Located at 909 Robert D. Ray Dr, Des Moines, IA 50309. In the city's East Village, the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden is a hidden oasis near downtown. The horticultural institution is home to more than 1,200 plants from around the world. Its mission is to educate and inspire visitors through experiences. The Garden was formerly known as the Des Moines Botanical Center, but rebranded as a nonprofit organization in 2013. It is also home to a variety of special events and workshops. Whether you want to plan a wedding, a family outing, or an educational experience, the Botanical Garden can help you create memories that will last a lifetime.
The Des Moines Botanical Garden was established in 1979. The initial plan included a geodesic dome to house the core plant collection. However, funding dried up over the next 20 years, and the displays fell into disrepair. The city acquired a bankrupt commercial greenhouse on Second Avenue. It was a temporary site until a more suitable structure could be built. The city also added three more greenhouses.
In the 1930s, Des Moines' plans for a botanical garden included a signature Floral Conservatory Building and formal gardens. An aquatic plant lake was also included in the plan. It was designed by architect Eliel Saarinen. The Des Moines Register & Tribune reported plans for the project in 1929. It also reported plans for a rose garden and a formal garden.
A city greenhouse was purchased by the city in 1939. It served as a display greenhouse and a production greenhouse. In the 1950s, the Des Moines Botanical Garden was built on the site of the greenhouse. However, the plans for the garden didn't consider the banks of the Des Moines River. The Botanical Garden is now located on the east bank of the river.
The Botanical Garden has seven acres of outdoor gardens. These include a rose garden, a walled perennial border, a celebration lawn, a belvedere overlooking the Des Moines River, and a nearly one-acre water garden. The design allows for year-round operation. The Conservatory features rare tropical plants, orchids, and bonsai trees. Children three years and younger are admitted free of charge.
The Conservatory is designed to celebrate the water's role in the city and to make native aquatic vegetation accessible. The garden features a 110-foot-long water rill that spills down from a cantilevered cafe terrace. The sound of the water creates a calming effect. In addition, the conservatory houses a waterfall.
The garden features an elegant sequence of spaces, including winding pathways, exquisite garden rooms, and lush woodland walks. It is also home to a cascading water feature and local limestone walls.
During the first season of operation, the Greater Des Moines Botanical Center welcomed more than 300,000 visitors. This number soared to more than 53,000 in 2013. The Garden is now a year-round cultural institution, and the attendance numbers have continued to grow. It is governed by a board of directors, led by Executive Director Stephanie Jutila. The Garden offers special events, workshops, and educational forums. The Botanical Garden is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and admission is $10 for adults. However, special pricing may apply to special events. - Next Blog Post