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Iowa Gardener Cover




Upcoming Events for Iowa

To submit your gardening event to our staff, submit it using our contact form or send an email to



Tuesday mornings through October, Omaha, Nebraska
Walking Club
Lauritzen Gardens 

Join us for a scenic walk through the garden. With miles of trails, you can reduce stress and strengthen your body while enjoying the friendship of other members. Free for garden members or included with paid garden admission. 

Thursdays - September 27, Des Moines
Social Irrigation Summer Music Series
Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

The garden will be open until 8 p.m. on Thursdays for an evening full of live music, food, and botanical atmosphere. Trellis Café will be open with small plates and your favorite beverage. From classical, jazz, and blues music as well as craft beers and lawn games. For more information, visit

July 12 & 26, August 9 & 23 Ames
Plant Walk
Reiman Gardens

Get to know the works of art in our living museum from the expert herself. Join Lindsey Smith, Reiman Gardens’ plant collections curator, for in-depth walking tours of the plants and flowers that make this place so special. 11-11:45 a.m. Preregistration with prepayment two days in advance is required. Walks occur rain or shine!

July 17 & August 21, Ames
Floral Design
Reiman Gardens

Learn to arrange fresh garden florals & other materials each session from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

July 18 & August 15, Ames
Behind the Scenes
Reiman Gardens

Join different staff members each month for a different interactive behind-the-scenes look at Reiman Gardens. This program is perfect for volunteers! 11 a.m.-noon.

July 25, August 1 & 8, Waterloo
Storytime at the Arboretum
Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens

Join us for stories on a different topic each session read by friends from area non-profits, groups, and prominent figures in the community. This event is free to attend with admission to the gardens. Free trolley rides are available after the event and families are encouraged to explore the gardens after storytime is over. Admission is $5 for adults (ages 18+), $2 for children (ages 5-17). Children 4 and under and members are free. 10:30-11 a.m.


Beginning August 7, Ames
Pastel Painting: Motion Studies
Reiman Gardens

Examine the gardens in pastel as they change from week to week in this four-week course with creative department artist Yvonne Brune from 6-8 p.m. Work outside like Monet, Pissarro, and Renoir, to capture the subtleties of color and movement in an area of your choice.  Each student will complete a triptych showcasing a scene with these variations.  

August 18, Waterloo
Sunflower Sip & Paint
Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens

Attendees will learn about growing sunflowers and be led by volunteer Mary Meier in a simple painting while enjoying the beauty of the arboretum. Attendees will receive door prizes and goodie bags. A variety of wines will be served. All materials provided by the arboretum. 5-8:30 p.m.  Cost $35 for non-members, $30 for members.

August 21, Mason City
Business Meeting & Program
Gardeners of North Iowa

Business meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. and program at 7:30 at The Manor, 4 3rd Street NW. Please use street parking. Speaker: Derek Carwood, curatorial horticulturist from Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden. Topic: Gravel Gardening and information on the Corpse Flower.

August 17-19, Decorah
Sixth Annual Seed School
Seed Savers Exchange, Heritage Farm

Learn how to grow, harvest, store, and save seed from experts while discussing the importance of preserving crop diversity in your own backyard. Discover how to engage your community in seed stewardship through seed libraries, seed swaps, and community gardens. Cost: $200, includes vegetarian lunches on Friday and Saturday as well as light snacks throughout the weekend; registration required. Visit for more details.




September 1, Decorah
Tomato Tasting
Seed Savers Exchange, Heritage Farm

Sample an incredible range of heirloom and open-pollinated tomatoes – including rare varieties from Seed Savers Exchange’s seed bank – while also learning tips for growing your best tomatoes and preserving tomatoes for the winter. Noon for hayrides; 1 p.m. for tomato and salsa tasting. Visit for more details.

Beginning September 3, Ames
Fall Color Photography
Reiman Gardens

Come learn how to take stunning fall images in this 4-week course from 6-8:30 p.m. Join photographer and instructor Mark Stoltenberg for a class exploring the “how-to” of capturing phenomenal autumn colors.

Sept. 3, 10 & Oct. 1, Omaha, Nebraska
Leashes at Lauritzen
Lauritzen Gardens

Bring your canine friends to walk the grounds from 5-8 p.m. and enjoy the great outdoors together. This is an informal, fun way to enjoy and explore our 100 acres and miles of trails with the family and the family dog.

Beginning September 4, Ames
Light Painting
Reiman Gardens

Learn how to “paint” at night with various light sources and capture the images in your camera. Join Mark Stoltenberg for a 4-week class from 6-8:30 p.m. exploring this unique photographic technique that dates to 1889.

Beginning September 5, Ames
Photography: All Things Water
Reiman Gardens

Learn the proper tips and techniques from Mark Stoltenberg to improve your images of “all things water” in this 4-week course from 6-8:30 p.m.

Sept. 6 & 20 & Oct. 4 & 18, Ames
Plant Walk: Different Topic each session
Reiman Gardens

Join Lindsey Smith, Reiman Gardens’ plant collections curator, for in-depth walking tours of the plants and flowers in the following categories, in order: edible flowers, endangered plants, underused plants, and fall color. 11-11:45 a.m. Sign up for the series or select individual classes. Preregistration with prepayment two days in advance is required. Walks occur rain or shine!

September 6, 13, 20, & 27, Des Moines
Social Irrigation
Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

Social Irrigation is a program of Thursday night concerts in the garden, featuring a new band, food, craft beer, and lawn games each week. Garden and Trellis Cafe open 5-9 p.m., music 6-8:30 p.m.

September 7-9, Ames
Garden Quilt Show
Reiman Gardens

Enjoy the art of quilting through beautiful displays of garden-themed quilts created by talented Midwesterners as part of a juried show w/prizes awarded by central Iowa sponsors. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.

September 7, Urbandale
Homeschool Day
Living History Farms

You and your children will have the opportunity to tour the museum’s many historic areas, participate in hands-on activities, and have fun! Plan at least 3-4 hours for your experience. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Homeschool groups and families who pre-register receive discounted admission.

September 9, Omaha Nebraska
All-European Show and Shine
Lauritzen Gardens

See fine European cars and motorcycles on display from noon-3 p.m. Enjoy vintage and modern Jaguar, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, Ducati, BMW, Ferrari, Pantera, Alfa Romeo, Austin Healey, and others surrounded by the beauty of the fall garden.

Sept. 10, 17 & 24 & Oct.1, Ames
Great Plants for Iowa
Reiman Gardens

Join in from 6-8:30 p.m. for the topics that most interest you. They include, in order: Perennials for Sun – Beyond the Basics; Tropicals, Inside & Out; Medium & Large Shrubs; and Ornamental Grasses.


Sept.10 & Oct. 15, Omaha, Nebraska
Bee Smart Class
Lauritzen Gardens

Tony Sandoval of Bee Smart Education will teach you all about bees. Each class covers basic identification, specific habitat information, and fun “trivia” about particular bees. 6-8 p.m. Pre-registration required by September 3 and October 8.

September 12, Omaha, Nebraska
Integrated Pest Management and Organic Gardening
Lauritzen Gardens

Scott Evans, MS in agriculture from UNL and horticulture program coordinator for the Douglas/Sarpy County UNL Extension, will discuss integrated pest management programs and organic gardening beginning at 1:30 p.m.

September 13, Ames
Brown Bag: Nature at Noon
Reiman Gardens

Meet Reiman Gardens’ plant collections curator Lindsey Smith and hear from her and other horticulture staff about the goals, processes, and importance of our major living collections. Noon-1 p.m.

September 14, Ames
Reiman Gardens After Hours
Reiman Gardens

This quarterly event is an opportunity to enjoy good company and live music in a beautiful garden setting. A crowd favorite, The Bill Martin Group, will return to perform playing a mix of jazz and more. 5-8 p.m.

Mid-Sept.–Nov. 21, Davenport
Fall Colors and Mum Show
Vander Veer Park Conservatory

By September 14 the Conservatory will have switched to fall colors. Plants include coleus, cannas, caladium, copper plants, ornamental peppers, bush mums, and ornamental grass. October 12 the spectacular Mum Show will be added, featuring over 40 varieties of 3-6-foot tall standard mums, trained one flower per plant to create giant flowers. For more information, visit, call 563-326-7818, or email

September 15, Urbandale
Photography Day
Living History Farms

Enjoy a day of photography workshops in Iowa’s largest outdoor classroom! Attend classes with local photography experts and test out the newest camera equipment from photography vendors. Amateurs as well as professionals are encouraged to attend. Also catch the action at a historic baseball game at 1:30 p.m. All workshops are included with admission price to Living History Farms. 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

September 18 & October 16, Ames
Floral Design: Balanced Botanicals: Contemporary Arrangements
Reiman Gardens

Each month learn a different style of floral design. 6:30-7:30 p.m.

September 19, Ames
Behind the Scenes: Interactive Outdoor Features
Reiman Gardens

Join education manager Sara Merritt for a fun and informative journey through Reiman Gardens’ moving parts – from the Children’s Garden splash pad to the Dancing Chimes (even learn the patterns to play real songs!). 11 a.m.-noon. This program is perfect for volunteers!

September 21-23, Omaha, Nebraska
Antiques Show
Lauritzen Gardens

The show’s four days bring together high-quality antiques exhibitors, renowned designers, and educational opportunities for our patrons to enhance their homes and lives. This year’s 15th anniversary celebration will showcase all things stylish to benefit the beauty that is Lauritzen Gardens.

September 22, Cedar Rapids
Art in the Garden: Leaf Bowl Workshop

Join Iowa Ceramics Center and creating ceramic leaf bowls. Use the fallen leave from the trees at Brucemore to decorate your own, hand-made bowl. All materials and supplies will be provided. 1-2:30 p.m. For more information, visit or call 319-362-7375.

September 22, Urbandale
Living History Farms

Celebrate the arrival of fall during our annual Applefest! Try your hand at stirring the copper kettle of apple butter, take your turn cranking the cider press, and try some tasty apple fritters. Family fun also includes apple bowling, cooking demonstrations, bobbing for apples, and assisting our historic interpreters as they plan for the winter ahead. 9-4 p.m.

September 22 & 23, Waterloo
Fall Harvest Fest
Cedar Valley Arboretum and Botanic Gardens

Celebrate our 20th Annual Fall Harvest Festival. There will be a variety of children’s activities, live entertainment, craft and market vendors, and most importantly scarecrows! 11 a.m.-4 p.m. both days.

September 28, Waterloo
Stories under the Stars
Cedar Valley Arboretum and Botanic Garden

Join us for a special star party in the garden. The Grout Museum District will be telling stories using the constellations in the stars. Attendees are encouraged to bring sleeping bags, blankets, and wear warm clothing. This event will be held after hours in the gardens and is free with regular admission. 7:30-8:30 p.m.

September 29, Ames
Fall Wedding Bouquet Workshop
Reiman Gardens

Incorporate beautiful fall flowers and foliage cut right out of Reiman Gardens as floral manager Marical Greenwood guides you through the process of creating your own take-home arrangement 1-3 p.m. All materials provided.

September 30, Waterloo
Gardening with Native Pollinator-Supporting Perennials: Why and How
Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens

This class will equip you with the knowledge to help restore healthy habitat for native pollinators at home and in the community. Please bring a pen or pencil. The arboretum will provide copies of the slide and text presentation. 2-3 p.m. Pre-registration required.



October 2, Urbandale
Event Venue Showcase
Living History Farms

Looking for a timeless venue to host your special event? Come to Living History Farms’ Event Venue Showcase from to explore our unique venue options, including the history Flynn Barn, Church of the Land, and the Great Hall of our Visitor Center. Special pricing will be available for those who reserve one or more locations. Enjoy food and drinks from our preferred caterers, music, and the opportunity to mingle with wedding and event professionals. 3:30-7:30 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP to ensure enough food!

Beginning October 3, Ames
Night Photography
Reiman Gardens

Learn how to capture images of the moon, star trails, and city lights as instructor Mark Stoltenberg helps you practice taking night images with existing light in this 4-week course. 6-8:30 p.m. The class will meet one night on Main Street to shoot the city lights (date to be determined).

October 6 & 7, Ames
Bonsai Show
Reiman Gardens

Annual bonsai exhibit in conjunction with the Iowa Bonsai Association. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.

October 6 and 7, Omaha, Nebraska
Japanese Ambience Festival
Lauritzen Gardens

Festival features include origami, calligraphy, koinobori, ikebana and bonsai demonstrations, and food tastings. Special performances include taiko drumming, koto music, and martial arts demonstrations. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 

Oct. 6–Nov. 16, Omaha, Nebraska
Fall Chrysanthemum Show
Lauritzen Gardens

The visitor and education center’s indoor floral display hall will be festooned in autumn colors during the Japanese-inspired fall chrysanthemum show. The show articulates the beauty of the storied Japanese culture with brightly colored chrysanthemums, unique design components, and tranquil water features. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

October 13, Decorah
Harvest Festival
Seed Savers Exchange, Heritage Farm

Celebrate the bounty of the harvest with pumpkin carving, a garlic workshop, cider pressing, hayrides, food-storage workshops, a soup cook-off, and plenty of activities for kids (including making corn-husk dolls!). Visit for more details.

October 17, Omaha, Nebraska
Growing Great Roses
Lauritzen Gardens

Don Swanson, president of the Omaha Rose Society and Gabrielle Domenge-Geiger, vice president, will speak about propagating roses from cuttings and hips at 1:30 p.m.

October 20 & 21, Ames
Spirits in the Gardens
Reiman Gardens

All are welcome to join in the spooky fun by attending in costume. As part of an astounding display, see carved pumpkins lit against the evening sky while here. Trick or treat at Reiman Gardens and do activities. Join us for storytelling and more. 4-10 p.m. on Saturday and 4-9 p.m. on Sunday.


October 20, Des Moines
Annual Symposium: The Gardening Adventure
Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

Each fall, four internationally acclaimed lecturers visit Des Moines to speak about current topics that impact home horticulture, plant sciences, and/or ecology. Keynote speaker is internationally known garden designer Jimi Blake, founder of Hunting Brook Gardens in Dublin. He will discuss creative planting through the seasons.

October 27, Ames
Willow Star Workshop
Reiman Gardens

Crisscross willow branches to make a star-shaped base for a decorative garden, wall, or door hanging, with the expert guidance of local artists Pam Dennis & Ryk Weiss. Add lotus pods, pinecones, repurposed metals, and other materials to create a creepy welcome for Halloween or keep it simple for pleasant autumn décor. A “winter kit” will be available for purchase from the instructors to transform your autumn star into a festive holiday “wreath.” All materials included. 9:30 a.m.-noon.

Beginning October 30, Ames
Macro Photography 101
Reiman Gardens

This four-part workshop (NO CLASS 11/20) will cover the basics of macro-photography including equipment and how to use it, depth of field, aperture, light, composition, finding your subject, and tips and tricks. Each class is broken into 3 parts: classroom discussion, hands-on practice taking pictures by the students, and review of the images taken. 6-8:30 p.m.


Contacts for facilities with multiple events

Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Phone: 319-226-4966

Lauritzen Gardens
Phone: 402-346-4002
The gardens are at 100 Bancroft Street, just across the river in Omaha, Nebraska.

Living History Farms
Phone: 515-645-9817

Reiman Gardens
Phone: 515-294-2710


State-by-State Gardening assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of listed events. It is recommended that you verify the date, time and location of any event you plan to attend.