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Horticulture

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 [...]

2019-08-12T09:18:18-05:00

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 [...]

2019-08-06T11:39:44-05:00

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, [...]

2019-07-29T12:23:37-05:00

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 [...]

2019-07-22T12:13:05-05:00

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 [...]

2019-06-14T12:38:15-05:00

7 Meadow Plants We Love

Meadow Mayhem In 2017, the first annual Botanical Garden Summer Camp program took place in amid an artfully designed meadow. The square-in-square design allowed children to experience a sense of wildness, no matter how contrived. The planting also added benefit of putting nitrogen and biomass back into the soil throughout the growing season, [...]

2019-06-10T15:57:26-05:00

Purple Passion: 5 Flower Favorites

Five Striking Purple Ornamentals The 2018 Pantone Color of the Year was Ultra Violet, which just happened to coincide with the dominant color scheme throughout the espalier border in the Koehn Garden last fall. In its announcement, Pantone described its chosen color as “dramatically provocative and thoughtful,” adjectives that make a lot of [...]

2019-06-10T16:04:09-05:00

4 Flowers Perfect for Arrangements

Making the Cut In its finest form, flower arranging is high art. In more casual settings, cut flowers adorn modern living spaces as a celebration of a garden’s ample success. These flowers are favorites at the Botanical Garden, and they happen to work well in bouquets, too. 1. Baptisia Baptisia or false indigo [...]

2019-06-10T15:48:45-05:00

Phenology: Tracking Plants in Bloom

When Do Plants Really Bloom in Des Moines? Phenology, the study of natural cycles and seasonal changes, is especially important in horticulture. While the name may sound intimidating, we are all phenologists to some extent. We know that with the coming of spring we can expect blustery tulip festivals followed by bold summer [...]

2019-06-10T15:47:42-05:00

Buck Roses: A Midwestern Favorite

Buck Roses in the Wells Fargo Rose Garden Rosa 'Simon Estes' Dr. Griffith Buck is a legend among gardeners. His surname applied to a rose equates to a badge of honor. The former Iowa State University horticulture professor left a long legacy of hardworking shrub roses, 93 in all, for Midwestern [...]

2019-06-10T15:54:56-05:00