Diary of a Mad Gardener

Anyone who’s seen me toil in the garden might get the idea that establishing a native plant garden is hard. It’s not. More on that subject later, but suffice it to say that with prudent preparation, judicious selection, and patience, an urban native plant community can be established with minimal work. And, after the first three years, such a habitat requires very little….

a profusion of blooms of native prairie flowers including purple coneflower, sweet black eyed Susan, cardinal flower, and blazing star

Featured Posts

  • The Best Time to Begin is Right Now

    Of all the mistakes I’ve made in my journey into urban native yardscaping, probably the biggest is inadequate preparation. Good preparation is the most important…


  • Let Us Become Stewards

    We replaced this delicate and diverse ecosystem, tens of thousands of years in the making, with our RoundUp-Ready crops, our European lawns, our progress. We ‘developed’ it, we like to say.


  • Making a Difference

    In just a little more than a year, by planting native plants, I managed to alter the path of monarch migration in my city. I’ve hosted endangered bees on this tiny fragment of land I call my front yard.  I’ve watched goldfinches breakfast on coneflower seeds. I’m sequestering two times the carbon than a traditional lawn. […]


  • The Oak

    There was a tree across the street from me. A bur oak, with a mighty trunk wider than a steamer, and curving branches that stretched all the way across the street to shade my yard. In its crown lived a mischievous family of squirrels, and a cast of birds of every size and color. One […]


About Me

Welcome to Iowa Native Gardener

If you’re here for sage advice or genius gardening hacks, you may need to lower your expectations. Hang on to your hats, we learn as we go around here.

Welcome to one reluctant gardener’s journey into urban native yardscaping.