“Colonies in Bloom” is back this year and will be even better than last year. 2015 was the first year the Amana Colonies Visitors Center officially designated a weekend for visitors to view the beauty of the flowers and gardens in our villages. This year there will be two weekends that showcase the floral splendor of our community; June 25 and July 30 – to catch things that bloom at different times in the summer. We are building on the already strong reputation for having beautiful, well-kept lawns and gardens here in the Amana Colonies.
Last year it was fun to start creating lovely flower garden spaces around Die Heimat Country Inn. It was an extra incentive to plant more flowers knowing that visitors would specifically be viewing them on a particular weekend, following a map of designated homes and businesses.
Last summer, here at Die Heimat, we dug up a new flower bed along the front fence and planted roses, Asiatic lilies and various other perennials along with colorful annuals like marigolds and impatiens.
Carmen, our master gardener, friend and consultant, also planted a cottage garden for me. That means a garden with colorful annuals to be used for cutting and making bouquets. All summer long I had fresh flower bouquets on the tables in the dining room – zinias, dahlias, gladiolus, and various other delicate beauty greeted guests each morning at the breakfast table. There was something really fulfilling about cutting, arranging, and sharing fresh flowers with our guests. This year we are expanding the cutting garden to continue the fresh flower tradition.
Along the back entrance – our main entrance – many things are already blooming this spring. Dwarf lilac bushes, “pinky winky” hydrangea, miniature roses, dianthus, lilies, iris…
Marc is all about making his mowing easier so there will now be flowers along the fence on the northwest part of the lot, rather than grass to trim. More mini-roses, glads, clamatis, moss roses, and a few larger bushes. We also planted a flame bush, peony bushes and bulbs up near the house.
It has become a spring tradition for some of us “Homesteaders” to head to the Kalona/Amish produce and flower auction to buy our hanging baskets and annuals. Yes, we had to buy in quantities (10 identical hanging baskets, etc), but when we share with each other we all get a nice variety.
This spring it was fun to use the compost that we have been tending and adding to all year, to mulch some of the new flower beds along the house; enriching the soil.
We aren’t master gardeners but we love flowers and when we are at nurseries in the spring it is hard to resist buying more than we need. We are lucky to live in Iowa where the soil is fertile and most anything grows beautifully – along with the weeds – which aren’t as much fun to deal with.
We hope our guests take time to enjoy our flowers. We have lawn furniture; picnic tables, swings, and benches under the big oak trees where one can sit on a warm summer afternoon or evening to enjoy the beauty of nature and the peacefulness of our little patch of the Amana Colonies here in Homestead.