Ted's Garden Center, in operation for almost three decades and housed in a new facility since 2007, harmonizes a symphony of verdure and home-garden supplies. The center's 88 acres house annuals ($3.99+), perennials ($9.99+/gallon), unpredictables to populate flower patches, and ornamental grass to spruce up drab carpets of regular grass. Customers can collect trees ($59.99+) for a burgeoning cubicle forest, whereas pottery ($8.99+) and garden art ($19.99+) pass for colorful petrified foliage.
Owner Phil Glaser and his staff of grass whisperers have been nurturing lawns for more than 10 years. Yard experts aerate homeowners' slices of the outdoors to stimulate new root growth, creating durable root systems able to withstand the heat of summer, the cold of winter, and the chill of spilled ice water. Alternatively, the grass gurus can nourish lawns by spreading seeds. The tiny morsels of flora food help transform sparse plots into luscious and verdant grasslands rivaled only by a biodome stocked with chia pets.
At Matthias Arabians, seasoned horse trainers Leon, Lon, and Kim Matthias teach visitors the art of steed steering in a scenic setting. In one-hour riding lessons, students of varying equine aptitude can take the reins of safe learning mounts, absorbing instructors' wisdom until their horses glide over terrain as smoothly as refurbished hovercrafts. Topics covered may range from horse-care fundamentals to proper discipline or mastering a stately trot, but all are presented with expertise and a sense of humor.
Howell's Dried Floral & Greenhouse is nestled in 800 acres of farmland that's been tended by the Howell family for six generations. There, the family grows more than 50 varieties of flowers, grains, and vegetables on a 15-acre plot. Inside the greenhouse, guests can peruse vibrant hanging floral baskets or pick up containers and yard plantings for home gardening.
When the leaves start changing color, the farm does too, transforming itself into the family-friendly attraction known as Howell's Pumpkin Patch. Antique tractors begin crossing the fields, transporting visitors by wagon to a pumpkin patch where they can choose the pumpkin they want to take home. There, families can explore and enjoy unlimited rides on go-karts. In addition families can navigate the corn maze, or the barnyard to get nose-to-nose with goats, sheep, and chickens. Smaller children engage in farm-themed play in the Kiddie Korral, where they commandeer pedal tractors, clamber to the top of hay stacks, and dive into the corn bin play box. The onsite Greenhouse Cafe refuels visitors with a selection of snacks, including homemade ice cream.
Born of a marriage between Wright Tree Care and Heard Gardens, Wright Outdoor Solutions corners yards with a wide range of outdoor services and industry expertise stockpiled since 1928. Boasting a cornucopia of professional affiliations, including certification by the Iowa Society of Landscape Architects and the International Society of Arboriculture, the team handles a range of greenery groundwork. Landscape design starts via tree care, which can include pruning, controlling disease and infestation, or cleaning up after a treehousewarming party. The company's garden center lets green thumbs choose from many flower, shrub, and decorative options, and proffers expert advice to help bring envisioned environs to fruition.
Since 2005, Frontline Lawn & Landscapes has been breathing new life into grass and gardens with a range of lawn-care and landscaping-design services. Its seasonal approach to gardening incorporates several different collections of weather-specific services, such as snow removal in the winter, mulching in the spring and fall, and fluffing grass for comfortable picnics in the summer. Frontline's team of resident designers oversees small- and large-scale projects from conception to completion, from planting a single bush to re-landscaping an entire bocce court.