North Iowa

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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SUMMER PERENNIALS

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Summer perennials

The best of summer is now on display – flowers blooming around every corner. Summer perennials are showy and most are easy to grow.

Perennials grow and bloom, die back over winter, and regrow year after year. Planting perennials can save time and money as, unlike annuals, they don’t need to be purchased and planted every year.

Before planting perennials make sure you know their main characteristics such as height/width, sun or shade tolerance, bloom colors, and specific characteristics for planting.

Here are some of our favorite perennials:

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·      Daylilies – Stella De Oro (which bloom golden yellow) and Happy Returns (which bloom lemon yellow) are everywhere. They bloom most of the summer and take little care.  There are hundreds of varieties of other daylilies as well – from heritage varieties to new varieties that often re-bloom. Colors range from white to reds, yellows, purples, and greens

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·      Native perennials – Ditches are now full of natives that have been reseeded after decades of spraying. Some of those you are seeing are coneflowers, blazing star, butterfly weed, bee balm, and black eyed susans. These can now be planted in the home garden. New varieties are also available for some of these old faithfuls. New varieties have vibrant new colors and/or are dwarf varieties.

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·      Phlox – Phlox come in beautiful colors of purples, pinks, corals, and whites. Their downside is susceptibility to mildew. Newer varieties are resistant to mildew. Most varieties are quite invasive so plant in an area where they can spread.

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·      Hibiscus – Perennial hibiscus are a most showy summer perennial are very hardy. Plants grow to about 4 feet and blooms are the size of a dinner plate. Blooms come in a variety of colors – most are reds or pinks. Be sure to choose north hardy varieties.

·      Coral Bells – Coral Bells grow about 8-12”  and are mainly planted for their vibrant leaf colors. Colors include yellow, deep red, copper, and greens. Most are tolerant to sun or shade and are a nice filler in shade gardens or for borders in sun gardens.

·      Russian Sage and Hyssop – Both of these plants grow about 3 foot tall and have spikes of purple blooms. These are a butterfly favorite and make a wonderful background plant.

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·      Other perennials – There are hundreds of more perennials you can choose from. Some of these include balloon flowers, baby’s breath, beardtongue, coreopsis, etc.

Do your research before planting perennials and they will reward you with blooms and color for years.

 At Natural Plus we can help you plan a perennial garden if you need help.

Enjoy the beauty of summer!