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The Native Annuals Project

Native Annuals with Ecological Horticulturist Ryan Drake A walk through the Botanical Garden reveals dynamic, complex plantings around every corner. But there is more to those lively blooms and varying textures than aesthetic appeal. This summer, in the Dorothy and Max Rutledge Conifer Garden and Lauridsen Savanna, Ecological Horticulturist Ryan Drake is conducting [...]

2020-09-03T14:10:06-05:00

Annual Plantings: 4 Steps to Dynamic Designs

Garden Design with Senior Horticulturist Leslie Hunter Although designing annual gardens is a creative process, I have a clear framework that I follow each time. These are the four steps I use to create dynamic garden spaces that will generate interest throughout the season. 1. Determine a Theme The first step is to [...]

2020-08-19T14:26:14-05:00

Fall Perennial & Bulb Market: 5 Plant Highlights

Fall Perennial & Bulb Market Preview We're excited to bring back our bulb market in 2020 along with a selection of perennials that are perfect for fall planting, too. Below you'll find five plants to watch for at the Fall Perennial & Bulb Market, from the very first blooms of the season to [...]

2020-08-17T12:11:58-05:00

Pollinator Plant We Love: Goldenrod

Gardening in August Despite the heat and humidity, August is an important month for observing life in the garden, perhaps one of the most valuable gardening activities. I carve out time to putter often around my home garden, a 5,000 sq. ft. meadow and prairie-inspired garden that surrounds the frontage of my house. [...]

2020-08-10T11:58:41-05:00

Celebrating Silphiums

Plant Birthdays and Silphiums After reading Aldo Leopold’s book A Sand County Almanac in college, I have tried to keep his words close to heart and mind. In the essay titled "Prairie Birthdays," Leopold shares an appreciation of plants coming into bloom. He writes, “Tell me of what plant birthday a man takes notice, and I shall tell you [...]

2020-07-23T17:18:24-05:00

5 Tips to Combat Plant Blindness

What is Plant Blindness and How Can I Overcome It? People often lament “not seeing the forest for the trees,” fearful of becoming too consumed with minor details to see a situation in its totality. But scientists and plant lovers are troubled by the opposite scenario: We worry that people might not see the [...]

2020-07-13T14:53:37-05:00

Pollinator Plant We Love: Liatris

July is for Pollinators It’s July and your garden is thriving, perhaps only with weeding and occasional watering to keep you busy. But this is the gardener’s sweet spot—the time of year when you can sit outside and reap the rewards of seeds sown earlier.   This month is the time to savor your garden and the fauna who admire [...]

2020-07-03T09:18:45-05:00

Tips for Growing Healthier Tomatoes

Three Tips for Healthy Tomatoes The late-spring months of May and June provide ideal temperatures and conditions for planting tomatoes in Central Iowa. Whether you've grown food in your garden for decades, or if this season is your first attempt at growing your own crops, tomatoes are a great place to start. These [...]

2020-05-20T10:20:05-05:00

Botanical Tableau: A New Perspective

Viewing the Garden in a New Way During our extended closure as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Botanical Garden team has used social media to share what’s growing and flowering in the Garden from week to week as spring progresses. Director of Horticulture and Education Kelly Norris created this botanical tableau [...]

2020-04-17T23:47:24-05:00

Roses: Garden Design and Pruning

The Wells Fargo Rose Garden If you've visited the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden between spring and fall, you were first greeted by the dynamic, colorful Wells Fargo Rose Garden. We carefully design and organically maintain this garden to challenge the definition of traditional rose gardens—you'll find more than roses here! As the [...]

2020-04-16T11:42:00-05:00
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