Des Moines, IA
A Des Moines, Iowa man has been planting and caring for his personal vegetable garden for many years and continues to do so. But it is a landscape of trees and other flora that has seen a tremendous upward turn in the last 12 years, since his daughter graduated from Iowa State University. This is because she came out of school with a degree in landscape architecture and began helping him out.
The vegetable gardener’s daughter brought her husband along, a biology and forestry major, who had worked for the Heritage Design in Moline. He now works for a local tree service in Des Moines. With two generations working together they transformed the humble yard of the Des Moines man, and now it has become a bit of a "must-see" attraction in the area. He opened up his yard to show off their hard work in June with five tours as part of the Silvis Garden Club.
A foundation for their masterpiece began at the front of the house where they planted an alternating pattern of boxwood shrubs and variegated hostas, which was previously flourished with junipers that became overgrown. This change to boxwood is because they stay compact and provide foliage all year round.
Towards the side of the house, the trio chose to install a new bed, one plant at a time. This is located under a large locust tree planted many years ago, where grass seems to have a hard time growing.
To deal with these problem areas, they suggested to the gardener that they try planting a few plants at a time to see how the plant does before adding more. This gives gardeners the opportunity to see what works and what doesn’t without having to commit to something that could completely fail.
In the backyard, his domain, there are several plots of vegetables consisting of tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, squash and broccoli. Each plot is fenced in to keep out pests like rabbits. The gardener also shows off his beautiful patch of raspberry and blueberry bushes, which are covered with cloth net to keep birds from getting to them. Alongside his raspberries is another prominent birch tree that also provides visual interest in winter due to it's bark coloring.
This area, despite what they have be advised by other gardeners, has actually been planted all at once. For the landscape around his home they used a variety of flora that would provide interest all year round and that are native to the area. This would also support pollinators such as bees and butterflies.
The gardener and his wife are happy to share their hard work by showing it off to visitors who are interested. His daughter now works as an executive director at a local conservation.
This gardener is more than just a man who loves to plant and reap what he sows, but he is also a Vietnam veteran and retired U.S. postal worker. He hopes that his love and passion for gardening will encourage others to strive for the best for their own plot of land.