Posted on

Last-Minute Fall Garden Projects & Activities

DIY fall garden Ted Lare

Don’t let fall slip through your fingers without taking advantage of everything this season has to offer. We’re getting short on fall days in Iowa, but you’ve still got some time to embrace fall activities, make some memories, and of course, get a few last projects done around the yard. 

If you’re short on ideas of what to do, here are a few last-minute strategies to make the most of autumn. It’s not all about work and yard projects; there are a few ideas for fall fun in this list, too, so make sure to take a few breaks and enjoy the best of an Iowa autumn.

DIY fall garden save seeds Ted Lare

Save Seeds 

If you had some favorite annuals this year that you’d like to have more of next year, save some seeds from them! Most plants are setting seed now, and it’s pretty easy to harvest them. Once the seedheads have dried up and turned brown, you can gather the seed. Be careful with flowers like poppy seeds; it’s best to take a container or envelope right to the plant when you harvest, so they don’t get spilled on the ground.

You can harvest and dry seeds from tomatoes, beans, peppers, corn, cucumbers, squash or pumpkins, spinach, and amaranth in the vegetable patch. In the flower beds, you can save seeds from:

  • Bachelor Buttons
  • Marigolds
  • Larkspur
  • Sunflowers
  • Snapdragons
  • Calendula
  • Coneflowers
  • Nasturtiums
  • Black-Eyed Susans
  • Cosmos
  • Sweet Peas
  • Zinnias
  • Poppies

Make sure your seeds dry well and store them in labeled paper envelopes so that you can start them early next spring.

 

Love what you’re reading? Sign up to our email newsletter, and get inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.

Take Cuttings and Propagate Plants 

Many of your favorite garden plants, like geraniums and coleus, are actually tender perennials. If you snip off some healthy chunks of young stems, remove a few of the lower leaves, and pop them into moist soil, you can have yourself a whole batch of free plants for next summer. 

Create a Pumpkin Container 

Make your porch decor a little more interesting by turning your pumpkins into a flower pot—plant things like ornamental kale or chrysanthemums right into your pumpkin. When the frost finally kills everything, you can toss the whole thing into the compost bin. 

Go for a Leaf Drive

Take an afternoon and go for a drive in the countryside to check out the gorgeous fall foliage colors. It’s been a spectacular fall, so don’t miss it.

DIY fall garden apple orchard Ted Lare

Visit an Apple Orchard

While you’re out on your afternoon adventure, stop by an apple orchard or a pumpkin patch. Enjoy the delicious flavors of the fall harvest, and take home some fresh apples or a few pumpkins for the front porch. 

Play in the Leaves 

Those leaves aren’t going to clean themselves up. But before you get rid of them, indulge your children, grandchildren, or your inner child, and play in them. There’s nothing like a pile of leaves to toss around and jump in to get everyone laughing. 

Amend Your Garden Soil

Ok, you got those leaves raked up, but instead of filling up plastic garbage bags and sending them out with the trash, why not use them to improve your garden soil? As long as you don’t have trees with Anthracnose, you can turn those leaves into one of the best soil enrichments that exists. Mow over them a couple of times to break them up small, and then add them to your compost, or mix them straight into the soil in your garden beds.

This is also an excellent time to do a soil test and see if any other nutrients are missing, so you can add any other amendments if necessary.

spring bulbs Ted Lare

Plant Spring Bulbs 

Make spring easy and colorful by planting lots of spring bulbs. There are many more options than just tulips, and with just a little effort now, you can fill your yard with beautiful flowers from the time the snow starts to melt until summer flowers begin to bloom. 

Plant a Tree or Shrub    

Fall is also a great time to add trees and shrubs to your landscape. Just don’t wait too much longer to get them in the ground. Trees and shrubs should be in the ground about 6 weeks before the first killing frost of the season.

Dig out those bird feeders, disinfect them well, and then fill them up for our feathered friends.

DIY fall garden feed birds Ted Lare

Feed the Birds 

There are lots of birds starting to arrive on their winter migration journey, and the bugs they eat are getting scarce. Dig out those bird feeders, disinfect them well, and then fill them up for our feathered friends. Consider adding a heated birdbath for them this winter. 

Build a New Garden Bed 

Do you wish you had more raised beds? Well, now is a great time to build some. They’re quick to build, and getting them done now means the soil will settle over the winter, and you’ll know how much more you need to add next spring. 

bonfire Ted Lare

Have a Bonfire 

The yard is cleaned up, the tools are put away, and the season is nearing its end. Celebrate with a bonfire, some hot drinks, and one last session of roasting hot dogs and marshmallows around the fire with family and friends.

Posted on

How to Refresh Summer Annuals

red and white petunia Greenstreet Gardens

Midsummer is definitely here in Des Moines. If you’re a heat-lover, this might be your favorite time of year. If you don’t love the hottest days of the year, you might be feeling a little rundown, like some of the annuals in your containers and hanging baskets.

Those beautiful blooming flowers that you bought in the spring are quite likely starting to look a little rough around the edges, blooming less and maybe looking a little tall and spindly. They’re getting a little tired and worse for the wear.

Where is the magic potion that keeps things looking as bright and beautiful as they were when you bought them? 

Well, unfortunately, there’s not a magic potion, though there are some helpful potions, and a few tips you can follow to bring those bright blooms back. 

yellow begonia Ted Lare

To understand how your annuals got to be so beautiful and full of blooms in the spring, it’s helpful to know how annuals are grown and cared for in the nursery. 

In the greenhouse, annuals are grown in their ideal conditions, with the perfect temperature, the right humidity, consistent watering, and regular fertilizer. They also get pruned and deadheaded regularly to encourage full and bushy growth. 

These ideal conditions give plants a great start towards a healthy season. Once annuals are ready to go home with eager gardeners, they’re strong enough to be hardened off and spend the rest of their season outdoors. Obviously, you can’t recreate those perfect conditions outdoors, since you can’t control the weather.

While it’s true that annuals are fairly tough, and don’t need to be babied to survive our summer weather, they still require a bit of care to look their best all summer long. Here are a couple of tips to freshen up your annuals and get things looking lush and vibrant again.

red impatiens Ted Lare

One of the most common differences between greenhouse care and home care of annuals is the application of fertilizer. In the nursery, plants are given fertilizer on a regular basis to keep them healthy, strong, and full of blooms. 

Sometimes annuals get home and don’t get fertilizer ever again. Or they get it once or twice over the summer. Annuals in pots at home need fertilizer just as consistently as baby plants in a nursery. At home, annuals are usually packed into pots quite tightly with other plants to give that overflowing look. 

Packed pots create two challenges for plants:

  1. There is not very much soil for all those plants to share, so they use up what nutrients are in the soil very quickly.
  2. Every time we water plants in containers, some nutrients get washed away, so within a few weeks, the soil in your planters may be completely depleted. 

This doesn’t mean you should put fewer plants in your planters, or change how you water them. It just means you need to regularly feed your plants with fertilizer to give them those missing nutrients. 

Lack of feeding is the #1 reason that most annuals stop blooming and start to look leggy come August. To fix the feeding problem, make sure to fertilize your pots and planters at least once per month, with your favorite water-soluble organic or synthetic fertilizer.

pink hanging basket Greenstreet Gardens

Hanging baskets and small pots should be fertilized every other week due to their pot bound nature. 

You can also give them some more consistent nutrient supply throughout the season with slow-release granular fertilizer. Mix it into the soil when you plant all your annuals in the spring and add some more in August. 

The second tip for refreshing your annuals is to do a bit of pruning and trimming. Annuals benefit from a midsummer trim. It might seem harsh to cut them back, but it helps to promote new bushier growth and encourage more blooms. 

You can safely trim up to an inch or two all-around your annuals, clearing out any dead blossoms along the way. Trimming is a task you can start early in the season, soon after you bring your plants home. A little trimming every week or every other week will keep your annuals thriving and blooming abundantly.

Love what you’re reading? Sign up to our email newsletter, and get inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.


With these two tips, you can take your pots from leggy and tired to full and b
eautiful in just a few weeks. 

 

Posted on

Dazzling Daylilies for Your Iowa Garden

Who doesn’t love daylilies? They’re a reliable, easy to grow perennial that flowers beautifully. Because they’re so popular and easy to grow, breeders have developed and registered over 15,000 varieties!

Daylilies are a great plant to make the transition from spring to midsummer. These are primarily a June to July bloomer here in Iowa. They are named daylilies because each individual flower lasts only a single day. But, new flowers continually open, almost every day, and the blooming period can last three weeks or more. 

Daylilies have come a long way from the orange or yellow ones that used to be so common. They now come in a staggering variety of styles, heights, and colors. Almost any color, and color combination, that you can think of! 

There are early, late, and even reblooming varieties of daylily. Some varieties have double blossoms, some have wider open-faced flowers, some have long, slender, curving leaves, and some have a ruffled edge on their petals. The new varieties are also great because, unlike the old ditch lilies, the new varieties don’t take over your flower beds. 

 

daylily garden ted lare

How to Grow Daylilies

Daylilies are pretty low maintenance; if you get them set up in a good location, they’ll reward you with blooms for many years to come. You can essentially plant these and forget about them. Water when you plant them, and let them get to growing. If the weather is really dry, it would be good to water them every now and then. You can use some bulb fertilizer when you plant them, but you won’t need to fertilize them again. 

Daylilies need good drainage and full sun for at least half the day. Some shade in the afternoon is ok and can help some of the darker colored daylilies retain their blossom color. 

  

Love what you’re reading? Sign up to our email newsletter, and get inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.

 

Daylilies should be divided every 4-5 years when they become crowded and flowering declines. Late summer is the best time to separate them. Simply dig up the whole clump and use a sharp knife to split them into smaller clumps, with 2-3 fans of leaves and lots of roots. Immediately replant them and cut the foliage back to about 6 inches tall. 

Here are a few Awesome Daylilies to add to your collection.

Tuscawilla Tigress has huge tangerine-orange blooms with soft orange rays. These flowers may get as big as 8 inches across!

tuscawilla tigress and Moses fire daylily ted lare

 

Moses Fire is a stunning mid-season rebloomer. Its cherry-red double blossoms feature gold edges with hints of gold variegations on the petals. 


Bridgeton Invention is a stunning mid-season rebloomer. It features creamy-white petals with a deep magenta eye-zone that fades into the yellow throat.

 

Bright Invention and Scarlet Orbit daylily greenstreet gardens

 

Scarlet Orbit is a gorgeous deep red daylily with a chartreuse yellow throat.  It is an early bloomer and has a beautiful fragrance. . 

Chesapeake Crab Legs a showstopping mid-season rebloomer with ruffled spider style flowers. It features rich orangey-red petals with subtle rays of orange and a chevron pattern at the top of its yellow throat.

 

chesapeake crab legs and witch's hand ted lare

 

Witches Hand is a mid-season rebloomer featuring dark burgundy-almost black petals, with a golden yellow throat. 

Now is an excellent time to add some daylilies to your garden for gorgeous and reliable flowers every year. You may even get a few blooms on mid-season varieties this season! Stop by the garden center, shop online, or call ahead to find out what varieties we have available. 

Posted on

Small Shade Trees: Your Best Options for Small Spaces

small garden with shade trees ted lare

You love those colorfully blooming trees that you see everywhere in spring, but your yard is fully shaded and surrounded by large trees. So can you add a smaller colorful tree? You definitely can. Several kinds of trees will perform well in shady places with lots of other trees around. 

First, you need to determine the amount of shade your yard gets throughout the day. It varies from yard to yard and season to season, based on the sun’s angle and the placement of trees and buildings. 

Most yards have areas that get shade for part of the day, and sun at other parts of the day. If the site where you want a tree receives a half-day of sun or more, then full-sun trees will perform best. If the spot only gets sun for a small portion of the day, or doesn’t get any sun at all, it’s considered a full-shade site. 

Here are a few small trees that will work best in locations that are in the shade for most of the day and are hardy enough to survive our Iowa winters.    

 

japanese maple, serviceberry, and eastern redhead trees ted lare

Japanese Maples 

These trees are great for shaded sites, and many have lovely colored leaves that can bring new life to a shady spot, they range in sizes but most stay under 25-30′ tall and 15-20′ wide. There are even a few varieties such as Threadleaf Japanese Maples that stay 5′ tall 10′ wide. Pixie Japanese Maple is also a miniature version, only getting about 6′ tall and 6′ wide. Many of these trees have the added bonus of absolutely stunning fall color.     

Serviceberry 

These are great trees if you’re looking for pretty white blooms in shaded sites. This tree is native to woodland areas and is happy in part sun to part shade conditions, but will also grow in full sun. The berries this tree produce are edible and taste great. They make excellent jams and syrups! Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry is a beautiful variety that grows to about 20′ tall to 20′ wide, and have the added bonus of beautiful orange leaves in fall.     

Redbud 

This tree is native to Iowa and is usually found growing in the edges of woodland. They feel very at home in part sun and part shade. These trees have stunning deep pink flowers that fill the branches in spring before the leaves emerge. Redbuds can grow to about 25′ tall by 20′ wide. The large, heart-shaped leaves of this tree are attractive through the season, and they turn yellow in the fall. There are weeping varieties of this tree, like Lavender Twist Redbud, that stay within 10′ tall or less and have a unique weeping growth habit. 

    

Love what you’re reading? Sign up to our email newsletter, and get inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.

 Umbrella Magnolia 

These magnolias are not common around here, but they’re hardy enough to thrive as far north as Minnesota! One of the more impressive trees on this list, Umbrella Magnolia is one of the only Magnolias that can grow in full shade! One of the best features of this tree is its huge tropical-looking leaves; they can grow to be 3′ long and resemble an umbrella. The flowers beautifully showy, measuring up to 10″ across in a gorgeous shade of creamy white. The tree matures to 25-30′ tall and 15′ wide.     

umbrella magnolia and Sousa flowering dogwood ted lare

Kousa Flowering Dogwoods 

These are Chinese hybrids of the native Flowering Dogwood. These bloom much later than other Dogwoods, and the flowers are a bit smaller. Kousa is a hardier variety as well, which makes them suitable for Iowa. The flowers are usually white or pink, and the leaves turn a beautiful dark red in the fall. These trees reach about 18′ tall and 13′ wide.  

Ready to add a beautiful tree for small spaces to your yard? Give us a call to find out what we have in stock, or stop by the garden center to browse our tree lot. Our landscape designers can help you find shade trees to suit your yard.

 

 

 

 

Posted on

The Best Flowering Shrubs for Des Moines

weigelias-ted lare

Flowering shrubs are an excellent addition to any yard. They add structure and depth to your landscaping, they can be used for hedging or as accents, and when in flower, they add gorgeous color and even fragrance to your yard!

Here are a few of our favorite flowering shrubs that thrive in Central Iowa. 

Summersweet

Aptly named, Summersweet features clusters of sweetly fragrant white flowers that open in the middle of summer. It’s perfect for full to part sun conditions and grows up to 4′ high and wide. 

 

Rhododendrons

Evergreen shrubs feature purple or pink flowers that open in mid- to late spring, depending on the variety. These shrubs do well in part shade to mostly shade. They range anywhere from 5′ tall and 5′ wide to 2′ tall and 3′ wide.        

Forsythia

Thousands of bright yellow flowers cover forsythia shrubs every spring; it’s a real showstopper! Be sure to choose an Iowa flower bud hardy variety. These do well in full sun to part sun and grow to be about 4-5′ tall and wide.        

 

Hydrangeas

These are an excellent choice for large beautiful blooms in the summer season. Some Hydrangeas like the full sun while others are better suited to the shade. Colors range from pink to white and even blue, depending on the variety and the soil pH. They range in size from 3′ tall and wide to 5′ tall and wide.

Weigelias

An awesome late spring bloomer, tiny trumpet-shaped flowers cover these shrubs around May each year. Hummingbirds enjoy these blooms. Some Weigelias are up to 6-7′ while others are short and compact, staying closer to 4′ tall and wide. Flower colors range from pinks to reds to white.

 

Lilacs

Known for their marvelous fragrance, these shrubs can perfume an entire yard with a sweet scent that seems to float on a light spring breeze. Some get rather tall—up to 12′!—and would work great as a privacy screen. Dwarf varieties stay closer to 4-5′ tall and wide. Most lilacs like full sun, but can tolerate up to half the day in the shade.            

Viburnums

While some are grown for their fall leaves, many Viburnums have beautiful flowers. Some varieties are fragrant, others are not, and some have unique flower clusters that look almost like snowballs. Viburnum’s clusters of flowers coat the shrub during spring to early summer. Spring bloomers are quite fragrant, similar to Lilacs. Viburnums range from 3-4′ tall up to 12′ tall, depending on the variety. They are quite adaptable and will enjoy full sun or mostly shady conditions.  

 

Hardy Hibiscus

If you are looking for a shrub with extra-large dinner-plate-sized flowers, this is it. Hardy Hibiscus shrubs have blooms that look like they belong in the tropics. These shrubs need a little extra patience in the spring as they can be late to come up. The colors are usually two-toned, with one color on the outside and another in the inner part of the flowers. Color options range from white to pink to red. These beauties really love a hot, full sun location! They get to about 4-5′ tall and bloom in the middle to end of summer. 


Love what you’re reading? Sign up to our email newsletter, and get inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.


If you’d like to add any of these beautiful flowering shrubs to your yard this summer, give us a call, or stop by the garden center to pick out the ones you love the most.      



Posted on

Container Garden Inspiration for Your Patio

Container gardens have made gardening more accessible to many people. They’re perfect for people who only have a patio or porch, for those with mobility issues, beginner gardeners, and even kids. If you have a container garden with herbs and vegetables right outside your door, it’s nice and easy to pop out and grab a couple of things to add to your meals every day. It’s also a little easier to control issues like weeds in container gardens. Whatever your experience level, a container garden is a great way to get gardening. 

Among the best parts of container gardening is that you can get really creative with your arrangements. There are endless ways to arrange your containers on your patio and endless plant combinations you can grow together in containers. Your container garden can be completely different from one year to the next! You can combine veggies with flowers, you can do a color theme for each container, or you can go for an overall style and theme. Stumped for ideas? Here are a few Iowa container garden design ideas that you can recreate!

Container Vegetable Garden

If you’d like to grow mostly vegetables in your container garden, the most important thing is to decide what you’d like to grow, and then look for containers appropriate for the vegetables you want. Potato bags work quite well for growing potatoes on a patio, but you can also grow them in deep plant pots. For carrots, you’ll want a fairly deep planter as well. Strawberries, on the other hand, can be grown in quite shallow containers or hanging baskets. Peas and beans also don’t need too much soil depth, but they do need a trellis, canes, or wires to climb. If you’re short on space but want to grow lots of herbs, you can adapt a used shipping pallet into a vertical garden and turn the slats into shelf-style planters for a variety of herbs. 

You can also do some companion planting in a container garden. You can grow lettuce and spinach underneath tomatoes and peppers, radishes at the bottom of the peas, and green onions with kale or cabbage. 

 

Alpine Rock Garden Containers

If you love the look of rock gardens, you can recreate the alpine esthetic on a smaller scale with a container garden. Clay, concrete, and terracotta pots are great for recreating rock gardens. Alpine plants generally thrive in soil that is very rocky and have very few nutrients, so you don’t need standard potting soil for an alpine container garden. Cactus soil or orchid mix is a good base. Add in some attractive gravel, decorative stones in a few different sizes, and some of your favorite succulents.

You could also create a tiered look with terra cotta pots in three different sizes. It’s a good idea to use some bamboo stakes to stabilize your pots. Fill the largest pot with soil and place your decorative rocks. Then place your next size smaller pot on top of the soil in the first pot. Push your bamboo stake down through the hole into the soil of the first pot for stability. Make sure the bamboo is small enough not to block the drainage hole completely, and then fill that pot with soil. Then do the same with the next smaller pot on top of that. You could also use pots that may have broken to add an interesting look. Once you’ve got your pots arranged in tiers, start adding in your plants.

Some plants that are great for rock gardens include sedums, sempervivum, echeverias (also known as hens and chicks), creeping thyme, and dianthus (also called pinks or Sweet William). 

 

Container Cut Flower Garden

If you’d like to grow an assortment of flowers in containers for making your own bouquets, you’ll want to plan it out based on bloom times. Growing a variety of flowers that bloom all season, and at different times throughout the season means you’ll always have a variety of flowers to choose from. You can plant an assortment of different flowers together in a pot so that when you do cut some blooms, your containers still look colorful and abundant. 

Flowers that are excellent for cutting, and grow well in pots in sunny locations include zinnias, cosmos, and snapdragons. Basil or oregano can do double duty as a culinary herb or greenery in bouquets. Container gardens with partial shade could host hellebores, columbines, and astilbes. Lambs ear is a lovely greenery plant for part shade containers. For locations with all-day shade, consider bleeding hearts, coleus, foxgloves, and hostas.


Love what you’re reading? Sign up to our email newsletter, and get inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.

 

If you’d like to put together a container garden, give us a call for concierge shopping or order online. From containers to soil, decorative stone to plants and seeds, we can help you set up a beautiful container garden of your own! We can prepare your order for curbside pickup or delivery within the Des Moines metro area.

Posted on

Top 10 Tomatoes for Your Iowa Garden

unripe tomato ted lare design & build

Tomatoes are a gardening favorite across the US and around the world. They’re tasty, they produce a lot of fruit for the size of the plant, and they’re pretty easy to grow. But there are literally thousands of different types of tomatoes to choose from, so how do you choose which ones to try for yourself?

Here’s a list of 10 tried-and-true favorites that have fantastic flavor and grow well here in Iowa. You’ll be sure to get excellent tasting tomatoes growing any of these varieties!

  1. Sun Gold is a beautiful golden orange cherry tomato. This popular variety is a very vigorous producer, and its branches will be loaded with super-sweet tomatoes all season! They bloom quite early and are easy to care for. Sun Gold tomatoes win our Tomato Festival taste-testing contest every single year!

     

 

  1. Black Krim is a unique heirloom tomato that is popular with gourmet chefs. It has a complex flavor combo of sweet, smoky, and a little bit salty. Black Krims are quite large, weighing anywhere from 8-12 ounces, and they’re particularly delicious with basil, fresh mozzarella, and a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Black Krim is a top favorite among our staff members.
  2. Gold Medal tomatoes are a large and delicious yellowish-orange heirloom variety. They practically melt in your mouth and have a sweet, rich flavor. These are perfect for tomato sandwiches!

     

 

  1. Green Zebra is another heirloom variety, and they’re as beautiful to look at as they are tasty. These have striking bright green stripes that will catch your eye right away. Green Zebras are very rich, with just the right amount of tomato tang. They are also very popular with gourmet chefs. Green Zebras mature a little late, but they produce very prolifically.
  2. Amish Paste is a Roma tomato, and they might be the perfect option for canning or eating fresh. They have a wonderfully rich flavor that is perfect for sauces and soups. They do get quite tall and produce prolifically right into the fall, so they will need to be trained on strong stakes to support their heavy crop.

     

 

  1. Martino Roma is a prolific producer with lots of flesh and very few seeds. These dense little tomatoes are excellent for canning, making salsa, or in fresh bruschetta. They produce prolifically but may fall off the vine when they get ripe, so keep an eye on the ground to prevent fallen fruit from bruising!
  2. Italian Heirloom produces huge tomatoes, weighing in from 12-20 ounces. They are a perfect balance of sweet and acidic, with meaty flesh and very few seeds. This is your ideal sandwich tomato; you should only need one slice to cover an entire piece of bread. They make great sauces as well and are resistant to many tomato diseases.

     

 

  1. Early Girl, as their name implies, is one of the earliest ripening varieties of tomato available, maturing in just 57 days! These are a little bit smaller than other varieties at 4-6 ounces each, but they still pack a delicious flavor and are excellent for salads and sandwiches. They produce abundantly through mid-summer, though they do taper off in early fall. 
  2. Sweet 100 is a cherry tomato with a vivid, bright red color. These are the perfect size for picking and snacking on while they’re still warm from the sun, and they have a delicious sweet flavor. Sweet 100 produces long clusters of tomatoes right into the fall. They’re perfect for salads or Caprese salad skewer appetizers.

     

 

  1. Celebrity Tomatoes are a hearty producer, giving you lots of flavorful fruit that can be used in any recipe that calls for tomatoes. The plants’ average 7-ounce fruits that are resistant to cracking. 


Love what you’re reading? Sign up to our email newsletter, and get inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.


If you’d like to add some tomato plants to your garden this year, give us a call! We’ve got curbside pickup available or delivery within the Des Moines metro area. We can set you up with the variety that will be perfect for your yard. Don’t forget to check out our
tips for growing amazing tomatoes when you pick up your selections for the year

Posted on

Ted Lare’s Top New Annuals for 2020

coleus Ted lare design and build

Every year we try to bring in some new and exciting annuals to keep your garden fresh and interesting. This year is no exception! We’ve got some unique and beautiful options this year with beautiful flower colors, striking variegated leaves, and simply unique features. Here are our top new annuals for 2020!

Coleus ‘Splish Splash’

Speckled yellow leaves add a splash to any container! Reaching up to 2′ tall and wide, this colorful Coleus works well as the backdrop of any container arrangement or in the garden. ‘Splish Splash’ is great for part sun to full sun areas.

Coleus ‘Under the Sea Clownfish’

Each leaf on this Coleus offers a trio of colors; lime green, pink, and burgundy. The leaves have a slightly serrated edge, offering a different look compared to other varieties. Not quite as tall as other Coleus, this variety reaches about 1′ tall and wide. It does great in full sun to mostly shade. 

Calibrachoa ‘Can Can Bumblebee’

This Calibrachoa has pleasant pink tones with a yellow star in the center. They work well in hanging baskets or the front of containers and prefer full sun to part shade. They grow about 6-7″ tall and wide and blend beautifully with other annuals.

Calibrachoa ‘Neo Double Orangetastic’

This Calibrachoa has ruffled double blooms that are colored a pretty shade of orange with reddish centers. Like other Calibrachoas, this one prefers plenty of sunlight, but it will tolerate a bit of shade. It gets about 6-7″ tall and wide and works well in hanging baskets or as a spiller in container gardens.

Petunia Supercal ‘Carmel’

True yellow petunias are hard to find, but this seems to be the closest to a true yellow variety we’ve ever seen! The yellow trumpets are nicely complemented by darker reddish centers. This petunia truly makes a statement in hanging baskets or containers. Supercal ‘Carmel’ reaches about 12″ tall and wide in sites with full to part sun. 

Purslane ‘Rio White’

An all-white single-blooming Purslane variety. These beauties like full hot sun and prefer to be on the dry side, making them much lower-maintenance than other annuals. This blooming groundcover creeps low to the ground, reaching about 8″-10″ wide, but only a few inches in height. Excellent in hanging baskets and as a spiller in containers. 

Petunia Supercal ‘Sunray Pink’

Unlike any ordinary Petunia, ‘Sunray Pink’ is an intense shade of neon pink with a yellow throat. A great performer that doesn’t need deadheading. Grows about 1′ tall and wide, and acts as an excellent spiller in containers or hanging baskets. Performs best in full sun to part shade.


Love what you’re reading? Sign up to our email newsletter, and get inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.

Petunia ‘Starry Sky Burgundy

A newer Petunia release that is similar to ‘Night Sky,’ this variety offers a white star in the middle and comes in a striking deep red color. ‘Starry Sky Burgundy’ is another low maintenance petunia that doesn’t require deadheading. Reaches about 8′ tall and wide, and works great in full sun to part shade in containers and hanging baskets.

Rex Begonia Vine ‘Cissus Discolor’

This neat plant features striking foliage in a combination of green and silver with purple undersides. ‘Cissus Discolor’ is a vining plant that grows to about 2′ wide, and can be trained to climb up a trellis or left to hang gracefully over the sides of a larger pot. This plant works well in part to full shade.

 

Thunbergia ‘Tangerine Splice-A-Peel’

This plant is also known as Black-Eyed Susan Vine, but this variety has orange flowers outlined in yellow for a stunning warm combo! The vine can be trained to climb up a small trellis and can also be grown in a hanging basket. It reaches about 2′ wide and works great in full sun to part shade.

Cuphea ‘Starfire Pink’

These tubular flowers are small but bloom in abundance! This Cuphea variety works well as an accent plant in any container or in the garden. It grows to about 8″ tall and 5″ wide. Works great in full to part sun!

Dipcliptera Suberecta 

Also called Firecracker plant, this Dipcliptera variety has red tubular-shaped flowers that are popular with hummingbirds. This is a larger plant, reaching a mature height of around 2-3′, so it works well in the center of containers or as a backdrop in the garden. It prefers full to part sun.

 

If you’d like to add any of these awesome new options to your collection, simply head over to our online shop or give us a call for personalized concierge shopping. All of our plants, tools, and gardening supplies are available for delivery in the Des Moines metro area or for curbside pickup!

Posted on

Easy Vegetables To Grow for New or Seasoned Gardeners

Whether you’re new to vegetable gardening or have been at it for years, having some easy to grow vegetables in your garden plots allows you to maximize your yield without adding extra work to your schedule. In strange times like these, growing your own food is a great way to support your family by avoiding grocery store trips, while also giving you some garden therapy to help you relax. Growing some easy veggies ensures you a successful harvest, even if you’re busy entertaining kids, working from home, or just feeling overwhelmed. A tiny bit of effort now will pay dividends this spring and summer!

Here are 5 vegetables that are super easy to grow in Iowa and require very little maintenance or attention. Plant them, water them, and soon you’ll be harvesting your own homegrown produce aisle!

Beans

Green beans, purple beans, pole beans, and yellow beans are all super easy to grow. Beans are pretty resilient and self-reliant. If you choose a climbing type, make sure they have something to climb like a lattice, poles, chicken wire, or a fence. Beans are also a great way to get kids involved because the seeds are large enough for little hands to space out properly in furrows. Beans also grow pretty fast, so you’ll be eating them fresh in no time. 

Carrots

Carrots are another easy grower that pretty much take care of themselves. Because carrot seeds are tiny, it may be challenging to space them well. Once they are about 4 inches tall, it’s a good idea to thin out the seedlings a bit. Look for the tiniest seedlings and pull them out. Give each seedling a little more space, aiming for an area about the width of your thumb in between seedlings.

Cherry Tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes are delicious, and like beans, they don’t require much maintenance. Because they are considered determinate tomatoes, also called bush varieties, cherry tomatoes don’t need any pruning. They will do better with support of some kind, like a tomato cage, but otherwise, you can simply make sure they’re watered and fertilized regularly. Before too long, you’ll have some delicious baby tomatoes for salads or snacking on straight off the vine.

Lettuce

Lettuce is super easy to grow, and is a great option for small gardens, and you can even grow it indoors near a south-facing window. There are many different varieties of lettuce available, from red leaf to romaine. Kale, spinach, and arugula are also very easy to grow. If you plant a new crop of seed every two weeks, you’ll have fresh lettuce for sandwiches and salads all year long, even through the winter. 

Cucumbers

Cucumbers are also quite easy to grow. There are many varieties available for eating fresh or pickling. Cucumbers do tend to spread, so make sure they’ve got lots of space in the garden bed. Giving them a structure to climb, like a lattice or wire hoops, will make it easier to pick them later and keep them off the soil where they may start to rot. It’s a good idea to wear gloves and long sleeves when you’re harvesting cucumbers, as they have rather prickly stems and leaves.

The most important thing to remember when growing these veggies in Iowa is to keep an eye on the soil moisture. Tomatoes especially tend to be thirsty plants, so make sure they’re getting watered regularly if it’s not raining much. During Iowa’s hot mid-summer days, you’ll need to water more or less every day unless it rains. That’s another activity kids are usually more than happy to help with, so get the whole family involved in your gardening efforts!


Love what you’re reading? Sign up to our email newsletter, and get inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.


If you’re feeling inspired, why not try adding a few herbs to your easy-grow garden as well? Herbs like chives, parsley, mint, and oregano are just as simple to grow as the veggies above. Whatever you need to get started growing, from containers to soil to seeds to plants, we can help you out. With curbside pickup or delivery, just call ahead and tell us what you need, and we’ll get it ready to load straight into your vehicle.   

Posted on

Garden Therapy: Reduce Stress and Improve Your Wellbeing

woman gardening Ted lare design and build

A little garden therapy can help reduce stress, improve mental health, boost our mood, release endorphins and engage our creativity. In these challenging times, it’s even more important to look after our mental health. Gardening can also help give us more of a sense of stability and security since we can take an active role in growing some of our own food. 

While the Ted Lare garden center is not currently open for browsing, we still want to support you to try some “garden therapy” for yourself. We’ve adapted our operations to still allow you to safely shop for the things you need for your garden—from plants, to tools, to soil.

 

Curbside Pickup

We’re implementing a curbside pickup option for orders. Currently, you can view a variety of items we have available on our Facebook or Instagram. Keep your eyes on our social media, as we’ll be posting daily videos of the exciting items we have in-store.

Local Delivery

We’re offering free local delivery for all purchases of $50 or more in the Des Moines metro area and surrounding suburbs.

 

Options for Ordering

Ordering On the Phone: We want to make it as easy and safe as possible for you to get what you need for your garden. To that end, we have arranged a dedicated cell phone and concierge service so you can shop from the comfort of your home. You can text us, FaceTime us, or phone us, and we’ll walk through what you need. We’ll then put your order together, get it set up for curbside pickup or delivery, and give you the total for your order and then we’ll take payment over the phone.  Once your order is ready to go, we’ll give you a call to let you know it’s ready for pickup, or to schedule delivery. 

Online Ordering: We are in the process of uploading all of our products to our website for online shopping. We’re adding more items every day, so keep checking back. If you don’t see the product you’re looking for, give our concierge a call at 515-205-6985.

Gift Cards: If you’re not sure what you quite yet, or if you’re looking for a great gift idea, consider a Ted Lare gift card! We’re currently offering our gift cards on a 20% off sale. Whether you want to purchase later in the season, stop by once we open to the public again, or give a gift to cheer up a friend, gift cards are a great option for everyone. You can purchase them online via our website, or you can call our concierge to get set up.  

Garden Therapy: Sensory Gardens

Sensory Gardening is a great way to engage all five senses to help you be mindful and present. A sensory garden generally includes plants that can trigger each sense: touch, sight, sound, smell, and taste. Sensory gardens can also fit spaces of any size. Whether you have a corner of the yard to work with or a single pot on the porch, you can create a sensory garden.

Herbs can often do double duty, stimulating your senses of taste and smell, as can easy-to-grow vegetables like tomatoes and peppers. 

Plants with larger leaves that rustle together in the wind add a gentle, soothing sound. Water, whether in a large water feature or a small tabletop fountain, also creates calming white noise to help you stay in the moment. 

Brightly-colored flowers, like pansies, add that hit of brilliant color for an energizing visual effect. In the gardening world, there’s no shortage of options for creating a visually beautiful design! For the best effect, choose the colors and shapes that you feel most drawn to. If it makes you feel happy, it’s good for you!

Plants with interesting textures beg to be touched. Try wooly thyme, dusty miller, lambs ear, or chenille plant, which all have wonderful soft and fuzzy flowers or foliage. 

Love what you’re reading? Sign up to our email newsletter, and get inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.


We’re committed to keeping our community of Des Moines safe, and encouraging positive mental health care during this time. Give us a call if we can help you get set up for some garden therapy. By supporting each other, we can make it through!