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Our Amaryllis Picks

A Few of Our Favorite Amaryllis for the Holiday Season Late fall and early winter signal the beginning of amaryllis season. These massive bulbs produce showy, colorful blooms that add the perfect touch to holiday decor--it's no wonder these flowers have become so popular during this time of year. Read below for [...]

2019-11-18T13:56:15-06:00

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 [...]

2019-10-22T16:39:33-06:00

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 [...]

2019-10-07T15:37:23-06:00

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 [...]

2019-09-17T13:21:01-06:00

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 [...]

2019-08-12T09:18:18-06:00

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 [...]

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

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, [...]

2019-07-29T12:23:37-06:00

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 [...]

2019-07-22T12:13:05-06:00

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 [...]

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

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, [...]

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