County Master Gardener Jerry Schmidt will give you advice on how to turn your grass into a lawn.  Find out the best ways to rid your lawn of weeds, mushrooms, bare spots, and all those digging critters.

 

 

 

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Garden walk

From Linn County Master Gardener Claire Smith: Hi again – I promised to give you more info on the gardens that are being showcased in the Master Gardener Garden Walk.

 

First, though, a quick review of the Garden Walk info – Saturday, June 14, 2008; 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. – $5 per person, $10 per family.  Five diverse gardens.  Either go to www.extension.iastate.edu/linn for info and a map, or call the Hortline at 319-447-0647.

 

The Ortberg, Skripsky, and Weiss gardens are pretty close to each other on the southeast side.  I covered the first two last week, and we’ll start with the Weiss gardens this week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Weiss Gardens – 4255 Beaver Hollow SE, Cedar Rapids

Talk about Hills!  This beautiful, cottage style home sits on a medium to steep hill in a forested area – about an acre.  The home of Master Gardener Kevin Weiss, this challenging landscape qualifies him as an expert in hillside techniques.  The front is a medium slope, and with limestone steps, urns, and terraced beds, they provide an elegant entrance to the home.  The back yard is 75 percent steep hill, with limestone slabs and containers dispersed up the hill and with a magnificent rushing stream/falls that land in a pond.  The landscaping provides the effect of a garden portrait that causes one to gasp with delight.

 

The Walser Gardens – 3934 Falbrook Dr. NE, Cedar Rapids

Deb Walser is well known as one of the “Voices” of the WMT Master Gardener Radio spot.  She is a wealth of information ranging across ALL types of plants and gardening.  Her gardens near Kennedy High School show that expertise on an odd shaped, sloping urban lot.  Her beds will dazzle you with their range of plants and settings with raised vegetable beds, annuals, perennials, and fruits.  She has used her space to great effect with multiple decks and boardwalks that lead you from one type of garden style to another.  As she says, “Amazing what can be done on your own!”

 

The Hennessey Gardens – 5524 Cimarron Court, Marion

 

Darrell Hennessey is known in Master Gardener circles as “Mr. Conifer.”  His acreage in Marion has magnificent sprawling conifer beds that  provide a backdrop for 14 flower beds.  But the true centerpiece must be the conifers – in all shapes and sizes, arranged in beds on a property that is vast enough to showcase them beautifully.  If you’re interested in learning more about conifers and how to choose them for your property, this garden is a must!  Darrell is also refining his beds for lower ongoing maintenance, and he and other Master Gardeners will be happy to share ideas to help you accomplish the same thing.

 

There you go – the line-up for Saturday, June 14.  Hope you can join us for a beautiful garden day!

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Flourishing in Iowa

       Master Gardener Claire Smith shares the following information:

 

   How fun is it to read the multitudes of gardening articles flooding the newspapers and magazines this time of the year!

    

   New colors, new varieties, new landscaping ideas……there’s so much information to digest and so little time before we plant.  Just as a word of caution, my own personal experience tells me that just because it looked great in a picture; it doesn’t necessarily mean it will flourish in Iowa.

   Remember, those articles can be sent from anywhere to anywhere i.e. an Arizona perennial will probably not survive Iowa’s winter!

   If you think you can’t live without it, take the picture or the plant name to your gardening center or call the Horticulture Hotline (319-447-0647).  Ask questions!  Gardeners love to talk!

 

    On that note, do plan to attend the Master Gardener Plant Sale on Saturday, May 24th from 8:00 to Noon in

 

 the parking lot in front of the Linn County Extension Office at 3279 7th Ave. (that’s the East side of Marion

 

by the farm store.)

 

 

   Plant Sale Chairwoman, Charlene Woeste provided this information: 

 

 “Anyone interested in plants for their garden will want to attend this event.  We will have many, many kinds of perennials (both for sun and/or shade) and many varieties of hosta and daylilies.

   There will also be wildflower plants, groundcovers, ornamental grasses, and some annuals.  These plants come from our Master  Gardeners own gardens  where they were carefully dug up and potted  and tenderly taken care of until the sale day.

   And perhaps best of all, they are priced so anyone can purchase them.

   So many have found when they take Master Gardener plants home and grow them in their gardens, that they can enjoy them for years to come.  Master Gardeners will be right there if you need help choosing the plants just for you or answering your gardening questions.”

     And, mark the afternoon of June 14th on your

 

calendar, too, for the Linn County Master Gardeners’  Garden Tour.  Five gardens will be featured in this exciting first annual event. 

 

 

     Gardening:  what a great hobby  it is!

 

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One Call

Following is a good reminder from Iowa One Call for Iowans thinking about planting trees or doing other digging this season:

 

Earth Day and Arbor Day Signal Outdoor Activity – Remember to call Iowa One Call before you dig!

 

As Earth Day and Arbor Day quickly approach, on April 22 and 25, many Iowans are looking forward to getting outdoors to plant a tree or undertake other outdoor gardening, landscaping or home improvement projects. But before turning a spade or firing up the post hole digger, Iowans must remember to call Iowa One Call before they dig. While April highlights Earth and Arbor Days and the start of the digging season, April has also been proclaimed Iowa One Call Month by Iowa Lt. Governor Patty Judge. Iowa One Call Month marks the beginning of a 2008 digging safety campaign to remind Iowans of Iowa’s law to call 811 or (800) 292-8989 to have underground facilities located and marked before digging or excavating.

 

“By proclaiming the month of April as Iowa One Call Month, we remind all professional contractors, homeowners, businesses and anyone engaged in any type of digging activity to call Iowa One Call before doing any excavating. Individuals who fail to use Iowa One Call may risk civil liabilities, serious injury or even death,” states the signed proclamation.

 

“Iowa One Call’s purpose is to protect people and property,” said Ben Booth, public relations coordinator for Iowa One Call. “By locating and marking underground utilities before digging begins, Iowa One Call saves lives, prevents damage to the environment and helps to avoid service interruption. Individuals who fail to contact Iowa One Call prior to digging are subject to civil penalties that may range from $1,000 to $10,000 per violation. This is not something that just applies to people engaged in professional construction excavation. Homeowners and farmers can be held liable as well. So the safe and smart thing to do is always call first.”

 

The Iowa One Call Center phone lines – at 811 or (800) 292-8989 – are staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by a team of 40 customer service representatives. Notification to Iowa One Call must be made at least 48 hours in advance (excluding weekends and legal holidays). While residential gardening does not require utility locates, it is a good idea to notify Iowa One Call before digging a new garden or using equipment, such as a power tiller.

 

Iowa law defines “excavation” as an operation in which a structure or earth, rock or other material in or on the ground is moved, removed, compressed or otherwise displaced by means of any tools or equipment. This includes, but is not limited to, digging, drilling, driving, grading, scraping, trenching, tiling, tunneling, ditching and demolition of structures.

 

Booth adds, “Even seemingly harmless activities like pounding a piece of re-rod in the ground to hold a landscape timber in place or digging a hole for a new shrub can damage an underground line. People also need to know that once utilities are marked, they need to avoid digging within 18 inches on either side of flags and paint markings.”

 

Calling Iowa One Call is Easy and Free

The national One Call 811 phone number was established last year. It is a standardized number for callers anywhere in the country to reach the respective One Call Center in their state. Iowans can reach Iowa One Call at 811, (800) 292-8989 or via the Web at www.iowaonecall.com. There are no charges for the phone call. Iowa One Call’s service is free of charge to anyone requesting a utility locate.

 

About Iowa One Call

Iowa One Call is a nonprofit organization with over 1,500 members, including city and county utilities, electric companies, gas companies, water and sewer districts, telephone companies and cable TV and Internet providers. Iowa One Call coordinates the marking of underground facilities throughout the state. Each year, Iowa One Call personnel handle more than 400,000 incoming calls and coordinate over 2 million underground facility locates within Iowa. Historically, the Center’s peak period is from April through October, when customer service representatives average more than 45,000 calls per month. For more information, visit www.iowaonecall.com.

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April is full of…

Gardening events! 

Here are  upcoming area events I’ve come across for April 2008. If you know of changes or additions, add a comment, or if you’re aware of events in May or future months, send me an e-mail at: cindy.hadish@gazettecommunications.com

All events are free unless otherwise noted.

Tuesday, April 1 – 6:30-8 p.m., Beems Auditorium, Cedar Rapids Public Library, “Visualizing changes in your landscape,” by author Janet Macunovich, coordinated by Linn County Master Gardeners.

Tuesday, April 8 – 6:30-8 p.m., Beems Auditorium, Cedar Rapids Public Library, “Growing perennials in cold climates,” by Ambergate Gardens owner Michael Heger, coordinated by Linn County Master Gardeners.

Saturday, April 12 – Linn County Master Gardeners Creative Gardening Hands On: 10:30 a.m. to noon – Build a toad house; noon to 2 p.m. – Containers with pizzazz; 2:15-3:45 p.m. – Twig art;  all at Linn County Extension Office, 3279 Seventh Ave., Suite 140, Marion. Cost per session is $10. Call (319) 377-9839 by March 31 to register.

Saturday, April 12 – 7 p.m., Indian Creek Nature Center, “Food Matters,” by local foods farmer Laura Krouse of Cornell College, free to Iowa Academy of Science members, $3 for Nature Center members and $5 for non-members.

Sunday, April 13 – 1 p.m., Indian Creek Nature Center, “Find abundance in growing food,” by Iowa City Backyard Abundance and Food, Not Lawns. $3 for Nature Center members; $5 for non-members.

Sunday, April 13 – 2-4 p.m., Iowa City Public Library, “Proven winners – annuals that make a difference,” by Sandy Wentworth of Proven Winners Annuals, part of the Project GREEN Sunday Garden Forums.

Tuesday, April 15 – 6:30-8 p.m., Beems Auditorium, Cedar Rapids Public Library, “Beyond burning bush”, by Illinois Central College horticulture professor Glenn Herold, coordinated by Linn County Master Gardeners.

Tuesday, April 15 – 7 p.m., Coralville Library, Harshbarger Hosta Society meeting.

Saturday, April 19 – 8:30 a.m. to noon, spring restoration of tallgrass prairie at Herbert Hoover National Historic Site in West Branch. Call Adam Prato at (319) 643-7855 by Friday, April 18 to volunteer.

Saturday, April 19 – 1:30-2:30 p.m., Hy-Vee Garden Center, 5050 Edgewood Rd. NE, Cedar Rapids, “Turn your kitchen scraps into gardening gold: Composting 101” with Cathy Wyatt and Mike Duggan. Pre-register at customer service, (319) 378-0762.

Thursday, April 24 – 6 p.m., Seasonal landscape hike at Brucemore, 2160 Linden Dr., Cedar Rapids, $10 per person. Call (319) 362-7375 to register.

Saturday, April 26 – 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., first floor of Hy-Vee, 5050 Edgewood Rd. NE, Cedar Rapids, “Kids garden takeover: Plant a seed, watch it grow!” (ages 3 and up.) No registration required.

 

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