Posts Tagged ‘Des Moines Botanical Center’

June 28, 2011

The Botanical Center – It’s More Than Just Plants

The North Wing Gallery and Show House Corridor are mini art galleries which are open to the public to enjoy while they view the beautiful dome and lush outside gardens.  This art work changes every few months and is for sale with the proceeds benefiting the Botanical Center.

Currently in the North Wing Gallery is a display of 40 large color photographs by Friends Director, Elvin McDonald.  Elvin has had the opportunity to visit professional and amateur gardens all over the world which has resulted in a wonderful portfolio of photographs.  The images he chose for this display best tell the story of his life in the garden.

The Show House Corridor is showcasing the delightful flower images of Omaha artist April Kelly.  Her art represents beauty, energy, and light; her work is refreshing and happy.  April’s work is acrylic on canvas and she uses a special finish to give the work an illusion of a glass coating.

We hope you look for this art work when you visit the Botanical Center.

Posted by: Dawn Goodrich No Comments
Labels: , , Posted in Botanical Center, Des Moines Botanical Center June 1, 2011

‘Tis the Season for Weddings

Are you looking for a picturesque, affordable location for a wedding ceremony?  Have you considered Water Works Park or the Des Moines Botanical and Environmental Center, both of which are maintained by Des Moines Water Works?

Nestled amongst mature trees and blooming flowers, the Charles Sing Denman Memorial Fountain in Water Works Park has always been a favorite spot for outdoor weddings and the perfect background for those important photographs.  If you’re planning a small, intimate wedding ceremony, the South Garden Gazebo is another popular spot in the park.  For more information, check out “Special Events and Wedding Guidelines” on our website,  To make a reservation in Water Works Park, call (515) 283-8752.

The Botanical Center, an eco-friendly and budget-friendly option, provides a beautiful setting under the dome or in one of the outdoor flower gardens. With the flowers and plants already in place, you can easily save hundreds on your floral bill, and when you add the competitive pricing for room rental and catering, you get more “green” all the way around.  Contact an Event Coordinator at (515) 323-6290 or go to to plan the wedding and/or reception of your dreams.

Posted by: Pat Ripley No Comments
Labels: , , , , , , Posted in Des Moines Botanical Center, Des Moines Water Works Park, Parks April 15, 2011

Celebrate Earth Day!

Earth Day is April 22, and is a great time each year to show off your “greenness!”  Earth Day is a reminder of our responsibility to protect our planet so that it is a place of beauty and remains healthy and safe for future generations.

The first Earth Day was held in the spring of 1970 (thanks to Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson and environmentalist activist, Denis Hayes) and was officially declared a day of celebration in 1990. 

You don’t have to be part of an organized event to do your part on Earth Day (and every day). Keep on with the green things you already do and try something new…

  • Take a walk and breathe in the fresh air at Water Works Park
  • Explore a world of plants under one dome at the Des Moines Botanical & Environmental Center.  Enjoy free admission for everyone on Earth Day!
  • Take Household Hazardous Materials (HHMs) to the Regional Collection Center in Bondurant.
  • Purchase more environmentally-friendly products.
  • Don’t purchase more than you will need; then use them up.
  • Buy products that don’t use so much packaging.
  • Use more reusable materials like lunch boxes, sandwich containers, aluminum water bottles and rags.
  • Bag up grass clippings, leaves, sticks and branches and put them in CompostIt! bags at the curb.
  • Clean up pet waste and put it in the garbage so it doesn’t wash down the storm sewers and into the rivers!
  • Keep your car in good repair so it doesn’t leak oil.  Clean up oil leaks with kitty litter or sand and sweep it up.
  • Plant grass and trees so there is no loose dirt on your property.

Even though Earth Day is officially celebrated on April 22, everyday can be Earth Day if you choose.

Posted by: Gail Peckumn No Comments
Labels: , , , , , , Posted in Botanical Center, Conservation, Des Moines Botanical Center, Des Moines Water Works Park, Environment, Green Initiatives, Parks April 1, 2011

Spring Gardening Tips

With April showers bring May flowers; outdoor care is just around the corner. As the weather starts to warm, the spring bulbs such as the famous tulips and daffodils, will start to pop out the surface rather quickly!

You’ll want to make sure you have your gardens raked and ready to go for these bulbs. You should be giving your bulbs plenty of water during any dry spells and apply a light application of a high-nitrogen fertilizer just as the bulbs begin to grow. Once your bulbs have grown and bloomed, trim back any dead flowers, but make sure to leave the green leaves. You don’t want to cut back the plant completely as the green leaves helps produce energy to the bulbs so you have a better success rate of re-blooming in the following years to come. Once the bloom fades, make sure you fertilize the bulbs with a complete fertilizer containing nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. A quick tip is to braid the leaves to keep them tidy and together so after they die back; they will be easier to cut. After bulbs have finished their growing phase, they are care free till the next spring!

Odds and Ends for Spring Garden Tips in April:

  • Crab grass preventer should be applied around April 15.
  • Rake your lawns to remove twigs, leaves and trash.
  • Cut back on perennial, roses and grasses to prep for new growth.
  • Plant bare root trees and shrubs before buds break. (April 29 is Arbor Day!)
  • Divide hostas and other summer and fall blooming perennials as new growth appears.
  • Start annual flowers and herbs indoors for transplanting outside after the last frost.
  • Plant cool season vegetables outdoors near late April, such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, peas, radishes, spinach and turnips. Warm season vegetables such as beets, carrots and parsley can also be planted at this time.
  • Repot and start lightly fertilizing house plants. Clean off dust on the leaves for better plant breathing. Make sure you keep an eye on your window plants for leaf scorch from the increase of sun intensity.
Posted by: Karey Alvarado No Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in Botanical Center March 14, 2011

Spring Events Bloomin’ at Des Moines Botanical Center

Colors Alive: “Planting a Rainbow”
March-April  ·  9:00 am-5:00 pm
April showers bring colorful flowers to the Botanical Center.  Tiptoe through tulips, hyacinths, daffodils and a variety of other blooming plants in a rainbow of color. Learn about rain gardens and water conservation as you stroll through the Dome. Designed by horticulturist, Angie Buchanan.  Regular admission.

Spring Break Activities: “Planting a Rainbow”
March 15-17 · 10:00 am-3:00 pm
Fun for the kids during spring break! Join your friends at the Des Moines Botanical Center for “Planting a Rainbow.” Crafts, games, prizes and activities galore! Admission: $1.00 Children (ages 1-3), $3.00 Children (ages 4 -17), $5.00 Adults, $4.00 Seniors, Friends of the Des Moines Botanical Center are Free. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Toddler Time
March 29, April 26 & May 31 · 10:00 am
Enjoy a story with a garden theme, music and movement. No pre-registration required. Children 1-3 are $1.00, regular admission rates apply for other children and adults.

Easter Bunny Visit & Other Spring Activities
April 16 ·  10:00 am-2:00 pm
Hop into the Des Moines Botanical & Environmental Center to visit the Easter Bunny – bring your own camera.  The Iowa Egg Council will also be having an egg-ceptional cookout throughout the day, with lots of great samples for everyone.  Regular admission.

Free Admission on Earth Day
April 22  ·  9:00 am-5:00 pm
Everyone can enjoy free admission to the Des Moines Botanical & Environmental Center on Earth Day – Friday, April 22!

Iowa Bonsai Association Spring Show
April 30-May 1  ·  9:00 am-5:00 pm
Iowa Bonsai Association Spring Show in the Gardener’s Show House of the Botanical Center. Regular admission.

Earth Kind Rose Sale
May 7-8
Saturday, May 7, 8:00 am-4:30 pm and Sunday, May 8, 12:30 pm-4:30 pm in the potting shed by the greenhouses at the south end of the Botanical Center. All the roses for sale are considered Earth Kind, owing to the fact that they need little or no spraying or other maintenance yet produce an abundance of flowers over a long season. $20.00 each, all sales final.

Polk County Master Gardeners Annual Sale
May 7-8
Annuals, Perennials, Coleus, Tomatoes, Peppers and Herbs! Saturday, May 7, 8:30 am-4:30 pm and Sunday, May 8, 10:00 am-4:30 pm.  Cash or check only.  Proceeds support the Master Gardeners’ Demonstration, Discovery & Enabling Gardens in the Des Moines area.

Annual Mother’s Day Brunch
May 8  ·  9:00 am-5:00 pm
Instead of buying your mom roses on Mother’s Day, bring her to the Botanical Center where she can enjoy an entire dome full of beautiful flowers.  Free admission to the Botanical Center for all mothers!

Father’s Day
June 19  ·  9:00 am-5:00 pm
Free admission to the Botanical Center for all fathers!

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
Labels: , Posted in Botanical Center March 9, 2011

Planning Your Spring Garden

This is the perfect time to start planning your spring and summer garden, however it is a little early to start the hands-on outdoor work.  Starting early on your plans is a great idea. Planning where and what plants you want to use can take weeks.  Picking your plants early from a vast array of garden catalogs is essential in getting the plants you want. The earlier you order, the better chance you will have to get them. Most of the time, new introduction and favorite plants are sold out well before the planting season begins.

Many seeds take between two to three months to flower. Starting seeds in your home under a grow light is a great way to get a jump on your spring gardening. It allows you to have plants that are larger and perhaps all ready blooming in your garden. Using cool season plants such as pansies, chard, kale, and lettuce will allow you to plant a little earlier. These plants can take a light, late season frost and still be good growers.

Posted by: Todd Monson No Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in Botanical Center, Des Moines Botanical Center February 3, 2011

What Can Gardening Do for You?

by Elvin McDonald, Friends of the Des Moines Botanical Center Executive Director

My office at the Botanical Center is in the North Wing, so my usual path from the parking lot is through the potting shed, past the Show House, into the tropical splendor of the Dome and finally to my desk.

One morning last October, I couldn’t help noticing an air of happiness surrounding the gardeners and volunteers as they worked. As I entered the Dome, past the orchid wall and rounded the corner, there was Charlie Brown in his pumpkin patch, a part of our Story Time in the Gardens theme. I like to think he waved at me. At this point several little kids entered the scene and squeals of happiness ensued. I couldn’t stop smiling.

Over a hundred years ago, a British prison warden observed that the men assigned gardening tasks, primarily growing vegetables, were happier, better adjusted than the others and, moreover, much less subject to recidivism–in other words, falling back into criminal behavior.

As recently as last year, the New York Times reported that horticultural therapy is proving to be one of the most effectual treatments in rehabilitating soldiers suffering physical and emotional traumas.

Gardens and gardening are in fact life enhancers for all of us. On the 2nd anniversary of September 11th I was touched by a young widow who said she was once again able to garden, to allow herself the happiness she felt when gardening. On the 10th anniversary of the Greensburg, KS, tornado a much older widow who lost everything—husband and home—recalled finding in the storm’s aftermath a lone cockscomb that had survived. She said, “It made me think I could too—and I have.”

All of us who work at the Botanical Center strive to make it a place where happiness grows. Visit us often this New Year—and be happy.

Posted by: Elvin McDonald No Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in Botanical Center, Parks January 19, 2011

Colors Come Alive in 2011 at Des Moines Botanical Center

Visitors to the Des Moines Botanical & Environmental Center in 2011 will be welcomed with seasonally changing gardens, educational activities and family events inspired by all things color, including rainbows, color palettes, kaleidoscopes, seasons and music. 

Throughout the year, children, families and visitors of all ages will enjoy “Colors Alive!” which includes six plant bed changes in the Dome – many bringing the theme alive with life-size props and characters made out of plants. The theme continues into the Show House, with four seasonal designs and outside in the Herb Garden which is open May through September.

With each new garden design, children are engaged in different activities and crafts throughout the Dome and everyone can enjoy new products in the Garden Gate Gift Shop corresponding with each new garden design.  Visit the Des Moines Botanical & Environmental Center often to see each new garden.

The Color of Music is on display now through the end of February. Visitors will be captivated by the show beds inspired by popular songs that have color words in their titles or lyrics.  The showcased plants will feature colors and props that give clues to the song titles. Can you guess them all?  Designed by Lead Horticulturist, Todd Monson and artistic paintings by Events Coordinator, Pam Kline.

Posted by: Dawn Goodrich No Comments
Labels: , , Posted in Botanical Center, Parks December 29, 2010

Warm Up this Winter with Botanical Blues

Don’t let the winter blues get you down! The Des Moines Botanical Center is offering an eclectic line-up of live, musical artists every Sunday from 1:00-3:00 p.m. in January and February that will be sure to warm up the season. Admission is $5.00 per person with light appetizers and drinks available for purchase from the Riverwalk Café. The Des Moines Botanical Center is a family-friendly, smoke free environment with plenty of free parking and wheel chair accessible. Below, is a complete list of musicians scheduled to perform:

            January 2        Cindy Grill and Alan Smith

            January 9         Bob Pace

            January 16       Brad “bebad” McCloud & “The Bear”

            January 23       Pat Hemann & J.D. Flanagan

            January 30       “Mojo” Jono 

            February 6        Tina Hasse-Findley & Brandon Findlay

            February 13       Jodi Bodley & Dewey Cantrell

            February 20      “Homegrown Tomatoes” (Bill Melton & Stephen Hines)

            February 27      Matt Woods

Posted by: Dawn Goodrich No Comments
Labels: , , Posted in Botanical Center November 29, 2010

Holiday Shopping Made Easy at Botanical Center’s Garden Gate Gift Shop

The holidays are in bloom at the Des Moines Botanical & Environmental Center!  Without paying admission, you can visit the Garden Gate Gift Shop and shop for unique and creative merchandise at reasonable prices.  Twenty plus artisans showcase unique offerings, including handmade jewelry, wood carvings, birdfeeders, wire sculptures, Christmas books, greeting cards, hand painted tiles, CD’s, T-shirts and much more.

You’ll find plenty of gifts to choose from for your family, friends as well as the little ones on your list.  There’s an excellent collection of gardening and nature books, orchids, amaryllis bulbs and potted plants, jewelry, bird feeders, plush toys and pillows. There are small gifts, large gifts, garden and patio décor. For the hard to buy person, consider a Friends of the Des Moines Botanical Center membership – many benefits, including free addmission and discounts. 

Here is just a sampling of items you can find at the Garden Gate Gift Shop this season:

Amazing Snowman – Use the magical water and watch the snowman grow – what fun! You can have a snowman with or without the cold.   $6.95

Jim Shore Figurines, Collectibles & Gifts – Shop with us for a great selection of Jim Shore figurines, fairies, Santa Claus, snow people, sleighs, pumpkins, horn of plenty and more, each with Jim Shore’s signature quilt patterns, folk art designs and country styling. You’ll enjoy the mix of rich colors and fine detail in the works of Jim Shore figurines from his Heartwood Creek collections! $21.00 – $26.00

Gallop and Swing Books – Employing a patented new technology all through the magic of “scanimation.”  A first book of motion for kids. The horse really gallops and the baseball is really comin’ at ya. A book that will charm and amuse any little one on your list.  $12.95

Banana Grams – The award winning #1 game of 2010.  An anagram game that will drive you bananas. Fast, educational and great family fun.  Choose your fruit: banana, apple or pear… or get the books, you will enjoy them all! $8.95 – $15.95

Monkeez – Hang on…Giggle, laugh, smile and play! Fall in love with a new family of sock monkeys. Handcrafted knit in vibrant colors. Strong magnet hands and feet let you hang them almost anywhere. Kids love ‘em. $17.95.

Child apron and mixing bowls from Stephen Joseph – Ready, Set, Bake!  The perfect big girl mixing set for your little baker. Just in time for the holidays. $17.95.

Fashion Jewelry from Gift Craft, Two’s Company, Wear Any Wear and select Iowa Consigners – Elegant and affordable $7.00 – $30.00.

Hugga Pet Pillows – If you like Pillow Pets, you will love this selection of styles and colors; and your little one will too! $19.95.

Pop-up Fairy Book – A great gift that will ooo and aah anytime of the year. Pop-up dioramas for the four seasons appear in exciting three-dimensional boxed displays. $19.95.

Orchids, Amaryllis and Christmas Cactus – Make a memory when you choose an ever-growing gift from Des Moines Botanical Center’s selection of plants and plant bulbs for sale.  $3.95 – $20.00.

If you are just shopping at the Garden Gate Gift Shop, no admission is required!  Friends of the Des Moines Botanical Center members receive a 10 percent discount on all purchases. The Des Moines Botanical & Environmental Center is open daily 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For more information, please call 515-323-6294 or visit

Posted by: Dawn Goodrich No Comments
Labels: , , Posted in Botanical Center