clear lake iowa

SHRUBS FOR SMALL SPACES

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SHRUBS FOR SMALL SPACES

Most gardeners have made the mistake of planting something that gets too large for its space.  Before planting anything check out how tall and wide the plant you picked will get.

(GET our guide to CHOOSING THE RIGHT PLANT HERE)

Once you’ve determined how big your space is, and that you need a smaller plant, look for new smaller varieties of old favorites.

Many of the old favorite varieties of plants have been hybridized into dwarf versions.  We can help you pick the right plant for your space. Here are some of our favorite dwarf shrubs:

Hetz Midget Arborvitae – dwarf globe evergreen that grows 2-3’ tall

Danica Arborvitae- dwarf globe evergreen that grows 2-3’ tall

Holmstrup Arborvitae – upright evergreen that grows 4-5’ tall

Dwarf Barberries – multiple varieties that grow 1 ½-2’ tall – some include Concord, Pygmy, Golden Nugget, Golden Ruby, Pygmy Ruby

Buckthorn Fineline  - grows 2-3’ wide, 5-7’ tall

Hydrangeas – some new dwarf varieties include Bobo, Endless Summer Bloomstruck, Little Lime, and Hamptons

Junipers- Blue chip, Blue Star

Ninebark – Little Devil   Grows 3-4’ high and wide

Blue Shag Pine – Makes a mound 3-4’ tall

Potentilla – Mango Tango, Gold Star  (grow about 2’ tall)

Rhododendron Ramapo – Same lavender flowers, grows 2’ tall

Roses – Multiple varieties of Easy Elegance Roses : Coral Cove, Kashmir, Paint the Town, Flower Carpet varieties, Nearly Wild

Spireas – Multiple new dwarf varieties including Birchleaf, Dakota Goldcharm, Little Princess,

Spruce – Birds Nest, Dwarf Norway

Viburnum – Opulus Nanum (grows 2’), Bailey Compact (grows 5-6’)

Weigela – Minuet (grows 2-3’), Dark Horse (grows 3’)

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!

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!

TIPS FOR SUMMER PLANTING

TIPS FOR SUMMER PLANTING

TIPS FOR SUMMER PLANTING

Summer has finally arrived and the beautiful colors and blooms of summer are everywhere. A common question we get in the summer is

“Is it too late to plant?” 

The answer is no.

Container grown plants can be planted anytime from spring through fall. And a benefit of planting now is that you can see the foliage and blooms of the plants you are choosing.  So if you have procrastinated or simply ran out of time earlier to complete your gardening projects there is still time.

Four questions that you should consider when choosing any plant are:

·      How tall do you want the plant to get?

·      Does your area have sun, shade, or part sun, and what direction does it face?

·      Do you want an evergreen or leafy plant?

·      Do you have any special wishes for the plant – color, blooms, etc.

Once you have the answers to these questions, we can easily help you pick the plants for your areas.

 

 

 

ROSES

An old proverb sums it up

“Take time to smell the roses.”

The beauty and fragrance of a rose makes us stop for a minute to enjoy life.

Growing your own roses can be a challenge but here are a few tips to help you be successful.

Tea roses are not hardy for our zone. Years ago they were our only option. They required a lot of care and winter protection and still did not fare well over winter. We now have wonderful new options for growing roses.

At Natural Plus we carry a few varieties of roses that are much more hardy, disease resistant, and rebloom. Here are some of those varieties:

Easy Elegance Roses : Easy Elegance roses are very hardy, highly disease resistant, and colors are stunning. Some varieties that we carry include:

            Coral Cove – Coral colored, everblooming, grows 24”

            High Voltage – Bright yellow, recurrent blooms, grows 3-5’

            Kashmir – Dark red tea like blooms, grows 2 ½-4’

            Music Box – Stunning yellow and pink blend, grows 3’

            Paint the Town – Everblooming, medium red, grows 2-3’

Nearly Wild – Nearly wild roses are one of our most hardy varieties. They bloom all summer. Blooms resemble the bloom of a wild rose. If there is a particularly hard winter, they usually come back from the root. Grow 2-3’

Purple Pavement –Purple pavement is a rugosa rose with fuschia colored blooms that grow in clusters.  They are very fragrant and plants are extremely hardy. Blooms turn to beautiful red “rose hips” in fall.  Grow 3-5’.

Climbing Roses: At Natural Plus we carry 2 varieties that we feel are the most hardy: William Baffin is a prolific bloomer with medium pink blooms.  John Cabot is a deep red colored. These require a trellis.

Knock-Out Roses-  We continue to carry knock-out roses that bloom all summer in red or pink. We have found these to be a little more susceptible to winter kill, but some people have had excellent luck with them. Good maintenance and protection over winter are the keys to success.

 Care of Roses

Roses need full sun to get optimal blooms. Adequate watering, usually 2-3 times a week is a must, especially for newly planted roses. It is also advisable to treat with a “Rose RX -3 in One” rose care product. This product provides protection from aphids, spider mites, black spot fungus, and powdery mildew. It is listed as organic.

 Fertilize roses 2-3 times a summer starting in late May with an all purpose fertilizer such as “Miracle Gro” or “Rapid Gro”.

 Trimming Roses

Best time for trimming roses is early spring before they leaf. Trim to the desired size. After they leaf, trim out any dead wood that remains.  They can be lightly trimmed during the summer to achieve optimal shape.

Overwintering Roses

Care over winter is a must. Be sure that roses are adequately watered going in to winter. Water once a week in the fall up until the ground freezes. Mulch roses heavily at the base in the fall. This also helps protect from winter kill.