Written on May 2, 2013 at 1:18 pm , by Katie A Ketelsen
Tomorrow the Better Homes and Garden Test Garden officially opens for the season (yay!) But if you live in the Des Moines area, you know a romp in the garden doesn’t really sound appealing.
We (grumpily) woke to snow on the ground, pelting our windows and piercing our faces. Mother Nature has a cruel way of welcoming spring this year, but frankly, she’s always kept Iowa’s gardeners anxious about planting anything until mid-May.
Complementary spring-bloomers redbud and forsythia reached out from the garden fence, beckoning me to enter the Test Garden.
As did the relaxing ambiance projected from the raised deck surrounded by blooming grape hyacinths and tulips.
The water fountain took its first breath this week, overflowing with soothing sensations, perfect for a late lunch…..
…or a meeting of the minds. (Pictured: Andrea, Test Garden Assistant; Sandra, Test Garden Manager; Eric, Deputy Garden Editor)
An Autumn Brilliance serviceberry boasted its stunning white blooms….
…while the ferns uncoiled, reaching for the warm sun.
I miss that warm sun.
Late spring snowstorms sure have a way of making an Iowa gardener more humble.
How the weather in your garden today?
Come visit the Test Garden every Friday from 12-2pm!
Written on December 13, 2012 at 8:18 am , by Katie A Ketelsen
I’ve always been a huge fan of dianthus — pinks. They’re the perfect perennial to line the edge of your flower beds, add a pop of color in those tight spaces, or even accent your container garden. My only beef with them was their bloom didn’t last long enough to satisfy my blooming-hunger!
Thankfully there’s a hot, new dianthus available for 2013 that blooms and blooms and blooms. The EverLast pink series is available in five, beautiful, double-blooming colors!
Personally, my eye is drawn to the white dianthus first. There are so few, reliable white-flowering perennials that you almost have to go with this one first. Runner-up would be orchid. I usually go for the sharp tones versus a light, pastel color. Which one is your favorite?
In case you’re not familiar with pinks, here are some specifics for the EverLast series:
Scientific Name: Dianthus interspecific
Hardiness Degree: -20°F (-28.9°C)
Blooming Season: Early Spring, Spring, Late Spring, Autumn, Winter, Late Summer
Plant Habit: Mounded
Height: 8 - 12″ (20 - 30cm)
Width: 10 - 14″ (25 - 36cm)
Make sure you talk with your local garden center or landscaper to see how you can get some EverLast (everblooming) dianthus in your garden!
Written on November 29, 2012 at 11:19 am , by Katie A Ketelsen
I happened across this festive infographic from the folks at Neave Decor and thought it was absolutely genius. Number one is me in a nutshell. But seriously….sometimes decorating for the holidays just doesn’t sound all that appealing. Especially when Iowa’s winter is knocking at the door. (Too bad these folks aren’t in my neck of the woods!) And frankly, neither I or my husband (whom I fear will definitely fall off the roof someday, much like number ten alludes to) have the skills to pull of holiday lighting like this….
By the way….I’d live in this in a heartbeat! Isn’t this house gorgeous!?! Here’s a quick link to see more holiday lighting ideas from Neave.
Some awesome companies will even decorate the INSIDE of your house too! Double bonus!
Now…if you’re questioning why you should even think about hiring a professional to do all that tough, tedious, light-busting grunt work – read this – overwhelming reasons why you should consult the pros. Plus, I’d add, it might just allow you to spend more time with your family and keep the old man’s back in tact.
If you’ve got a professional holiday decorating company in your area you’d like to recommend give them a shout-out in the comments below! Share the holiday goodness people!
Written on October 12, 2012 at 6:00 am , by Katie A Ketelsen
I have to confess something.
I’ve never been much of a fan of bulbs.
The thought of digging tiny little holes for several little blobs of bulbs sounded so tedious I couldn’t even bring myself to lift the dainty little trowel.
Until last year when someone graciously gave me some free bulbs (perspective changes completely when something is free –right?) And then I made my husband plant them (I was pregnant and coming up with every excuse to get out of bending over).
And although this last winter was nothing to complain about in regards to excess snow, when those tiny daffodils and bright pink tulips popped this spring it was nothing short of a godsent. Spring had arrived. It was a new awakening. A new year to try new plants in the garden. The smell of good Iowa dirt magically finds its way to your nose. All of a sudden you find yourself rejuvenated just from a handful of tiny little flowers.
Another confession: I’m planting more bulbs this year.
Unless of course I can talk the hubs into planting them for me again.
Here are a few bulbs I’ve got my eye on but would take any suggestions you might have!
It’s so dainty! It will look perfect along the front edge of my flower beds. I just need to pick a variety.
How fun would these flowers look peppered throughout my lawn? Have you ever planted bulbs in your lawn?
While allium tends to bloom later in spring, it’s always been a favorite of mine.
Black Parrot Tulip
I’ve never have a plant with black blooms and a bulb might just be the way to test that color, since it won’t be blooming all season long. If I don’t like it, I might transplant them to my neighbor’s garden — on the other side of their house.
With so many types and varieties of tulips, you almost have to have more than one in your garden. Plus, two-toned flowers are extra pretty.
So…am I missing any of your favorites?
Written on October 10, 2012 at 11:05 am , by Katie A Ketelsen
Even though I’m on our website day in and day out, there are still inspiring images I manage to miss (somehow!) And if you’ve been reading Everyday Gardeners you’ll know about my obsession with Pinterest. So it’s been my habit to peruse the Better Homes and Gardens Pinterest boards to catch up on what I might have missed.
With the recent change in weather I’m reminded how I’ve yet to decorate my front entry for the season and in desperation have taken to BHG’s Pinterest board for some quick and easy ideas.
This is what’s inspiring me
I’ve always love the look of burnt orange gourds. Creating a topiary of them for the front stoop sounds perfect.
Bittersweet is always a favorite of mine. Draping it over pumpkins, on the mantel or creating a wreath are just a few ideas I’ve daydreamed about.
Maybe a fresh coat of paint will help set the tone for the season.
Surely mums are a must!
How are you decorating for the season? What do you always include on your front stoop? Pumpkins? Mums?
Written on October 13, 2011 at 10:24 am , by Katie A Ketelsen
As the season goes in Iowa, temperatures have started to drop and it’s evident with this week’s stroll through the BHG Test Garden. Some plants have completely lost their luster, while others are thriving. Take notes to know what to plant next year for a long season of color.
Here’s a shrub you don’t see often in the landscape, but is perfect for adding color to a shady garden: Dwarf fothergilla.
Depending on the season, fothergilla fall foliage can turn yellow, orange, or red.
Although the Test Garden is closed for the year, you can still enjoy the season’s colors! Right outside the east doors of Meredith several clump ginkgo are planted and have started to turn golden yellow.
Just a quick tidbit: it’s a rarity to find such awesome specimens of ginkgo in Iowa, let alone with multiple clumps. I’d highly suggest if you have a chance to see for yourself the magnitude of these trees, you do!
How’s you’re gardening looking this fall? What’s your favorite fall plant? I have to say Little Henry sweetspire is my favorite.