In The Country - Our Story
Updated December 11, 2010
In The Country Garden & Gifts began in 1998 by the mother and son team, Sue and Josh Spece. The one-of-a-kind nursery is located in rural Eastern Iowa between Independence and Quasqueton.
Gardening - A Life Long Passion
Gardening was part of the family from the beginning. What began as Josh's own little corner of the vegetable garden, blossomed into an interest in plants that grew throughout his childhood. He graduated in 2000 with an AAS degree in Horticulture. Being in a wheelchair creates obvious obstacles in the garden for Josh, but with a little creativity, a lot of determination, and much help and support from family and friends, physical limitations don't get in the way.
He wrote a column entitled "Enabled Gardening" for Pond & Garden magazine during its final year in print, and regularly contributes articles and photos to the American Hosta Society's The Hosta Journal. He was awarded the AHS Best New Author award at the 2008 American Hosta Society National Convention, and currently serves as Webeditor-in-Chief on the Board of Directors for the American Hosta Society.
Josh and Sue are long-time members of the Eastern Iowa Pond Society and Josh is an occasional contributor to their monthly newsletter, as well as the club's webmaster. Josh speaks frequently on Hostas, water gardening, water plants, and accessible gardening to garden and pond clubs, Master Gardener groups, and other gardening groups and events.
Sue has more than 25 years experience in creating handmade crafts and gifts. Long before opening In The Country, Sue and her mom, JoAnn, traveled all over Eastern Iowa to sell their items at craft shows. Now Sue uses her creative eye to fill the gift shop with unique garden décor, statuary, and homespun gifts.
Dedicated to Plants
In The Country is best known for the plants. The two greenhouses are bursting with many new and unusual plants every spring. From the start, Hostas and water plants have been the mainstay of the business. A large shadehouse is filled with more than 300 Hosta varieties for sale and Hosta fanatics frequently come from all over the Midwest to find new and hard-to-find varieties. Die-hard Hosta collectors will also find Hosta-themed gifts including books, t-shirts, greeting cards, mailboxes, tote bags, Christmas ornaments, and even lawn chairs.
Josh and Sue began water gardening over 20 years ago and In The Country is now one of the largest sources of aquatic plants in Northeast Iowa. They grow a large selection of both hardy and tropical water lilies, including the giant Victoria water lily, lotus, floating and submerged plants, and a wide assortment of hardy and tropical marginal plants. All plants are potted and ready to go right into the customer's pond.
Josh has a love for the unusual and out of the ordinary, which is reflected in their plant offerings.
In addition to water plants, In The Country also carries essential pond supplies including pond liner, pumps, fish food, chemicals and medications, fertilizer, filter media, nets, and other items.
This family operation has grown to include Sue's son-in-law, Jim Heinz, who grows a variety of vegetable transplants, including many heirloom varieties.
Gardeners will also find a variety of choice shade perennials, succulents, and miscellaneous intriguing horticultural wonders.
It's an Experience
In The Country often hosts workshops and special events throughout the year. The 'Spring in the Country' Open House kicks off the season in May. The Hosta & Dessert Social is an annual event that draws hosta-holics from across the state.
Possibly the most unique aspect of In The Country Garden & Gifts is the setting. The name is very fitting, as it is nestled away on the family dairy farm. The nursery blends into the display gardens that surround the Spece's home. Customers are encouraged to meander through the ever expanding garden which features three ponds with streams and waterfalls, over 900 varieties of Hostas, rock gardens, trough gardens, ornamental grasses, dwarf conifers, unusual trees and shrubs, and many uncommon sun and shade perennials.
This website features hundreds of pictures from the nursery and garden. The Garden Journal is updated regularly with photos and news on what is happening "in the country" and visitors can sign up to receive newsletter updates and notice of special events. Customers from across the country can buy Hostas, choice companion plants, and Hosta-themed gifts in the online store.
In The Country is open April-July, Tuesday-Sunday, 9am-6pm and August and September by appointment.
Directions: W35 (Quasqueton Diag. Blvd.) to Nelson Ave. Right on 240th ST. Watch for signs.
In The Country Garden & Gifts
|Website by Josh Spece
All content and images © 2010 by In The Country Garden & Gifts unless otherwise noted.