North Iowa

What's New for Shrubs

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The varieties of new shrubs coming on the market is staggering! We can hardly keep up with all the new ones. But the new varieties offer great qualities of disease resistance, better and longer lasting color, more blooms, and dwarf selections of some of the “old favorites”.

Here are just a few of the newer varieties that we carry at NP that you may want to consider.

Barberries (Multiple new varieties -here are some of the ones we carry)

Cabernet:  Deep burgundy foliage, grows 2-3’

Cherry Bomb: Crimson burgundy red, compact, grows 3-4’

Japanese Concord: Deep burgundy/purple, compact grows 1 ½-2’

Golden Ruby: Coral to orange foliage, Grows 2’

Orange Rocket: Bright coral to orange foliage, Grows upright 4-5’

Sunsation: Golden Yellow, slow growing 3-4’

Exochordia (Pearlbush)

Green with profuse beautiful pearl like white blooms in spring. Grows 4-5’

Hydrangea (Multiple new varieties -here are some of the ones we carry)

Bobo – Dwarf, white flowers turn to pink, grows 3’

Candy Apple – Flowers lime green, grows 4-5’

Quick Fire – White blooms turn fiery red , grows 6-8’

Seaside Bar Harbor – Similar to Annabelle but more compact, grows 4’

Seaside Cape May – Large lacecap blooms in blue/pink, grows 3’

Strawberry Shake- Large blooms white turning pink, grows 4-5’

Spireas:  (Multiple new varieties- here are some of the ones we carry)

Birchleaf: A smaller version of the old fashioned “Bridal Wreath”, blue green foliage which resembles eucalyptus leaves, grows 3-4’

Dakota Goldcharm: Dwarf, compact, gold leaves, pink blooms, grows 2-3’

Pink Sparkler First Edition: Deep green with pink blooms, Grows 3’

 Weigelas (Multiple new varieties – here are some of the ones we carry)

Dark Horse: Burgundy/bronze leaves with pink blooms, grows 3’

Rainbow Sensation First Edition: Variegated leaves, pink blooms, grows 3-4’

Wine and Roses: Deep burgundy foliage, pink flowers, grows 4-5’ 

ADDING FRAGRANT PLANTS TO YOUR LANDSCAPE

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Most of us are familiar with the wonderful sweet fragrance of an old fashioned lilac in the spring. A gentle breeze carries the fragrance through out a whole neighborhood.

 Would you like to add some other varieties of plants that add fragrance to your yard?

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Here are some Natural Plus favorites:

Trees:

All fruit trees (apples, pears, cherries, plums) have a wonderful fragrance in the spring when blooming. Plums are especially fragrant. 

Some other ornamental trees that give a sweet fragrance in spring when in bloom are flowering crabs, serviceberries, hawthorns, Japanese tree lilacs, fringe trees, and dwarf Korean tree lilacs.

Lindens are an upright pyramidal shaped shade tree with a heart shaped leaf. In June they produce very small yellow blooms that are barely visible unless you get up close to the tree. However, those blooms are very fragrant and you may be able to smell them from a half a block away.

 Shrubs:

Many shrubs are fragrant when in bloom. Some you may want to consider are: lilacs, (bloomerang lilacs rebloom to give a second set of fragrant blossoms mid-summer), mockorange (dwarf and standard size), snowberry, and elderberries.

Roses may or may not be fragrant. Newer hybridized varieties often have beautiful bloom colors and are more disease resistant, but have little fragrance. Older varieties such as rugosa roses bring back memories of fragrant rose gardens. One of our favorites is Purple Pavement.

 Perennials:

Most people are aware of the fragrance of peonies – a sturdy perennial that goes back generations. At Natural Plus we have a row of peonies that are over 50 years old and still produce hearty blooms every year.

Some other perennials that will add fragrance to your yard include:

Garden phlox (come in many colors), lavender (there is now a variety hardy for zone 4), iris, hyssop, astilbe, dianthus, most coneflowers, helleborus, bee balm, and sweet autumn clematis.  

Bulbs and Woodland Plants

Hyacinths (bulbs) and Lily of the Valley are spring bloomers that are particularly fragrant.

THIS NURSERY GIG

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🍂This nursery gig 🍂

I hear often, “You have my DREAM JOB! I would love to work outside with plants all day! 🍃

Yes, yes, I do love that part, but as a business owner, that part is a small piece of the bigger picture of owning and operating a retail nursery business.

Running a business is no joke. There is so much that goes in to it—the marketing, the finances and accounting, the billing and estimating, the ordering, the inventory, tracking, bill paying, payroll, decision making, customer service, employees, Human Resources, emails and phone calls—oh the emails and phone calls, and the list goes on and on.

I’m definitely not complaining because being busy is a good sign in business... but, man oh man have we learned so much in the last 5 years.

And having Holtan has shifted priorities for us. We want to work a little less, so we can enjoy him a little more. Sometimes phone calls don’t get made, or emails don’t get answered because we choose family over business. We are grateful to have customers who understand. 

So thank you to all of our customers who have stuck with us over the last 40 years, and especially the last 5... as we have transitioned the business out of Dave and Linda’s hands into ours...

The nursery will continue to change as our family changes. I’m not sure what that looks like, but i imagine time will tell and I trust it will be right. I suppose that’s the beauty of this thing they call a “small family business.”

How fortunate are we that we get to choose what we want for our lives?

Is it scary? Yes.

Is it worth it? ALWAYS YES.

We are looking forward to trying some new things in 2019 and continuing to serve our customers with quality plants and the knowledge to care for them.

Thanks for being here!

PLANTING TREES FOR FALL COLOR

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PLANTING TREES FOR FALL COLOR

The beauty of fall colors touches the soul. Take time to pause and enjoy this special time of year.  The reds, yellows, and oranges of trees in the fall all add to the fall splendor.

Here are some Natural Plus favorites for adding fall colors to your yard/landscaping:

Ornamental/Smaller Trees with Fall Color (10-30’ size):

·      Amur Maple           Brilliant red fall color, clump or single stemmed

·      Serviceberry          Orange/reds , berries for birds, clumps or singles

·      Hot Wings               Reds/oranges with bright red seed pods

 

Larger Shade Trees with Good Fall Color (over 30’)

·      Aspen                                               Quaking golden yellow leaves

·      Birch                                                 Yellow, clump or single stemmed

·      Ginkgos                                            Golden yellow (slow growing)

·      Lindens                                            Yellow, heart shaped leaves

·      Locust                                               Yellow wispy leaves

·      Maples: Autumn Blaze               Brilliant Red, fast growing

·      Maples: Burgandy Belle                    Burgundy Red

·      Maples: Emerald Luster                    Golden Yellow, fast growing

·      Maples: Rubrum                           Bright Red

·      Maples: Sugar                                Multiple varieties – oranges, reds, yellows

·      Red Oaks                                         Red

·      Witch Hazel                                      Fragrant yellow blooms in fall

PIVOTING TO MAKE THIS WORK FOR OUR FAMILY

Over 5 years ago, when we decided to purchase Natural Plus we had NO CLUE what we were doing or what we were getting ourselves in to.

And to be honest, we still don't. 😂

But does anyone, really??

Aren't we all doing the best we can, making mistakes along the way, but then learning from them and growing and choosing better next time? 

When we bought the nursery, Dave’s dad Dave was running a landscaping crew and doing big commercial landscaping projects. We slowly inherited and took over operations of the crew and jobs in 2014 and 2015, however quickly realized it was more than we wanted to manage and more time consuming than we liked. We originally decided to purchase the business for the flexibility of working our jobs around our family. The demands of the landscaping crew, the appointments, the estimating, and the billing alone were more than Dave was able to handle himself, and keeping him busy all day and every evening, plus working the nursery on the weekends. He was falling more and more behind on everything because he was filling too many roles. We had to make a decision: get more help and grow the landscaping, or phase out that part of the business and focus on the retail nursery. We had a lot of deep discussions and spent hours projecting if a seasonal retail nursery could stand alone without the income from landscaping. We are excited to say that we {mostly} went for it, only doing a select few small landscaping projects that were still hanging on from previous years. We are continuing to trust in the process and take risks, choosing to pour in to the parts of this business that work for our family, and letting go of the parts that don’t. It’s been a long, slow process, and will probably never be complete. And it is oh so scary, not knowing if what we follow will continue to provide for our family and make our business profitable. We continue to have challenges, but choose to trust the process of it all, and know that we need to continue to make decisions for our business based on what we want for our family.

Business ownership has taught us so much in the last 5 years, but the thing we have gotten the most from it is THE PEOPLE. Our customers are the absolute best, and continue to SHOW UP and SUPPORT the little backyard nursery we have going here. 

We appreciate all of you, and thanks for sticking with us as we grow and learn how to make this family business work for us.

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