Article: Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens Tour: Oh!!

 
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Image Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens Tour
By Larry Rettig on December 8, 2010

Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens, owned by Larry and Wilma Rettig, South Amana, Iowa, has been featured in local and national publications, on the Internet, and is listed with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., in its Archives of American Gardens. Larry and Wilma grow over 300 varieties of flowers, trees, shrubs, and vegetables. Since 1986, they have maintained a seed bank that preserves vegetable varieties brought from Germany to the Amana Villages during the 1850s.

Come on in! You are invited to visit the gardens and take a self-guided tour. Be sure to check out Larry's garden photography following the tour.

» Read the article

ImageSharon
Dec 8, 2010 9:42 PM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
Well! Whew! Wow!
Wordless and breathless all at the same time.

You and Wilma are so fortunate to have the house, but the house is very fortunate to also have you. It's obvious you are caretakers for each other. Houses come alive with care, so do gardens. Yours are glorious.

Right now with the temps hovering around 20*, your article brings sunlight!
Thank you so very much.

Have I told you how much I love history and gardens and old homes?
tropicbreeze
Dec 9, 2010 12:50 AM CST
I agree with Sharon. The article really shows a labour of love.
ImageLarryR
Dec 9, 2010 11:39 AM CST
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA
Thanks for your kind and enthusiastic comments, Sharon. Your question is redundant! Smiling I'm surprised that no one has yet picked up on "Rana metalica."
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!
As a gardener: When planning for a year, I plant corn. When planning for decades, I plant trees. When planning for life, I train and educate people.


Website: https://cottageinthemeadow.plantfans.com/
ImageLarryR
Dec 9, 2010 11:50 AM CST
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA
Hi Zig--Great to hear from someone in far-away Australia! My wife and I enjoyed an extended tour in your country some years ago. Thanks for your complimentary comments!
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!
As a gardener: When planning for a year, I plant corn. When planning for decades, I plant trees. When planning for life, I train and educate people.


Website: https://cottageinthemeadow.plantfans.com/
ImageAndi
Dec 10, 2010 12:17 AM CST
Name: aka GardenQuilts
Facebook, NGA
and the beloved Winston the pug
What a wonderful house and garden!

Seeing such a beautiful garden in a cold climate is inspirational for new gardeners like myself. I am especially impressed that your lot is 3/4 acre. I am taking notes on plants, especially roses, that thrive for cold climate gardeners! I also like the mix of tropicals like canna in the garden setting. I traveled and lived in tropical areas for work and have a few tropical plants - hibiscus, canna, gardenia- inside under lights. My jasmine didn't survive last winter indoors. But I'll try again.

It is 7'C here. Thanks for providing inspiration as I finish sorting my harvested seeds and plan for next year's garden.

Have you considered writing a garden book?
ImageSharon
Dec 10, 2010 1:32 AM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
Hello again, Andi!!

Larry...I didn't miss your rana metalica. I just couldn't enlarge that particular photo so I wasn't absolutely sure of his 'metal' construction. I'll be sure to check him out when I meet him face to face!!

This is such a beautiful article I had to read it all over again.
ImageLarryR
Dec 10, 2010 7:03 PM CST
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA
Thanks for your very kind comments, Andi. I'm always available to any gardener who has questions, but especially to newcomers--not that I know all the answers! If I don't know the answer, we can discover it together. I actually like that better than being an unstumpable know-it-all. Please feel free to ask anytime.

Have you come across the Canadian Explorer series of roses (http://www.hortico.com/roses/series.asp?cid=3)? The rose on the trellis at the beginning of the article is 'John Cabot' in this series. It is absolutely bone hardy, to the point that I have no winter die-back and don't have to protect the canes in any way. (I garden in Zone 5a.) Note that it even does well in dappled shade.

Here is a John Cabot image that you can enlarge:


Thumb of 2010-12-11/LarryR/43fdfa
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!
As a gardener: When planning for a year, I plant corn. When planning for decades, I plant trees. When planning for life, I train and educate people.


Website: https://cottageinthemeadow.plantfans.com/
ImageLarryR
Dec 10, 2010 7:18 PM CST
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA
Thanks for the compliment, Sharon. I should have guessed that you wouldn't miss the frog! Smiling When you meet him face-to-face, you'll make another discovery. Now you'll have to visit for sure, because I'm not going to tell you what it is!

The photos are not clickable because I created all the pages of the article in another program and then uploaded each page. That was much faster than trying to upload each photo individually. But the trade-off is that the photos can't be enlarged by clicking. (You could enlarge them on your screen, though, by enlarging the view to 150% or higher.)
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!
As a gardener: When planning for a year, I plant corn. When planning for decades, I plant trees. When planning for life, I train and educate people.


Website: https://cottageinthemeadow.plantfans.com/
ImageSharon
Dec 10, 2010 7:41 PM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
I can already tell he's a fat and happy rana metalica, Larry. Now what more do I need to know?
ImageLarryR
Dec 10, 2010 8:43 PM CST
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA
You'll find out when you pick him up--and that's all I'm going to tell you! Smiling
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!
As a gardener: When planning for a year, I plant corn. When planning for decades, I plant trees. When planning for life, I train and educate people.


Website: https://cottageinthemeadow.plantfans.com/
ImageSharon
Dec 10, 2010 8:46 PM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
I gotta pick up a frog???
You gotta be kidding.
Eeeuuuuuuwwwww.
Warts.
ImageLarryR
Dec 10, 2010 9:34 PM CST
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA
Oh come now, Sharon. As a kid, I bet you picked up a frog or two! Besides, it's toads that give you warts. Smiling My father was known in his youth as the "Wart King." His had them all over his hands. He claims it was because he picked up too many toads. He also claims that he buried a string for each wart and, one by one, they went away. Hmmmmmm...
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!
As a gardener: When planning for a year, I plant corn. When planning for decades, I plant trees. When planning for life, I train and educate people.


Website: https://cottageinthemeadow.plantfans.com/
ImageSharon
Dec 10, 2010 9:44 PM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
Bat spit.
Rub bat spit over warts.
Works every time.

Luckily I never had a wart.
Never had to have bat spit either.
ImageLarryR
Dec 10, 2010 10:03 PM CST
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA
Oh, Andi, I almost forgot. I am writing a book. It's in the very preliminary stages, though.
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!
As a gardener: When planning for a year, I plant corn. When planning for decades, I plant trees. When planning for life, I train and educate people.


Website: https://cottageinthemeadow.plantfans.com/
ImageLarryR
Dec 10, 2010 10:06 PM CST
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA
Bat spit!! Now it's my turn to say Eeeuuuuuuwwwww. And I did not catch bats as a kid!
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!
As a gardener: When planning for a year, I plant corn. When planning for decades, I plant trees. When planning for life, I train and educate people.


Website: https://cottageinthemeadow.plantfans.com/
ImageAndi
Dec 11, 2010 4:52 AM CST
Name: aka GardenQuilts
Facebook, NGA
and the beloved Winston the pug
I can't wait for your book!

Your Cabot rose looks wonderful. Another Canadian rose that looks great in pictures is Quadra.

I killed quite a few bargain grafted roses until I got lucky and bought an own root Austin rose at Walmart. I didn't know what an "AUSbonny" was. When I planted it, I wasn't sure how deep to plant it because I couldn't find the graft. (It didn't have one, I thought all roses did) It was the first rose that lived! It is now sending up canes over 7' tall and as thick as my finger. It is hardy enough to survive my beginner's pruning techniques. If I didn't find that one, I may have given up on roses.

I planted the explorer roses William Baffin and Jens Munk. They were cane hardy thru their first winter, but didn't flower much this year. It was their first year, so I assume that they are busy growing roots.The Buck rose, Honey Sweet, was fantastic this year. A friend gave me Souvenier de la Malmaison, a bourbon rose grown by Josephine. I really love the floral form of the antique and Austin roses in the garden. I am also impressed with the knockout relative, Carefree Celebration. Radner, the knockout hybridizer, has a few new roses that look interesting. I am sticking to own root roses that have grown well for other gardeners in cold climates. I am trying to get a cottage look with roses, bulbs and perennials. The look is more chaos than cottage, but I am enjoying the journey and learning a lot.

I used to travel to Puerto Rico a lot for work. They have the cutest tree frogs everywhere! They sing at night, especially during the rainy season. I didn't pick any up. I had a couple of toads in the garden this year. I had some rocks piled to one side and they moved in. I left the rocks for them. They hid in the strawberry plants. We scared each other a few times when I was picking strawberries.
ImageLarryR
Dec 11, 2010 2:55 PM CST
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA
Sounds like you're off to a great start as a serious gardener. I gave up on tea roses many years ago. Like you, I now plant only hardy roses grown on their own roots.

I don't know how much research you've done on Buck roses, but if you're interested, here is an article I did in 2009: http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/2195/
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!
As a gardener: When planning for a year, I plant corn. When planning for decades, I plant trees. When planning for life, I train and educate people.


Website: https://cottageinthemeadow.plantfans.com/
ImageAndi
Dec 12, 2010 10:54 PM CST
Name: aka GardenQuilts
Facebook, NGA
and the beloved Winston the pug
I loved your article. That is what encouraged me to try Honey Sweet! It looks like a hybrid tea but is classified as a shrub. I added Blue Skies this year. Chamblees has quite a few Buck roses and has added some new ones this year that were in private collections, not previously in commerce. (HMF stated that they were given as gifts to friends).

I have a couple of hybrid tea roses that I baby along. The first is Tiffany, originally bought because my beloved late dog's name was Tiffany. My first Tiffany rose was grafted and didn't survive the winter. My current one is own root. I think it has the most perfectly shaped buds and fantastic fragrance. I also grow Tiffany's relatives -Granada (classified as either a hybrid tea or a grandflora-the most commented on rose in my garden) and Belinda's Dream (a floribunda-earthkind, but not prolific in my garden). I killed 3 or 4 Peace roses and gave up on Peace for now.

At the moment, I am squeezing lots of plants into a small garden -an experimental cottage style. A friend who was remodeling her garden gave me quite a few roses. She remarried and moved into her new husband's historic home near Morristown, NJ. She is changing the garden to have plants and roses from the colonial era so she gave me her modern ones. I would love to move to a bigger place with a bigger yard, but am trying to make the most of my current space. (I was considering moving to a modern log cabin on half an acre last spring, but the owner was reneging on repairs and the bf's father was in the hospital. ) I am dreading digging up my plants and moving my books, fabric, sewing and knitting machines, yarn and furniture.

I wish that there were more resources on growing roses in colder climates. Perhaps I should take good notes and write my own book. So many neighbors tell me that "they can't grow roses." I think it is because they grow the low grade grafted ones from the big box stores. (If I hadn't discovered Dave's Garden and Cubits, I may be saying the same thing.) Maybe the popularity of the Knock Out roses will lead to a "rose revival".
ImageLarryR
Dec 13, 2010 12:50 AM CST
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA
Every gardener should have a friend like yours, Andi! Yes, I think that the Knockout series will encourage gardeners to try (or re-try) roses. Give some serious thought to that book on roses!
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!
As a gardener: When planning for a year, I plant corn. When planning for decades, I plant trees. When planning for life, I train and educate people.


Website: https://cottageinthemeadow.plantfans.com/
ImageAndi
Dec 13, 2010 1:08 AM CST
Name: aka GardenQuilts
Facebook, NGA
and the beloved Winston the pug
I need to grow some more, first...

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is a private garden listed in the National Register of Historic Places and with the Smithsonian Institution in its Archives of American Gardens. We grow over 300 varieties of flowers, trees, shrubs, and vegetables. Come on in! Visitors are always welco

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