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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



Through April 28, Bettendorf
Saturday Gardening Seminar
Wallace’s Garden Center

Seminar 10:30 a.m., Saturdays. Various weekly topics. Check for details.

March 20 & April 17, Ames
Floral Design
Reiman Gardens

Learn from professionals and create your own floral designs, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., with a different theme each month.

March 21 & April 18, Ames
Behind the Scenes
Reiman Gardens

Different staff members conduct a monthly interactive, behind the scenes look at Reiman Gardens. Perfect for volunteers, 11 a.m. to noon.


April 2, 9, 16, 23, Ames
HDR Photography
Reiman Gardens

In this four-week class 6 to 8:30 p.m., instructor Mark Stoltenberg will show how to make natural-looking HDR images, from selecting the best subjects to capturing them in the camera to post production in Adobe Lightroom.

April 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, May 7, Ames
Introspective Writing
Reiman Gardens

A six-week program, 6 to7:30 p.m., with the Gardens as inspiration, engage in writing about what resides within through quiet introspection and reflection.

April 3, 10, 17, 24, Ames
Beginner Photography
Reiman Gardens

Join professional photographer and instructor Mark Stoltenberg for a four-part class, 6 to 8:30 p.m., covering the basics of photography, including equipment, depth of field, aperture, light, composition, finding your subject and more.


April 18, Ames
Reiman Gardens

Meet up to a dozen local scientists who will share their research and knowledge through fun, hands-on activities and conversation, 2 to 4:30 p.m.

April 21, Ames
Iowa Butterfly Survey Network Training
Reiman Gardens

Take an active role in conservation as a citizen scientist through the Iowa Butterfly Survey Network, with this training from entomology staff, 9 to 11:30 a.m.

April 21, Ames
Iowa Butterfly Survey Network Refresher Training
Reiman Gardens

Already an active participant? Bring a sack lunch and join entomology staff, 1 to 3 p.m., for annual refresher to keep up to speed with the latest information.

April 21, Ames
Magic Block Fidgety-Gidget Workshop
Reiman Gardens

Inspired by Chinese “magic block” toys, you’ll learn the process behind these awe-inspiring moveable cubes, and use beautiful papers to make your very own fidgety-gidget from 9:30 – 12:30. Suitable for ages 7+.

April 28 and 29, Ames
Opening Weekend of Sculpture Exhibit: Wind, Waves & Light
Reiman Gardens

The Wind, Waves & Light exhibit, through November 3, and features 11 sculptures designed to explore space, time, and the dynamic relationship of objects in motion. The choreography of each piece is governed by a set of basic movements, facilitated by an arrangement of aerodynamic surfaces connected by rotational points.




May 1, 8, 15, 22, Ames
Exploring Movement in Watercolor
Reiman Gardens

Create stunning effects simply by manipulating the paint and the paper through tilting, rotating, blowing into straws, and more. Four-week program, 6-8 p.m.

May 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, June 5, Ames
Art, Relaxation & Mindfulness
Reiman Gardens

Explore nature and reflection through the expressive arts and learn a variety of relaxation techniques to calm your mind and body, and increase focus. 6-8 p.m. 

May 1, 8, 15, 22, Ames
Architecture Photography
Reiman Gardens

A new course covering the basics of taking great architecture images – both external and internal. 6-8:30 p.m.

May 2 & 9, Ames 
Shabby to Chic Floral Display Workshop
Reiman Gardens

Bring your own unique container and other items from home to repurpose into a fantastic floral display for a classy celebration: wedding, shower, birthday, graduation, funeral, or even a dinner party. 6-8 p.m.

May 2, 9, 16, 23, Ames
Macro Photography 201: Abstraction
Reiman Gardens

Take your close-up photography to the next level by incorporating abstract, fine art compositions into your shots with this four-week course. 6-8:30 p.m.

May 3, 10, 17, Ames
Writing with Your Movie-Mind
Reiman Gardens

Exercise your creativity as you move through a story concept in three dimensions – just like in the movies – in this three-week class with award-winning author Dennis Maulsby. 6-8 p.m.

May 3 & June 7, Waterloo
Free Admission Day
Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens

Discover and enjoy the gardens on the first Thursday of the month with free admission. 9 a.m.-7 p.m.


May 4, Madrid
Garden Social & Auction
Iowa Arboretum

Join us for our big “fun”draiser of the season! Start off with hors d’oeuvres at 5 p.m. and a silent auction. Then the live auction with rare and exotic plants and other amazing items.

May 5, Ames
Mid Iowa Woodcarvers Show
Reiman Gardens

Guests will have the opportunity to view carving contest entries, watch carving demonstrations, and participate in a hands-on lesson in whittling.

May 5, Ames
Living Floral Wreath Workshop
Reiman Gardens

Horticulturist Ed Moran will walk you through all the steps to prepare, plant, and care for a floral wreath you can hang inside or outside your house or set flat as a tabletop arrangement. 9:30-11:30 a.m.

May 5, Decorah
Heirloom Plant Sale
Seed Savers Exchange, Heritage Farm

Discover rare family heirloom seeds and historic commercial varieties at this kickoff event for spring transplant sales at the Lillian Goldman Visitors Center.

May 5, Madrid
Plant Sale 
Iowa Arboretum

The latest and greatest plant sale. Find unique and interesting plants for your Iowa garden. 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

May 6, Urbandale
4H, FFA, Scout Appreciation Day
Living History Farms

Free admission from Noon to 4 LHF says “thank you” to all the Scout groups and 4H and FFA members who have participated in events and programs over the years arriving in uniform, organization jackets, or group t-shirts

May 10 & June 14, Ames
Brown Bag: Nature at Noon
Reiman Gardens

Hear from a specialist on a specific topic as you enjoy your brown bag lunch. Noon-1 p.m.


May 10-13, Des Moines
Spring Garden Festival
Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

This four-day, pop-up retail festival includes limited edition varieties of plants, garden art, and merchandise plus educational sessions and family-friendly garden activities. The festival is held in the outdoor gardens as well as in the North Gallery.

May 10 & June 14, Johnston
Monthly Meeting
Big Foot Garden Club

Meets monthly at 6 p.m. at The Gardeners of America, 5560 Merle Hay Road.

May 11, Ames
National Public Gardens Day
Reiman Gardens

FREE ADMISSION 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

May 11, Ames
Reiman Gardens

Meet local scientists who will share their research and knowledge with you through fun hands-on activities and conversation. 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

May 12 & 13, Ames
Plant Sale Extravaganza
Reiman Gardens

The Plant Sale Extravaganza will be held rain or shine 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. Plants for sale from many local organizations include perennials for sun and shade, herbs and vegetables, Iowa natives, woody plants including trees, shrubs and Buck roses, container annuals and hanging baskets.

May 12, Urbandale     
Tractor Day
Living History Farms

Ride and drive new and antique tractors and view many more. See farmers and their equipment in action. 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

May 12, Waterloo
CVABG and Green Scene Plant sale
Cattle Congress Grounds

The Cedar Valley Arboretum and Botanic Gardens and Green Scene combine their annual plant sales at the Cattle Congress grounds in Waterloo. Members of each organization will receive discounted purchases.

May 13, Decorah
Mother’s Day in the Orchard
Seed Savers Exchange, Heritage Farm

Come see our orchard in bloom and enjoy a sweet treat while taking a guided hike to learn the history of apples and our Heritage Farm apple collection.

May 15 & June 20, Ames
Floral Design: Special topic each session
Reiman Gardens

Learn to design a special arrangement at each month’s session from 6:30-7:30 p.m. 

May 16 & June 20, Ames
Behind the Scenes: Different location each month
Reiman Gardens

Join a different staff member each month from 11-noon to learn about a special spot or feature in the gardens. 


May 19, Waterloo 
Container Gardening Class
Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens

Join instructor Judi Nelson as she shares information on creating a beautiful container garden and provide tips to help your container garden reach its maximum potential. Advance reservations required. 1-2 p.m.

May 23, Ames
Hillside Garden Talk & Walk
Reiman Gardens

Director Ed Lyon will explain the history of the new water-wise Hillside Garden, from initial funding from the ISU class of 1955, to design and construction, to plant selection, and the philosophy behind the five sustainable garden types: rain, Dutch wave, high plains, sand, and ornamental. 6-8 p.m.

May 26, Urbandale
Decoration Day
Living History Farms

Be a part of America’s early Memorial Day traditions! At 1 p.m., March in a procession to the town cemetery for a moving pageant of Victorian ceremony and speeches, honoring the Union’s fallen heroes. 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

May 31, June 14 & 28, Ames
Plant Walk
Reiman Gardens

Get to know the works of art on a different topic each session in the living museum from an expert from 11-11:45 a.m., during an in-depth walking tour of the plants and flowers that make Reiman Gardens so special.



June 1, Ames
Reiman Gardens After Hours
Reiman Gardens

Kick back and relax at Reiman Gardens After Hours This quarterly event is an opportunity to enjoy good company and live music in a beautiful garden setting. ISU Catering will provide the cash bar as well as a buffet dinner. 5-8 p.m.

June 2, Decorah
Gardening with Heritage Ducks
Seed Savers Exchange, Heritage Farm

Put heritage breeds to work weeding, controlling pests, and improving soil quality. Learn techniques for gardening with poultry, including selecting the best breeds for your gardening needs.


June 4, 11, 18, 25, Ames 
Photography: The Art of Seeing
Reiman Gardens

Learn to pay attention to the details and capture the moments that tell stories and better “see” and “capture” the world around you in this 4-week course. 6-8:30 p.m. 

June 5, 12, 19 & 26, Ames
Plant Pals
Reiman Gardens

Hands-on gardening activities, crafts, and tastings, and are great for kids of all ages to participate in with an adult. 10-11 a.m.

June 5, 12, 19, 26, Ames
Photographic Exposure
Reiman Gardens

Learn the impact your subject matter can have on exposure. Learn to adjust your camera settings to properly expose your image, even when your camera suggests something different in this four-week course. 6-8:30 p.m. 

June 5, Urbandale
Homeschool Day
Living History Farms

Living History Farms’ Homeschool Days are the perfect opportunity for families to learn together. You and your children will have the opportunity to tour the museum’s many historic areas, participate in hands-on activities, and have fun! We suggest that you plan at least three to four hours for your experience. Homeschool groups and families who pre-register receive discounted admission. 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

June 6, Ames
Youth Summer Camp #1: How Plants Move!
Reiman Gardens

Join in for an afternoon of fun and educational activities focused on the science of plants, investigating seed dispersal to specialized parts to phenomena like phototropism. 1-5 p.m.

June 6, 13, 20, 27, Ames
Black & White Digital Photography
Reiman Gardens

Learn to look at the world in a whole new way as you further explore the tools, techniques, and identify the best subject matter to create black and white digital images in this 4-week course. 6-8:30 p.m.

Beginning June 7, Des Moines
Social Irrigation
Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

Thursday evenings beginning June 7: Back for a second year, Social Irrigation is the garden’s summer-long Thursday evening series. The garden will be open until 8 p.m. on Thursdays with live music, food, drinks, lawn games, and botanical activities. See the full line up at

June 9, Ames
Rose Fest
Reiman Gardens

The Iowa Rose Society Annual Rose Show will be in the Garden Room from 1-4 p.m. This is a juried show featuring the best roses in the state.

June 10, Madrid
Iowa Arboretum 50th Anniversary Celebration
Iowa Arboretum

Join the festivity and help celebrate the first 50 years of the Iowa Arboretum. Details on the website.

June 11 & 12, Cedar Rapids
Brucemore Garden and Landscape Tour

Tour starts at 5:30 p.m. Tickets will go on sale May 16. For more information phone 319-362-7375 or check the website        


June 13, 20, & 27 Waterloo
Summer Storytime
Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens

Join in for storytime on Wednesdays during June, July, and August. Stories will be 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. Continue exploring the gardens after story time is finished. 10:30-11 a.m.

June 22, Urbandale 
Teacher Appreciation Day
Living History Farms

Living History Farms says thank you to all the teachers who put in the time and effort to bring learning to life for their students. Teachers admitted free; family members pay regular admission fee. Teachers must present school ID to receive free admission. 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

June 23, Ames
Pollinator Fest
Reiman Gardens

Visit Reiman Gardens and celebrate National Pollinator Week. There will be many collaborators present from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to make sure this day is educational and plenty of fun.

June 24, Waterloo
Create a Fairy Garden
Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens

Join instructor Judi Nelson as she leads the class in the basics of creating a fairy garden. Attendees will need to bring their own containers and other small figurines to place in their gardens. Plants and other decorative items will be available for purchase. All purchases will be cash only. 1-2 p.m. Advance purchase required.

June 25, Ames
Seize the Sway: Ornamental Grasses
Reiman Gardens

Director Ed Lyon will present a comprehensive demonstration of all the “grass-like” plants available and show what they can add to your design. 6-8 p.m.

June 28, Ames
Youth Summer Camp #2: International Mud Day!
Reiman Gardens

Join in for a full afternoon (1-5 p.m.) of fun and educational activities celebrating International Mud Day! Explore the properties of mud and the living things found in it, spend time in the greenhouse, conservatory, and outdoor gardens, and enjoy a few mud-based activities, crafts, games, and more.

June 29, Dallas Center
Second Annual June Moon Event
The Brenton Arboretum

An outdoor fundraiser concert and dinner under the full moon. For more information phone 515-922-4211, email, or visit Website: lauritzengardens.orgdisplay at Omaha’s Lauritzen Gardens.


Contacts for facilities with multiple events

Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Garden
Phone: 319-226-4966

Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden
Phone: 515-402-4274.

Iowa Arboretum
Phone: 515-795-3216

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
Seed Savers Exchange: Heritage Farm
Phone: 563-382-5990


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.