Sunday, April 22, 2012

Spring in my Iowa garden

Welcome to Beyond The Garden Gate, where I blog about gardening and my table, including food and tea.

Today I want to give you a little garden tour. Sit down with a cup of tea or coffee and take a look around my Iowa garden.

I love having lilacs in the house. They smell so good!

The lavender lilacs are from my garden; the white ones from an abandoned farmstead.

The Virginia bluebells are still blooming. On the other hand, my English bluebells sent up foliage but didn't bloom - does that mean they are "done" and should be removed? Or perhaps they need to be divided and given some extra TLC (i.e., fertilizer and compost)?

The lilies of the valley smell great too.

The strawberries are blooming.

Dwarf red buckeye


Tortie, garden supervisor, lying down on the job

I'm pleased to see buds on the lupines.

Lupines are short-lived perennials, so I plant some every year. I start most of mine from seed. If you have difficulty with lupines, know they are not fond of clay soil but adding compost to the soil makes it workable, at least in my garden. They do not like alkaline soil, and they do appreciate a little peat in the planting hole. Lupine resent being moved, so plant them where you want them, in sun to part-sun.


Primula 'Wanda'

Allium 'Gladiator'



Meadow Sage Salvia

 On my porch are plants I am not wanting to put into the ground yet due to our last frost date being May 10. That includes this double knockout rose which I wintered over in the garage in a pot. It has begun to bloom. Unfortunately, rose slugs have been eating the leaves and when hand picking and dish soap failed to alleviate the problem, I sprayed them.

Variegated Solomon's Seal rests patiently on my front porch waiting for the soil to dry in the garden before planting.

Surfinia petunia on the porch
after the rain


Where tulips are concerned, I'm a big fan. However, tulips have been short-lived in my garden. To try to alleviate that issue, last fall I planted "perennial" tulips from Breck's that are supposed to last a number of years. We'll see.

Also my blogging gardening friend Larry has reported great longevity with Darwin tulips, and with deep planting of bulbs. This fall I hope to plant large numbers of Darwin tulips. And by the way, while not as fancy as some, there are many forms and colors available. I purchase many of my bulbs from Brent and Becky's Bulbs.

"Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes." ~Unknown

Linking to Bloomin' Tuesday

Hugs and blessings,



  1. Beth, what a lovely spring garden tour. You really have a lot of lovely colour going on there. I miss having lilacs, but there isn't really a place for them where we are. I have lots of shade to plant in, but the sun is taken up already!

  2. Your area is a month ahead of mine in growth! Everything looks great! We grow tulips up here just fine. I've never heard the term "perennial tulips" before. To me they are always perennial. Perhaps it's someting to do with the temperatures of your area. I just posted about tulips and my favorite catalog company for ordering. There should be a guide for the zone you live in to follow that should help guarantee better success.
    Happy Earth Day!

  3. Hi Beth
    I am longing for flowers like yours. I have wondered about the lupines and have never been able to grow them until I brought a small piece home from our arboretum. The seeds were scattered around the main clump last year to ensure some for this year and they are growing very well.
    I only put in bluebells last year purchased from a garden club plant sale so I've not had flowers yet. Most of my heucheras bit the dust this winter.

  4. My lilacs also bloomed this week and I have been enjoying seeing them through one of my kitchen windows, Beth. I grow the bush in a large flower pot (no dirt in my city backyard), so I am always so pleased to see them come back every spring.

    You have one of the prettiest gardens in blogland! I always love to drop by to see what is blooming here.

  5. Hi Beth,
    Oh I love your flowers! You are so ahead of us here in upper Michigan. My daffodils are just now opening. My last frost date is June lst, so have awhile to go before I can add annuals to my garden. I have lupines that self seed in my flower beds, I dug them up from the side of a road years ago. Thank you for showing us whats blooming in your garden.

  6. I could sure use some of your expertise with my garden! Everything is so beautiful, Beth.

  7. Hi Beth,
    As always I loved your garden tour. Everything is so pretty and my favs were those lovely Lilacs and Bluebells, gorgeous. Your kitty is pretty too, and seems to be quite enjoying the garden there!! lol
    I love tulips as well, but have never tried planting any, I just settle for buying them and putting them in a vase once a year or so.

    Hope everything is good with you hon. Miss hearing from you!
    blessings Nellie

  8. wow, you have alot of pretty flowers already. your temps are about the same as ours. I never knew you could winter roses..we dont cut ours down until spring and they have been budding and blooming wonderfully. I might have to get some roses bushes in a pot and do that because i like the idea of having them on the porch so early.

  9. What a fantastic garden you have--thank you for the tour! And that blue, oh, that blue of the Virginia bluebells--I want some (but I live in Washington State--don't know if they'll grow here or not!) And Tortie looks very relaxed (we have three relaxers as well.)

  10. Beth, It is sure looking like spring in your garden! Lovin' all the beautiful colors. Jean

  11. Happy Bloomin' Tuesday! I enjoyed seeing your garden. You are several weeks behind us. Our bluebells, lilacs, tulips, etc., are done. I've wanted a dwarf red buckeye for some time. I need to put that on my to-do list! ~~Rhonda

  12. You sure have some beauties there! Thanks for the tips on growing lupines. I had one live 2 or 3 seasons, and had lots of lovely blooms, but the others I've tried never survived a winter, and I can't remember if they even bloomed the season they were planted.

  13. Your bluebells and salvia are gorgeous. I can't wait to see how your allium blooms.


I treasure comments and read each one. Hope you enjoyed your visit to Beyond The Garden Gate!


Related Posts with Thumbnails