Dig Deeper

A blog by the staff of the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

Ecological Education

An Ecological State of Mind When I first interviewed for my role at the Garden a year and a half ago, I was thrilled to hear about the ecologically sound practices the horticulture team deploys. With my background in ecology, I felt right at home. As I got to know this place, I started wondering if our guests [...]

By |October 22nd, 2019|Categories: Education, Horticulture|

Succulent Care Secrets

Secrets to Strong, Healthy Succulents Richard and Cynde Schreiber first started growing succulents and cacti when they lived in Yuma, Arizona in the 1960s. When they moved back to Iowa, they brought their love of desert plants with them to a four-season climate. To support this passion, the Schreibers built a desert greenhouse outside their home in Norwalk [...]

By |October 7th, 2019|Categories: Horticulture|

Lycoris: A Pleasant Surprise

A Cold-hardy Botanical Garden Favorite Whether you know them as “surprise lilies,” “naked ladies,” or “spider lilies,” the genus of lycoris is sure to impress onlookers in any Iowa garden. Relatives of amaryllis, lycoris put on a late-summer show without leaves to hamper the view of their vibrant rainbow of colors (hence the “naked” moniker). Then, they leave [...]

By |September 17th, 2019|Categories: Horticulture|

Pickling: Extend the Season

Stretch Your Summer Harvest When it comes to preserving your garden’s bounty, it’s time to think beyond basics. Today’s pickling looks considerably different than what you’d find in the Mason jars in your grandmother’s kitchen. From kombucha to kimchi, fermented foods line modern grocery store shelves. And for good reason: they not only provide probiotics and help you [...]

By |September 6th, 2019|Categories: Recipes|

Botanical Garden Profile: Margaret Schultz

Margaret Schultz, volunteer You are relatively new to the community. How has the Garden helped anchor you to Des Moines? I have been here six years, and the Botanical Garden has been and was instrumental in making me feel welcome. I moved here only knowing a few people and no longer worked, so I didn’t have a huge [...]

By |August 21st, 2019|Categories: Botanical Garden Profile|

5 Flower Shapes to Generate Interest

How Flower Geometry Inspires Garden Design According to Leslie Hunter, Botanical Garden horticulturist, designing a garden can be an exercise of joy and madness. Attempting to coordinate size, shape, color, bloom time, fragrance, light and moisture requirements all present unique challenges to any gardener. Another aspect worth considering is the shape of flowers and how several shapes can [...]

By |August 12th, 2019|Categories: Garden Design, Horticulture|

Plants We Love: Mangave

Mad About Mangave First, a pronunciation guide: man-gah-vay. Think agave and you’ll get it right every time. In fact this hybrid group between two genera (that’s what that little x stands for in front of their botanical names) owes half of its genes to a variety of Agave species and cultivars. The resulting 40 varieties are the product [...]

By |August 6th, 2019|Categories: Horticulture|

Turn Up the Heat on Summer Produce

Maximize Your Summer Harvest July and August come due with exhilarating freshness. The harvest is hot and weedy, but that heat is the secret to summer cooking per chef-owner Lisa LaValle of Trellis, the Botanical Garden’s acclaimed in-house café. The chef-gardener is often blessed with an overabundance of zucchinis, eggplants, peppers and carrots, all of which grill to [...]

By |July 29th, 2019|Categories: Horticulture, Recipes|

Amorphomania: Carrie the Corpse Flower

Corpse Flower Bloom: July 25, 2017 Since it arrived in Des Moines, our Amorphophallus titanum, also referred to as Titan arum and commonly known as corpse flower, grew in the Botanical Garden greenhouses until the spring of 2017, when it finally dropped its leaf and went dormant underground—often the first hint of an upcoming inflorescence (or bloom). Recognizing [...]

By |July 22nd, 2019|Categories: Horticulture|

Savory Strawberry Sauce

The Perfect Recipe for less-than-perfect Strawberries Whether they’re from the garden or grocery store, some strawberries just aren’t as plump, juicy or symmetrical as others. Show off the prettier ones in a bowl, as a cocktail garnish, or tuck them into your favorite dessert. But don’t throw out their less attractive counterparts. Turn those into a sweet-and-savory sauce [...]

By |July 16th, 2019|Categories: Recipes|

Summer Camp at the Garden: A Day in the Life

A Day in the Life of a Summer Camper The Botanical Garden offers an array of summer camps, such as Budding Chefs and Artists in the Garden. In every program, summer campers are invited to use the Garden as their classroom as they learn about the world of plants. Read below to follow a summer camper through a [...]

By |July 2nd, 2019|Categories: Youth & Family|

Textural Appeal: 8 Grasses to Add Complexity to Your Garden

8 Grasses for Texture and Complexity Grasses can accent almost any garden. But why are they just accents? If you have a lot of height in a garden, these varieties can make a great background foil that won’t clutter the rest of the vignette with obnoxious, excess foliage. At least one of these plants should be on everyone’s [...]

By |June 14th, 2019|Categories: Horticulture|