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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



Beginning June 2 – Des Moines
The Summer Exhibition: HortEcology
Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

Four-month exhibition features a wildflower and grains meadow, interpretation and programming that explore connections between horticulture and ecology.




July 29, Urbandale
Circuit Court Day
Living History Farms

Join the citizens of Walnut Hill for an afternoon of law and order. Lawyers, witnesses, judge and court clerks, re-created by costumed interpreters, present real court cases from 1870s Iowa courts. Open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., activities 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.


July 30, August 6, 13, 20, 27, Dubuque

Music in the Gardens
Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens

Free concert series, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Packard Pavilion. Guests sit on lawn chairs, enjoy food, the company of friends and a delightful variety of entertainment, surrounded by the beauty of nature and the gardens.




August 3, 10, 17, 24 & 31, Ames
Kids Story Time
Reiman Gardens

Each session runs from 10 to 11 a.m. and features a theme with two books read aloud, followed by a related activity.


August 4, Ames
Reiman Gardens After Hours
Reiman Gardens

Quarterly event presents live music in a beautiful garden setting, 5 to 8 p.m. Buffet dinner and dessert and cash bar available.


August 5, Urbandale
Grain Harvest     
Living History Farms   
Experience the many methods to harvest oats and wheat, from 1850 to the present. Help bring in the harvest that will feed the animals throughout the winter. Open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., activities 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.


August 9, Ames

Free Admission Day
Reiman Gardens

Second Wednesday of the month, visit Reiman Gardens free, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.


August 10, Ames
Brown Bag: Nature at Noon
Reiman Gardens

Bring your lunch and enjoy a nature-based education program, noon to 1 p.m. Topic relates to 2017 theme, Water. August 10 topic is “The Reiman Gardens Intern Experience.”


August 12, Urbandale
Victorian Birthday       
Living History Farms         
Visit the Flynn Mansion for a glimpse of childhood’s pleasures from times past. Victorian mansion decorated for a little girl’s party, complete with historic streamers and examples of birthday gifts. Open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., activities 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.


August 15, Ames
Floral Design Series: Wet & Wild - Tropical Arrangements
Reiman Gardens

Tropical flowers arranged in a contemporary design, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. August 15 class features fan-shaped arrangements.


August 16, Ames
Behind the Scenes: Hillside Garden Project
Reiman Gardens

Each month 11 a.m. to noon, staff presents an interactive, behind the scenes look at Reiman Gardens. Each month’s topic features a mini-tour, interesting facts, and the chance to see many things not typically open to the public. July’s topic is Hillside Garden Project. August is Outdoor Butterfly Walk.


August 18, 19, & 20, Decorah
Seed School
Seed Savers Exchange, Heritage Farm

Learn how to grow, harvest, store, and save seeds; discuss the importance of preserving crop diversity in your backyard. Registration required.


August 26, Decorah
Cooking with Heirlooms
Seed Savers Exchange, Heritage Farm

Indulge your senses sampling new fruit and vegetable varieties and re-create classic recipes during hour-long culinary workshop, featuring heirloom plants, 11 a.m. Registration required.




September 2, Decorah
Tomato Tasting
Seed Savers Exchange, Heritage Farm

Sample an incredible range of tomatoes and salsa, learn how to save seeds and preserve tomatoes for winter, 1 p.m. Details at


September 4, 11, 18 and 25, Ames
Watercolor Painting
Reiman Gardens

Learn basic sketching and watercolor techniques to paint plants, animals, and butterflies. A 4-week program, 6 to 8 p.m. 


September 5, 12, 19 and 26, Ames  
Move Like Water
Reiman Gardens

A 4-week program, 5 to 6 p.m., geared toward older adults who will be guided through series of low-impact, gentle movements inspired by the smooth motion and flow of water.


September 6, 13, 20 and 27, Ames    
Autumn Nature Meditation
Reiman Gardens

During the 4-week program, 6 to 7 p.m., attendees will be guided through progressive relaxation, guided imagery, and movement techniques to help promote wellness and relaxation.  


September 7 and every Thursday through winter, Ames     
Youth Program – Caterpillar Club
Reiman Gardens

Features a different theme each Thursday as two books are read aloud, wraps up with related activities for two to seven years old, 10 to 11 a.m.


September 7 & October 9, Ames      
Public Film Showing: Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea
Reiman Gardens

The free film, 6 to 8 p.m., is about a non-profit community art project, which involves collecting, washing, and sorting plastic that has washed up on Oregon beaches, repurposing it into art.


Thursdays – September 28, Des Moines
Social Irrigation
Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

Enjoy live music, food, drinks, activities, demos, and brilliant fall colors every Thursday, 5 to 8 p.m.  Details at;; or 515-402-4274.


September 8, Ames         
Reiman Gardens After Hours
Reiman Gardens

Enjoy good company and live music in a beautiful garden setting. A buffet dinner and dessert will be available, as well as cash bar, 21 years-old or over only, 5 to 8 p.m.


September 9 & 10, Madrid
Fall Plant Sale
Iowa Arboretum

Upgrade your garden at the annual Iris, Peony, and Unique Plant Sale, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., September 9; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., September 10.


September 11, 18, 25, Ames    
Great Plants for Iowa
Reiman Gardens

Learn more about a different group of plants each session, 6 to 8:30 p.m.


September 13, Ames        
Free Admission Day and Meet-A-Scientist
Reiman Gardens

All day and meet with a local scientist who will share their research and knowledge from 2 to 4 p.m.


September 14 & October 12, Ames
Brown Bag Lecture
Reiman Gardens

Bring your lunch, noon to 1 p.m., and enjoy an education program.


September 15 – 17, Ames    
Garden Quilt Show
Reiman Gardens

Reiman Gardens and the Iowa Quilters Guild host the annual Garden Quilt Show,  9 a.m. to 4:30.


September 16, Ames     
Monarch Tagging
Reiman Gardens

Tag a monarch, 10 to noon, and track its movement, and learn more about these important beauties.


September 19 & October 17, Ames
Floral Design Series Workshop
Reiman Gardens

Learn the basics of floral design with a different theme each session and take your work home, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.  


September 20 & October 18, Ames
Behind the Scenes
Reiman Gardens

Join staff 11 to noon each month for an interactive, behind the scenes look at Reiman Gardens.


September 20, Ames        
Art in Flowers: Whistler’s Flower Market
Reiman Gardens

Learn to interpret a work of fine art as a floral arrangement from design conception to flower selection and composition, 6 to 8:30 p.m.


September 23, Ames        
NatureCraft Workshop
Reiman Gardens

Join a staff member on a nature walk through the Gardens to collect treasures and turn them into festive, seasonal projects to decorate your home and celebrate the season, 10 to noon.


September 24, Madrid  
Arb Feast
Iowa Arboretum

Walk around the gardens, 1- 4 p.m., while enjoying delicious food, drinks, and good music.


September 30 & October 1, Ames
Bonsai Show
Reiman Gardens

Reiman Gardens will host the Iowa Bonsai Association Fall Show,  9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Plants on display, as well as for sale.


September 30 & October 1, Bettendorf & Davenport
Annual Fall Family Festival
Wallace’s Garden Center

Activities for all ages and items for sale, 30-plus varieties of apples from the on-site apple orchard. Details at or 563-332-4711.


September 30 & October 21, Ames
Serendipity Dyeing
Reiman Gardens

Learn dyeing techniques using flowers, herbs, leaves, and a variety of everyday items. Different theme each session, 10 a.m. to noon.




October 2, 9, 16, & 23, Ames
Family Yoga – Stories with a Twist
Reiman Gardens
Come to the Gardens, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. for this four-week program and warm up in these light-hearted parent/child yoga classes incorporating autumn stories.


October 2, 9, 16, & 23, Ames      
Introspective Writing
Reiman Gardens

This four-week program, 6 to 7:30 p.m., helps participants discover the connections between their inner life and experiences with the external environment through the five senses.  


October 4, 11, 18 & 24, Ames     
Parent/Child Dance & Movement
Reiman Gardens

This four-week program, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., will lead you and your young ones through a series of motions emphasizing external movement and a variety of dance techniques.   


October 4, 11, 18 & 25, Ames
Made in the Shade
Reiman Gardens

The first presentation covers building a basic shade gardening from scratch or improving an existing space. The second features foundation plants, the third exotic plants and the fourth ferns, 6 to 8 p.m.


October 7, Cedar Rapids
Seasonal Garden and Landscape Walk
Brucemore Historic Site

Explore 26-acres of historic gardens and grounds, 9:30 a.m., with head gardener. Details at or 319-362-7375.


October 8, Waterloo
Fall Tree Hike
Cedar Valley Arboretum and Botanic Gardens

Hike through the Arboretum, enjoy fall colors and learn more about Iowa’s trees, 2 p.m. Details 319-226-4966 or


October 10, Ames         
Herbal Preparations for Cold/Flu Season
Reiman Gardens
Learn how to make herbal teas and tinctures to combat cold and flu season, 6 to 8 p.m.


October 14, Decorah
Harvest Festival
Seed Savers Exchange, Heritage Farm

Celebrate the harvest with cider pressing, hayrides, food-storage workshops, a soup cook-off, and plenty of activities for kids, starting at noon. Details at


October 19, Madrid
Pumpkin Carving
Iowa Arboretum

Test your carving skills and enjoy a bowl of hot chili, a warm piece of cornbread and a cool dessert, 5 to 8 p.m.


October 21-22, Ames
Spirits in the Gardens
Reiman Gardens

Join in the spooky fun, 4 to 9 p.m. See 500 carved pumpkins lit against the evening sky. Trick or treat and other activities, including storytelling and more. Come in costume and bring a bag for candy.


October 21, Des Moines
Annual Symposium
Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

James Hitchmough from University of Sheffield will be the keynote on growing meadows from seed. Details at


October 21 and 28, Dubuque
Fall Clean Up Days
Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens

Volunteer groups, families and individuals are welcome 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. A light lunch provided volunteers at noon. Details 563-556-2100 or


October 21, Madrid
Ar “Boo” Ween
Iowa Arboretum

Wear your favorite costume and join the parade of activities and treats, 1 to 3 p.m. Enjoy hayrides, the hay maze and games at this fun family event.


October 21, Madrid
Ar “Boo” Scare
Iowa Arboretum

Walk the “No Return Hidden Trail” and ride the “Hayride to the Valley of Darkness.” Bring a flashlight, wear a costume and enjoy the cool night air, 6 to 8:30 p.m.



Contacts for facilities with multiple events

The Brenton Arboretum
Phone: 515-992-4211 

Living History Farms
Phone: 515-278-5286  

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.