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In The Country - Our Story

Updated November 11, 2013

Sue and Josh Spece with Sue's mom, JoAnn

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. Josh has a love for the unusual and out of the ordinary, which is reflected in their plant offerings. The greenhouse and shadehouse are bursting with many new and unusual plants.

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.

Hosta Wolverine and Hosta Queen JosephineJosh 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.

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.

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.

Clematis JosephinePossibly 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-October, Tuesday-Sunday, 9am-6pm and November-Christmas, Wednesday-Sunday, 10am-5pm.

Directions: Located on W35 (Quasqueton Diag. Blvd.) between Independence and Quasqueton. Watch for our sign.

In The Country Garden & Gifts
2587 Quasqueton Diagonal Blvd.
Independence, IA 50644

Largest pond full of water lilies

Website by Josh Spece
All content and images © 2024 by In The Country Garden & Gifts unless otherwise noted.