Garden Photo of the Day

Kyle’s Iowa Garden

Collecting cool plants

small cactus next to pink and yellow flowers

Today we’re off to Des Moines, Iowa, to visit with Kyle Dallefeld.

He grew up working with plants in the family grass seed business and got into horticulture at an early age.

small cactus next to pink and yellow flowersKyle uses his rock garden to grow lots of interesting cactus and other succulents. The cactus here is Echinocereus reichenbachii subsp. perbellus (Zones 4–8), which lies next to the bright yellow flowers of Delosperma ‘Reznicek’ (Zones 5–8). Many cactus and other succulents are quite winter hardy provided they have great drainage during the winter.

tiny cactus with shiny pink flowers on topPediocactus simpsonii (Zones 4–7) has beautiful pink flowers in the spring.

plant with small clusters of bright yellow flowersEriogonum ‘Kannah Creek’ (Zones 3–8) is one of the buckwheats, with bright yellow flowers.

meadow gardenThe towering flower stems of Silphium laciniatum (Zones 3–8) rise above the Iowa prairie.

clump of wispy purple flowersSalvia greggii and hybrids (such as Salvia greggii × lycioides ‘Ultra Violet’, pictured) are often grown as annuals, but this one is hardy to Zones 6–9 or possibly colder with good winter drainage.

small pink flowers next to purple flowersGladiolus byzantinus (Zones 5–9) is one of the European species of gladiolus that are much hardier than the usual hybrids of the African species. Here it is backed up by the profuse flowers of Nepeta ‘Purrsian Blue’ (Zones 3–8).

tiny cactus with shiny yellow flowersEchinocereus viridiflorus is another hardy cactus, growing up to Zone 4 with good drainage.

bright green spiky plant

A Yucca hybrid

Cardoon (Cynara cadrunculus, Zones 6–9) is a relative of the artichoke with beautiful silvery foliage.

You might not think of figs (Ficus carica) as thriving in Zone 5 in Iowa, but Kyle has found that several varieties (‘Violette de Bordeaux’, ‘Little Miss Figgy’, and ‘Hardy Chicago’) do quite well for him without any special winter protection.

If you want to see more of Kyle’s garden, check out his instagram: @grasslandgardener


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View Comments


  1. User avater
    treasuresmom 04/25/2022

    Love the buckwheat pic. I've never see this.

  2. User avater
    simplesue 04/25/2022

    You're an amazing gardener!
    I used to live in Iowa and I know how harsh the winters can be- I am just amazed with the unique plants you've found that thrive in that growing zone!
    I love the photo of the " Silphium laciniatum" towering above the prairie!
    And I'm so pleased to learn from you, that there is a truly hardy variety of fig!!!!
    Wow, love this post!

  3. fromvirginia 04/25/2022

    Very cool. Thanks for sharing. And interesting g about the figs.

  4. user-5117752 04/25/2022

    Just marvelous! Love your rock garden pics in particular! Thanks so much for taking the time to share with us.

  5. btucker9675 04/25/2022

    What a diverse and wonderful garden you've created! Love all the cacti - like little alien creatures visiting you.

  6. [email protected] 04/26/2022

    Very inspiring! Thanks for sharing.

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