Are you dreaming of getting back in the garden Northeast Iowa? Here's a blog about a garden I enjoyed visiting and fell in love with all their ideas. Dream along with me to a sunnier day that is just around the corner!
Dean and Ann Schaufenbuel live on acreage two miles east of St. Lucas. They were living in West Union and dreamed of their very own quiet place in the country, looking years before they found the perfect place. Both Dean and Ann grew up by St. Lucas and wanted to raise their children in that area. The place they now call home is in Ann’s old neighborhood with relatives farming nearby. Ann even recalled seeing the house being built when she rode the school bus and had always loved the place. The problem was the place was not for sale yet. Ann decided to call up the homeowners, Ken and the late Lorraine Kuennen (who used to own the Coast to Coast in St. Lucas) thinking maybe the older couple might be thinking of moving sometime in the future. It was quite a few years later, just when the Schaufenbuel’s decided to buy land from Ann’s brother, Jay Baumler, that the Kuennen’s decided to sell the acreage to them. They moved in 1999 and have made many improvements since from siding to new windows and other projects to keep up the beautiful home and landscape.
Ann describes the landscaping they have done, “Pretty much everything we have done, we've done ourselves. We moved an old six sided chicken coop from a farm and redid it, Dean built a rubble wall out of stones we collected for years, we have grapes, a vegetable garden, and we've done our own landscaping around our house. We pulled out all the 1970's scrubs and started over. We do our own research on plants with the help of local places like K &K and Morris Land in New Hampton. I painted some patio furniture bright colors and some old chairs from an auction that turned out nice. Dean built our deck himself. We also have a very nice view out back of trees and woods. We have several bird feeders out. Dean built an arbor with a swing and one stationary seat last fall, we really enjoy that. We love it. It is very peaceful, especially early in the morning.”
They also put in a front brick patio, and other vignettes all over the yard, a place to sit wherever there is shade at the time, either with a rustic table and chairs under a welcoming shade tree close to the cute “hen house”, a seating with a fire pit, the deck with a shade awning with the delightful tinkling sound of the water fountain, a brick patio with multiple colored chairs for a group to gather, to intimate seating to sit and listen to the birds sing with a cool drink in your hand. This is also a favorite meeting place for their children and friends, with a paintball area in part of a field beyond the house and also the big backyard were they set up their equipment to look at the constellations on those dark starry nights.
The couple believes in keeping the native plants alive and went out of their way to save our state flower, the wild rose, when a ditch near them was dug up. They knew the ditch had several wild roses growing in it and replanted them in a nearby ditch below their place. Each year when the roses are in bloom, Ann brings a photo of the roses to her C.F.S. Kindergarten class and talks about the state flower they rescued from destruction and showing the students what the plant looks like.
Dean talks about their orchard, “We have a fruit orchard consisting of the following trees: peach, apple, pear, plum, cherry. Ann’s brother Hopper (Glen Baumler) is very interested in growing trees and gardening and has supplied us with some baby fruit trees throughout the years.
We also have wild black raspberries that grow along our fence line that we love on desserts, pancakes and ice cream.”
The couple has more plans for their landscaping. They want to make a water fall feature with limestone rocks that we've collected, make a patio for the firepit, create a native wildflower garden, and lastly, introduce a patriotic garden to honor their son Ray, who is in the United States Marines.
Ann says, “We spend more time outdoors than we do indoors. We grill most of our meals and eat many of them outdoors on the patio. The biggest satisfaction is sharing our yard and home with others. Our children, Leah, Noah, and Ray have all entertained many friends in our yard over the years. Almost every weekend you will find teenagers or young adults here around a campfire, playing football, playing catch, engaged in a game of paint ball, basketball or playing ultimate frisbee in the dark with glow sticks. Dean and I spend hours outside watching and cooking for all these kids and loving every minute of it!”
The Schaufenbuel’s search for a quiet, serene acreage among the rolling hills outside St. Lucas was a dream come true. It truly was worth the long wait! What's your garden style here in beautiful Northeast Iowa?