After lunch is the perfect time to stroll through a botanical garden and enjoy the sunshine. A number of seasonal flowers are in bloom and the foliage is spectacular. Visitors admire the artistic craftsmanship exhibited in the garden statues. The water displays are tranquil and cover the noise of commuters nearby. These three Iowa botanical gardens provide excellent escapes from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
- Cedar Valley Arboretum and Botanic Gardens: The Cedar Valley Arboretum and Botanic Gardens were established in 1996 in Waterloo, Iowa. The display gardens are always colorful. Herbs grow almost year round in the demonstration gardens. The younger generation will enjoy exploring the vegetable beds in Mr. McGregor’s Garden, the General Store, the Peek a Boo Forest, gnome homes, sand slurries and the Sensory Garden, which are all located in the interactive Children’s Garden. The newest project at the botanical gardens is an orchard. Visit the website for further information.
- Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden: The Greater Des Moines Botanical Gardens opened in 1979. The conservatory contains sculpture art and plants from around the world, such as exotic orchids, prickly cactuses, bromeliads, and more. The Café and Bonsai Terrace is the perfect dining spot for a late lunch or snack. Twenty State Street Maples greet visitors with their magnificent fall beauty along entrance of the gardens. The boardwalk along the terrace of the Water Garden offers a panoramic view of the Des Moines skyline. Ticket information and hours of operation are available online.
- Newton Arboretum and Botanical Gardens: The Newton Arboretum and Botanical Gardens is located at 3000 North 4th Avenue East in Newton, Iowa. The six-acre site includes 150 different species of trees, a rose bed, prairie bed, tulip bed, shade garden, water garden, butterfly garden, and ornamental grass beds. The gardens boast a pond, gazebo, arbor and bridge as well as many garden sculptures. The gardens hold an annual plant sale each year in May. The facilities are available for reunions, showers, weddings and other events. Rental information, admission fees and hours of operation are available on the website.
(Photo is courtesy of Botanical Gardens of Des Moines as uploaded by Jason Mrachina on Flickr’s Creative Commons.)