After the Cedar Rapids Parade of Homes honored Jason Buresh's well-groomed yard with its Curb Appeal award, Buresh decided to capitalize on his landscaping talent. In January of 2000, he established Artistic Landscaping and Lawn Care. Although Buresh earned a formal degree in applied science and agricultural marketing from Kirkwood Community College, his lawn-care education actually started in childhood, when he honed his knowledge of plants and landscape design on his family’s farm. Today, Artistic Landscaping and Lawn Care creates lush, green lawns with aeration, dethatching, fertilizing, seeding, and mowing services. The company also installs greenery and retaining walls to beautify yards or keep out roving bands of lawn flamingos.
Though it has pastures, cornfields, and livestock, Bloomsbury Farm isn't your average farm—in fact, it's an agritourism destination. The farm boasts more than 20 attractions, including a 10-acre corn maze and a giant jumping pillow popular with kids and flightless birds alike. For the more adventurous, a newly installed zipline speeds people across the farm at a height of 40–50 feet, offering bird's-eye views of the land below. Throughout the year, special events celebrate the seasons with wine tastings, concerts, and breakfasts with Santa.
For more than four decades, Weed Man's licensed and trained lawn-beautifying experts have tended to local lawns with custom blends of fertilizer, environmentally sound pest-control solutions, and knowledge gleaned from both living and working in the community. Created exclusively for Weed Man, the technicians' slow-release granular fertilizer nurtures lawns over a period of several weeks, and seeding and aeration promote continued green growth. Patrons can go online to seek advice for local lawn problems, such as seasonal troubles, gardening trends, and the astrological signs of various plants.
The Bruce Company, which received gold awards for its flora from Madison Magazine’s Best of Madison readers’ poll in 2009 and 2010, grows a huge variety of plants, trees, and shrubs on about 600 acres of nursery fields. These fields are tended affectionately with conservation practices such as crop rotation, Sudan grass composting, and finger aeration. Greenify your backyard with a large selection of outside plants—blooming shrubs start at $25, for example. Or, brighten your living room with assorted inside plants, from bonsai and cacti to cyclamen and mini-cyclone ($15 and up). Gardening supplies are also available; customers can partition their yards into child-friendly and unfriendly segments with 25 feet of garden hose ($23), deceive sky animals into posing for photos with a birdhouse ($15 and up) or feeder ($30 and up), or surprise a roommate by adding a cubic yard of mulch to his or her closet (around $32/cubic yard). If you’re uncertain about the proper leafiness to add to your life, The Bruce Company's able staff of helpful horticulturalists is on-site to offer suggestions.
Hinchley's Dairy Farm's bounty of more than 260 dairy cattle, barnyard mammals, and a variety of harvestable goods are sprawled across more than 2,300 acres of pristine farmland. Embark on the one- to three-hour countryside sabbatical starting at the dairy barn, where guests can observe the milking equipment being used and milk a cow. Afterward, visitors mosey to the barnyard to pet and feed the chickens, goats, sheep, rabbits, and vagrant squirrels dressed as ducks. Weather permitting, tour-goers meander through the farm fields on a hayride pulled by a vintage tractor while hearing about the crops and daily farm life. Hinchley's Dairy Farm's guests can also pack a lunch to enjoy at one of the picnic tables embellished with festive cow spots.
The retail nursery at Tyler’s Landscaping houses a cornucopia of plant life for purchase and plantation. Yards in search of nonsurgical face-lifts can re-create themselves with choice picks from the nursery’s selection of more than 200 perennial varieties ($3.99–$14.99), grasses, and native plants. Perky annuals ($3.99) add polka dots of color to squirrel habitats, and shrubs (average price $30.99) hide shy foundations and delineate property lines better than police tape. Tyler's staff of nursery professionals can recite each plant’s preferences for light and water, helping gardeners make love matches between flora and soil.