Category Archives: Plant of the Month

Urban Columnar Apples Are Hot!

Are you looking for an apple tree that is perfect for that small space?  You can grow this tree on your patio, deck or even in your flower bed.   The new Urban™ Columnar Apples are your answer to the problem.  Introduced to the market in 2011 by Garden Debut® these trees grow 8-10 ft tall and only 2 ft wide.  They have short branches and grow straight up.  The flowers are pink in color.  They are USDA zone 4-9. 

There are 4 varieties of the Urban™ Columnar Apples:

Tasty Red™ -Bright red with sweet flavor

Blushing Delight™-Red green fruit with sweet flavor

Golden Treat™-green gold apples that are tart but get sweeter with age

Tangy Green™- Lime green fruit with crisp tart flavor

You will need two for cross-pollination.  Supplies will be limited this year so if you are looking for these please come early.  

I am trying these in my garden and so far I have been impressed.

For more information on these and other great new plants you can go to



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‘Linesville Arborvitae’ Plant of the Month

This little gem is the very best in the line of small evergreens that handle our winter weather.  At 2’x2′ the ‘Linesville’ will make a very nice addition to your foundation planting or lining a walkway as a border.  We have had them growing out here at TimberPine for several years now.  They are in an area where they are subjected to a variety of conditions including salt from the sidewalk in the winter.  This plant has thrived in those conditions and wormed it’s way into the hearts of our designers with it’s no quit attitude.

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Plant of the Month~Eastern Redbud

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“Cyclamen” Plant of the Month~March

Alright….so Cyclamen is not a plant sold at TimberPine.  But in a moment of cabin fever weakness, I went out and splurged on 2 bright-colored Cyclamens and I’m loving myself for it.  Check em out…and wipe that jealous drool off your chin as you see how cool they look.

AND not only do they look smoking hot…but they smell scrumptious!  Imagine yourself…sitting at your decrepid desk boxed in by your mile high cubicle walls and all a sudden your schnoz catches a whiff of something….something sweet smelling.  You KNOW it’s not you as you’re not quite sweet enough.  You KNOW it’s not your co-worker as you’re certain he doesn’t know what deodorant is.  What ELSE could it be but the dainty, flower power packed within the petals of the Cyclamen.

For those of you sensitive to floral scents, this one is for you.  It’s not overpowering and actually leaves me wanting more (so I occasionally lean over and bury my nose in the plant). And this, ladies and gentlemen, is what is getting me through this miserable winter.  Sometimes it’s just the simple pleasures.

Because I’m only knowledgeable about Cyclamen when it comes to testifying about their smell, check out how Elizabeth Licata managed to keep her Cyclamen alive for 10 years!!  Yeah you read right.  10 years…my houseplants don’t make it past year 1.  How’s that for a horticulturist?

Do you have a Cyclamen?  Share where you found your’s so others can reap the rewards! I snagged mine at Harvey’s Greenhouse in Adel.  They’ve got great houseplants!

Happy Planting!

Author: Katie Ketelsen


Filed under Plant of the Month, Rantings by Katie Ketelsen, TimberPine

“ORNAMENTAL GRASSES” Plant of the Month~January

Iowa’s snow show came hard and heavy this year.  Your wishes for a White Christmas were heard loud and clear and Mother Nature reacted with a tidal wave of the fluffy stuff.  With a bleak outlook for the remaining months of winter, wouldn’t it be nice to have something to gaze at over the terrain?  Wouldn’t you like to see something break up the monotonous blanket of snow?  If you had had your wits about ya, you would have planted some ornamental grasses.  Ornamental grasses are inexpensive, they grow fast, they multiply, they will withstand the harsh drifts of Iowa’s nasty winters AND they look good doing it!

A snapshot of the beginning of the end.  The blades of this Flame Grass (Miscanthus sinensis purpurascens) held up well against the flakes.

After the threat had subsided.

Ornamental grasses are very complimentary with other winter show stoppers like the Crimson Pygmy Barberry.

Don’t be afraid to succumb to early cabin fever and peruse TimberPine’s catalog of  ornamental grasses to see what might compliment your landscape.  If you have had enough of the guess work and want some help planning, TimberPine has 5 landscape designers, anxious to give you a glimpse of what spring could offer with a landscape design.  Look for specials starting in January to help bring light to your lawn and landscape struggles.

Do you already have ornamental grasses in your garden? What are your favorites?  How do you like to incorporate them into your outdoor living spaces?

For the most part, ornamental grasses love full sun, well drained soils and are deer and rabbit resistant.  Some varieties can handle partial even full shade.  Please consult with a professional before selecting a grass for your site conditions.  Grasses are very low maintenance~trim back the foliage to the ground in the spring.  Refrain from trimming in the fall, the open stocks can invite frost down into the roots, killing a plant during a harsh winter.

Here are a few of our favorite ornamental grasses:

Karl Forester Reed Grass Calamagrostis acutiflora:

  • Cool season, clumping grass growing approximately 4-5′ tall, 3′ wide; wheat like seed heads appear in late spring and last all season

Maiden Grass Miscanthus sinensis ‘Gracillimus’:

  • Silver veined blades emerge in late spring growing approximately 5-6′ tall, 4′ wide; white plumes in late summer

Shenandoah Switch Grass Panicum virgatum:

  • Blue-green foliage with sporadic blades of burgundy through most of season, burgundy more prolific in fall; grows approximately 3′ tall, 2-3′ wide

Variegated Japanese Silver Grass Miscanthus sinensis ‘Varigatus’:

  • White and green variegated foliage arches heavily, white blooms in mid summer; grows approximately 5-6′ tall, 3-4′ wide

Silver Feather Grass Miscanthus sinensis variety condensatus ‘Cabaret’:

  • Very wide, ribbon like foliage with creamy white center and dark green margins; grows approximately 6′ tall, 3-4′ wide

Moundry Grass Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Moundry’:

  • Upright, mounding, dark green foliage gives way to purple-black plumes in late summer; grows approximately 3′ tall, 3′ wide


Filed under Landscaping, Plant of the Month, TimberPine

“BOXWOOD” Plant of the Month~December

Green Mountain Boxwood

I love boxwood…and use it frequently in my landscape designs.  Why? Because it stays put.  I won’t have endless trimming, as with the yews; they won’t get large, as with the junipers, and it has a nice waxy leaf to it.

Most importantly, it is considered a broad-leaf evergreen~thus color in the deary winter months! They are perfect for hanging your Christmas lights on.

There are several different types of boxwoods and within them, there are certain varieties that will weather the Iowa winters better than others.  This shrub can withstand full sun to partial shade and prefers well drained soils.  I recommend not trimming Boxwood because as they say with Pringles, once you start, you can’t stop.  Sometimes the Boxwood can explode some sporadic branching, at which I would suggest gentle trimming with a hand pruner. (An exception to this “rule” would be if you were wanting to create a hedge.  Gardens with a cottage or Victorian flare have used the Boxwood in many forms)

Here is a quick list of some of the more commonly used Boxwoods in our area:

  • Chicagoland Boxwood: possibly considered a hardier specimen of the mounding varieties of Boxwood. Grows approximately 2-3′ tall, 3′ wide
  • Winter Gem Boxwood: 3′ tall, 3′ wide


    Winter Gem Boxwood

  • Green Velvet Boxwood: 2-3′ tall, 3′ wide
  • Wintergreen Boxwood: 2′ tall, 2-3′ wide
  • Green Mountain Boxwood: Probably one of my favorites is this pyramidal Boxwood; use this version to provide vertical accents along your front foundation.  Or in a cottage garden setting to create a small hedge. 3-4′ tall, 2-3′ wide

There are some considerations to be taken with the Boxwood.  Recently I have seen severe winter die back when Iowa has had harsh winters and crazy springs with late ice storms .  This year I’m protecting my Chicagoland and Green Mountain Boxwoods with a leaf shield you can spray on their foliage.  Wilt Pruf is a common product used to protect sensitive evergreens and the liking.

What types of Boxwood do you have in your landscape? Do you even like the plant?  Share your photos with us!  We wanna see what you’ve been up to.

Katie Ketelsen

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