June 21, 2002

Tour Annuals Across Iowa

Keeping up with the new annual flower varieties can be difficult. Choosing the best flower varieties for your garden can be a daunting challenge. Fortunately, a wide variety of annual flowers are displayed at several of Iowa's public gardens.

All of the gardens listed below are All-American Selection Display Gardens that showcase past and upcoming All-American Selection Winners. Each year growers from across the United States select the best annual flowers and vegetables for AAS Winner status. These varieties typically perform well in Iowa gardens.

Start to Look for Grasshoppers

Mid-June is the time to begin checking for small grasshopper nymphs in and around the home garden. Grasshoppers are an occasional pest and the number varies greatly from year to year and from place to place. Abundance is determined by several factors, especially the weather.

The grasshoppers commonly found in Iowa gardens spend the winter as eggs in the soil. The female deposits eggs in the soil during late summer. Most eggs are laid in turfgrass or other sod areas.

Poppies: From Breads to Backyards

The beauty of poppies can be very alluring, as Dorothy found out in the Wizard of Oz. Poppies are used in the ornamental garden, dried and cut flower arrangements, and in cooking. While the "tissue paper" blooms look very delicate, the plants are surprisingly durable and once established are fairly carefree. There are both perennial and annual species well suited to the Midwest.

Protecting Gardens from Rabbits

In their natural habitat, rabbits are enjoyable creatures. Gardeners, however, often have less favorable viewpoints. Rabbits can cause considerable damage to flowers and vegetables in home gardens. When damage becomes unacceptable, control measures are in order. Control options include habitat modification, repellents, trapping, and fencing.

Habitat Modification

Brush, junk, and tall weeds near flower and vegetable gardens provide good food and cover for rabbits. Removing debris (brush and junk) and cutting tall weeds should make the area less attractive to rabbits.