Tag Archives: Flower

This Memorial Day Honor Those Who Have Served You!

Memorial Day | Memorial Day Garden

Honor our Loved Ones With A Memorial Day Garden

Create an Everlasting Memorial Garden for those loved, lost and always remembered….

Here are just a few choices to start you off:

Dry Site Mix

The Dry Site/Short Prairie Seed Mix 

The Dry Site | Short Prairie Seed Mix is

a mixture of specially selected wildflowers

and grasses that are adapted to dry soils

with full sunlight exposure. This seed mix

is great for soils that are sandy, rocky, clay

or just too poor to grow most plants. This mix is filled with species that will thrive under the worst conditions.

Showy Native Wildflower Mix

Showy Wildflower Mix

Showy Wildflower Mix 

These species have been selected to give you showy blooms throughout the growing season from spring through fall. This mix has 30%
more wildflower seed in it than our standard mixes. A great value for those who want more wildflowers in their mix.
This mix is adapted to well drained soils with medium to medium dry conditions.

Waters Edge Package

Water’s Edge Beautification Package 

Great for Water Gardens, Ponds, Lakes, Creek beds, Streams, wetlands and any other water edge. Can be planted anytime throughout the summer. The plants will develop quickly. The native wildflowers included in the mix attract birds, hummingbirds and butterflies while providing vibrant colors of purple, red and
yellow throughout the growing seasons.

Meadow Blazingstar

Add this native perennial plant to  attract butterflies into your garden with the beautiful native plant “Meadow Blazingstar“.  For more information click here

Perennial Native Plant Meadow Blazingstar

Meadow Blazingstar

Order Your Native Bare Root Plants Now

Ion Exchange bare root plants Get your order for your native wildflower or native grass bare root plants now while there are many to choose from.  It is easy to order right from Ion Exchange Inc. or call 800-291-2143.

False Indigo, a Native for Riverbanks

false indigo plant close up

By: Julie Jenkins
Greenhouse Manager at Ion Exchange, Inc.

AMORPHA FRUTICOSA is also known as False Indigo, Indigo Bush, Desert False Indigo, or River Locust. This is a native perennial shrub that will grow 4-16 feet tall with occasional branching. The lower stem becomes woody and smoothly gray while the upper stem is dull light green. The ½-1 ½ foot leaves are alternate on relatively short petioles with 11-35 leaflets that are each 1-2 inches long, ½-1 inch wide, and are dull gray green. The leaflets are paired along the central stem with a single leaflet attached at the stem tip so the total number of leaflets is always uneven. The undersides of the leaflets have visible glands that appear as scattered small dots. Unlike the related Amorpha canescens, False Indigo is hairless and much larger in all aspects.

In June, July, and August 3-8 inch spike-like flower clusters develop from the upper branches. This species is a valued ornamental because of the showy blooms. The individual flowers are a ¼ inch long tubular structure from a single purple petal which is wrapped around ten yellow stamens. Amorpha is from the Greek term describing “without shape” in reference to the single petal design of the flower. Seed pods of about ¼ inch long replace the flowers and each pod contains 1-2 seeds. For optimal germination the seed hulls should be removed. Moist, cold stratification for 10 days will also enhance germination.
False Indigo is found growing in wet thickets and along stream and river banks and prefers full to partial sun but does not survive well in shade. This species tolerates a variety of soils and is capable of withstanding occasional flooding. It is valuable as a soil anchor along stream banks. Since it is a legume it fixes nitrogen in the soil. Small to medium sized bees looking for nectar and pollen typically pollinate the flowers. The purple blossoms also provide nectar for butterflies. Caterpillars of various butterflies and moths feed on the foliage and flowers. False Indigo provides good wildlife food. Bobwhite quail eat the fruit and deer will occasionally browse on this shrub. Despite the open growth of the False Indigo, Red winged blackbirds frequently make use of it as a nesting site.
Amorpha fruticosa is native to much of the continental United States but is considered an invasive species in some locations. It is not considered native in the Pacific North West but has distributed itself along rivers and streams where it is not really welcome.
The roots and stems of the False Indigo contain rotenone which is used as an insecticide and fish poison. Some commercial use yields a poor indigo (blue) dye.

To learn more click HERE

Extended Plant Sale. 35% Off Live Plants

The response has been so great we have extended our plant sale till the end of September. Ion Exchange to receive your discount use the code: 2010Fall35 when ordering online or mention this email when ordering by phone!

Fall Plant Sale at Ion Exchange Inc

Fall Plant Sale

My Little Prairie

My Little Prairie

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After a thunderstorm and lots of rain last night, I walked out to our 1-mile labyrinth through our 20-year-old prairie.  I noticed the mist rising through the thick morning air and smelled the freshness of the ground and air.  Dew dripped from the Big Bluestem.  Showy Tick-trefoil was seen drooping its purple head now standing 4 feet high towering over the already bloomed Golden Alexanders.

Still the Ohio Spiderwort sends out a spectacular 3 petaled blue flower saying goodbye once again to its blooming season.

The Yellow Coneflowers reach skyward with blooms in the green buds ready to burst into their summer yellow suits supporting their cone heads.

Mad Dog Skullcap sported its pink and white blooms and stood at attention just below the ever-growing Indian Grass.

Cup Plant had reached the overflow mark as its’ cupped leaves held at least 4 ozs. of water after the rain.  It continues its upward growth trying to once again outdo itself having reached over 7 feet in height last year.

A closer look revealed a Cream Gentian trying to get attention but alas all it could show were its waxy leaves waiting for another month to bloom and show off its pale yellow color.  Of course the Butterfly Milkweed needs no search to find as it shows forth its psychedelic orange heads stealing all the attention to itself.

The prairie hides many treasures just waiting to surprise the passerby with its individual personality made up of a hundred species of native flowers and grasses forming a living community adapted to the seasons of time.  A virtual kaleidoscope of dazzling colors turning off and on as the seasons roll by, is there to just enjoy.  Each species alone can be cherished but we sometimes forget that they all joined hands at one time making one of the largest living communities in the world sweeping from Texas to Canada.

Purple Coneflower, Oxeye Sunflower, Wild Indigo

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Howard Bright will speak at Master Gardeners Event at Muscatine IA

Howard will be speaking this month on some of the popular gardening topics for this upcoming season. To learn more visit this site.
Howard Bright owner of Ion Exchange has been invited to speak at the Masters Gardeners Annual Event

Free Tips on Gardening

Just passing along a link to some good free tips about Gardening this year.

I know I’m going to grow more of our own food this year because you can’t always eat native wild flowers.

Free Gardening Tips

Howard Bright, President

Ion Exchange, Inc.



³Helping you create your own natural beauty²

Planting Perennials in the Fall

I have planted small plugs up through Thanksgiving and we are on the border of Zone 3 and 4 here in NE Iowa. The root system is the most important part of the plant any time that you transplant. The fall can be deceiving and people who purchase plants this time of the year are sometimes disappointed that the tops are shaggy or sometimes non-existent. Don’t get discouraged. Take time to observe the root system. Select plants that have healthy roots. If the root system is dark and slimy, it is not a good plant and might even be dead. Choose plants or plugs with turgid, proper color and are not root bound. Don’t forget…plants have different colors of roots so become familiar with the colors. Also the density of the root system varies with different plants. For instance: Prairie Dropseed has a fine reddish colored root system while Cardinal flower has a very white root system that is very dense. Don’t compare one species to the other. Only compare same species with each other when checking the root system. So purchase your plants now and get the jump on next year as your plants will spring forth and be way ahead of those later plantings in the spring or summer.

Howard Bright – Ion Exchange Inc.

This autumn, consider planting perennials. There is no reason to wait for spring – fall is a perfect time for planting!
Editor’s note: This article was originally published September 8, 2008
Reprinted from Dave’s Garden

In the spring, we are deluged with catalogs stuffed with pictures of beautifully perfect flowers and plants. “Buy me! Plant me!” they cry. The nurseries fill with plants, live and in person, all needing good homes. “Resist,” I say. “The time is not yet at hand!” Planting perennials in the fall is a kinder, gentler way to plant.

Perennials planted in the spring have a tough row to hoe. They must:

* Develop an entirely new root system

* Adjust to life outside the greenhouse or nursery

* Produce a crop of flowers (or lovely foliage, or whatever it is you’re expecting of them)

* Risk being planted too soon, before they have “hardened off” sufficiently

* Risk being planted too late, in some of the most taxing conditions for a plant: the heat of summer

Many of the wiser mail order companies won’t even ship during the hot days of June, July and August. I recommend the more nurturing method of planting perennials in the fall. If you plant your plants at least six weeks before the first freeze is likely to occur, you’ll give them a chance to conserve their foliage and flower development in favor of root growth. If the roots are there, the plant will be there.

One of the strongest arguments in favor of fall planting is a good one for knuckle-heads like me: by fall, you know approximately what the plant looks like, how tall and maybe even what color it will be.

Platycodon very busy blooming – do not disturb!

This lovely balloon flower on the right (Platycodon) usually flowers during the heat of July. Don’t plant it now! It’s hard enough on the poor thing that it has to flower. Don’t make it suffer transplant shock as well!

This next specimen, below, may look unhealthy, but it’s the same type of plant, Platycodon, at the next stage of its life cycle: setting seed and hunkering down for the winter. If you see a plant like this for sale, especially if it’s marked down, by all means, buy it and plant it! Make the hole nice and deep, back fill with amended soil and consider adding fertilizer or moisture crystals if appropriate for the plant and your climate and soil. Don’t forget to water thoroughly after planting.

Platycodons finished blooming. They’re ready to be planted.

My husband bought around 20 balloon flowers just like the one on the left for $2 each one fall and planted them as a border to a path. I may have found Dave’s Garden in my effort to discover just what, exactly, he was getting us into! But sure enough, the next July, they looked something like this:

Now it’s almost a tradition. In the fall, we shop for bargain plants, and then plant them before winter. One year the snow came earlier than we expected, and the bed he was working on wasn’t quite finished. So that year, he actually planted perennials in half an inch of snow! What you Southerners may not realize is that snow only means the air up high is cold, not the earth. The new bed didn’t freeze for another couple of months, giving plenty of time for the heuchera, viola, columbine, geum and potentilla to get established. They were all lovely the following spring, and most of them are still fighting it out.

So procrastinators, take heart. The best time to plant many flowering perennials may be right now!

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