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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



May 1 - Ames
First Day of Summer Hours
Reiman Gardens

Today marks Reiman Gardens' first day of its extended summer hours. Summer hours, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. are from May 1 until September 30. 

May 1 – October 18 - Urbandale
Bee-lieve it or Not! The Secret Lives of Honey Bees
Living History Farms

Developed by the Purdue University Agriculture Exhibit Design Center, this family interactive traveling exhibit will open your eyes to the special role honey bees play in all our lives! Play a video game and learn who is a pollinator. Uncover the differences between bees and wasps and learn about honey and beeswax. This exhibit is included with regular admission and is located at the Wallace Exhibit Center.

May 3 - Madrid
Arboretum Garden Social & Auction
Iowa Arboretum

It is time to attend the gardening social event of the year from 5:00 – 9:00 pm (plant Sale starts at 4 pm).  Whether it is to connect with friends, enjoy delicious food or sip wine, the Arboretum’s Garden Social has it all!  Event ticket holders have the first chance at purchasing the best plants at the spring plant sale (Saturday for the general public) were there will be a wonderful selection new and unique plants. You will be treated to an evening featuring live music along with a delicious dinner. The silent and live auction follows with hundreds of unique plants, garden-related items, and gifts to bid on. 

Beginning May 4 – Iowa City
Plant Sale Stall at Iowa City Farmers Market
Project GREEN

Iowa City’s Project GREEN volunteers will be manning a stall near the entrance at the Iowa City Farmers Market on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings during the months of May and June. Plant offerings will vary and all are raised by local gardeners and well suited to local growing conditions. Check Project GREEN's Facebook page for hints as to what might be showing up at the market each week! Or, check the website for more information.

May 4 - Ames
Botanical Inks and Paints
Reiman Gardens

Add a new dimension to writing, drawing, or painting by exploring handmade botanical inks from 9:30 to 11:30. We will use a variety of botanicals to create plant-based inks and fresh plant-made paints. 

May 4 – 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. For more information check website:, call 563-382-5990 or email:

May 4 - Madrid
Spring Plant Sale
Iowa Arboretum

The plant sale of the year! Come from 9 to 4 and find the newest and most unique plants for your garden. 

May 4 - Urbandale
Kid’s Trail Run,
Living History Farms

Join us for the 2nd Annual Living History Farms Kids Trail Run from 9 to 11! Our 5k race or 1-mile Fun Run are perfect for both competitive and non-competitive runners, ages 12 and under of all ability levels. Top finishers will receive awards (and prizes such as a Family Membership!) and we'll have food and fun activities for all guests. After the race, take a tour of our historic farms and town sites with your family.

Beginning May 6 - Ames
Photo Recipes (ALL NEW)
Reiman Gardens

Join professional photographer and instructor Mark Stoltenberg for a special photography class covering a collection of "how to" recipes. The 4-week course on Mondays runs from 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. The wide range of topics covered will include student driven topics, anything from travel to fireworks to waterfalls, how to shoot reflections, infrared, eclipses, architecture and more, as selected by the class participants.

May 7 & June 4 - Ames
Home Gardening Series
Reiman Gardens

May 7 topic is Stretching and Strengthening for Gardeners. After winter it’s easy to spring right into action outside, but it’s important to take care and stretch before crouching, bending, and pulling weeds. From 11 to noon, Tim Vander Wilt, Physical Therapist, Athletic Trainer, and Clinic Manager at Kinetic Edge Physical Therapy will lead you through some simple exercises to warm up and help prevent injury before and after gardening. Basic Garden Maintenance is the topic for June 4, again 11 to noon. Assistant Director Aaron Steil will dig into gardening basics from watering and fertilizing to composting and plant selection. Hear about handling insects, diseases, animals, weeds, and garden journaling to track the health and growth of your planted spaces. 

Beginning May 7 - Ames
Photographing Your Children
Reiman Gardens

Join Mark for some great instruction and tips for photographing your children or grandchildren during this 4-week course from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Learn everything from what gear you need, how to capture your kids in motion, to what camera settings will give you the best image quality, and how to pay attention to the backgrounds.

Beginning May 8 – Ames
Beginner Photography
Reiman Gardens

Join professional photographer and instructor Mark Stoltenberg from 6 to 8:30 as he helps you go beyond the “Green” button, take control of your DSLR, and make better photographs in this 4-week course. And it doesn’t even matter what brand of camera you use, as these lessons apply to all DSLR cameras. 

May 9 & June 13 - Ames
Nature at Noon – Designing Living Landscapes and Play Spaces for a Women’s Prison
Reiman Gardens

From noon to 1 on May 9 hear from Julie Stevens, Assistant Professor in Landscape Architecture at ISU, about the variety of projects she and her students have created for the Iowa Correctional Institute for Women, from outdoor classrooms to an arbor and a children’s garden. On June 13, join staff from Mayhem Collectibles to learn more about the local gaming scene. Bring your lunch to the Gardens each month and enjoy a nature-based education program relating to the 2019 theme, Toys & Games. 

May 9-12 – Des Moines
Spring Garden Festival
Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

The Spring Garden Festival is the Botanical Garden’s signature opportunity to celebrate gardening in Iowa. This four-day, pop-up retail festival includes nearly 500 limited edition varieties of plants, garden art and merchandise, plus educational sessions and family-friendly garden activities. Details at

May 10 – Ames
Plant Sale Extravaganza
Reiman Gardens

Members only sale on Friday, 3:00 - 7:00 p.m. Opens to the public on Saturday, May 11, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Sunday, May 12, 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. The Plant Sale Extravaganza will be held in Reiman Gardens’ parking lot rain or shine. A large variety of plants will be available and also prefinished mixed containers

May 11 - Urbandale
Tractor Day (& 4-H, FFA, Scout Appreciation Day)
Living History Farms

Living History Farms says “thank you” to all of the Boy Scout and Girl Scout groups, 4-H, and FFA members who have participated in events and programs over the years. FFA and 4-H members, Boy Scouts, and Girl Scouts age 18 and under (along with FFA teachers, 4-H leaders, and troop or pack leaders) who arrive in uniforms, organization jackets, or group t-shirts will receive half-price admission from 9 to 4. Ride and drive an impressive array of Van Wall’s new and antique John Deere tractors on Living History Farms’ front lawn from 9 to 2! Living History Farms’ antique tractors will be displayed along main street.

May 12 - Ames
Mother’s Day
Reiman Gardens

In honor of Mother’s Day, all moms are admitted free of charge from 9 to 6.

May 12 - Waterloo
Mother’s Day- Free Admission Day
Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens

On Mother’s Day, all mothers will receive free admission to the Arboretum. Free Admission Days are offered to community members so that they can enjoy access to the Arboretum throughout the season. Additional dates may be offered with sponsorship.  

May 13 – 19 - Waterloo
National Public Gardens Week
Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens

Stop by the Arboretum during National Public Gardens Week and share why public gardens such as ours are important to you! Follow us on social media and use the hashtags #MyGarden, #CVABGnationalpublicgardensweek, and #Nationalpublicgardensweek to show us the fun activities you do at the Arboretum.

May 15 & June 19 - Ames
Behind the Scenes
Reiman Gardens

The May 15 theme is Nature of the Game Exhibit and runs from 11 to noon hear how this year’s outdoor exhibit is the result of a lengthy, collaborative process between Reiman Gardens and ISU College of Design faculty and students. On June 19 visit with Entomology staff at our Monarch Zone™ – a BioTent behind the outdoor greenhouses – to gain some insight into how Reiman Gardens is helping restore pollinator habitat and re-establish monarchs here in Ames. 

May 16 & June 20 - Ames
Plant Walk
Reiman Gardens

What IS that plant? Get to know the works of art in our living museum from the expert herself – join Lindsey Smith, Reiman Gardens’ Plant Collections Curator from 11 to 11:45 a.m., for in-depth walking tours of the plants and flowers that make this place so special. May 16 topic is Butterfly Host and Nectar Plants. June 20 is ISU Introductions.

May 17 - Ames
Free Admission Today During National Public Gardens Week
Reiman Gardens

We will celebrate National Public Gardens' Week with a FREE ADMISSION day on this Friday.

May 17 - Ames
Reiman Gardens

Current science gets up close and personal at this informal drop-in program from 10 to 2. Meet local scientists who will share their research and knowledge with you through fun hands-on activities, games, and conversation. 

May 18 & 19 - Ames
American Peony Society National Convention
Reiman Gardens

Reiman Gardens is pleased to host the American Peony Society National Convention. Visitors are invited to view the peony flowers on display as well as attend educational sessions based on the 2019 theme “Back to Our Roots.” Hours: 1 to 6 and Saturday and 9 to 4 on Sunday.

May 18 – Clear Lake
Plant Sale and Gardening Fair
Central Gardens of North Iowa

Central Gardens of North Iowa will be hosting their Annual Plant Sale and Gardening Fair at the gardens from 8 a.m. to noon. For more information check the website:, phone: 641-357-0700 or email:

May 21 & June 18 - Ames
Floral Design
Reiman Gardens

6:30 – 7:30 p.m. May 21 theme: May Baskets. Gather lovely florals in a festive spring basket with some extra goodies to give away or keep for yourself! June 18, Stars & Stripes: Vase Arrangements. Work with star-shaped flowers and striped greens for a vase arrangement that’s’ sure to pop. 

May 21 - Waterloo
Class: Hops in the House
Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens

For ornamental use or for brewing beer, hops are one of the most intriguing edible plants you can grow in your garden today. Learn how to grow your own plants, growing techniques, harvesting and unique crafts from 7-8 p.m. $15 for non-members, $13.50 for members. Registration available on our website.

May 25 through May 27 - Ames
Memorial Day Weekend
Reiman Gardens

In honor of their service all active duty military and veterans are admitted free of charge over Memorial Day Weekend from 9 to 6.

May 25 - Urbandale
Decoration Day
Living History Farms

Be a part of America’s early Memorial Day traditions from 9 to 4! At 1:00 pm, March in a procession to the town cemetery for a moving pageant of Victorian ceremony and speeches, honoring the Union’s fallen heroes. After the ceremony, watch the Walnut Hill Bluestockings compete in an 1870s-rules baseball game at 1:30pm.

May 30 - June 1 - Ames
Michigan Garden & Nursery Trip Led by Director Ed Lyon
Reiman Gardens

With a unique climate and rich growing soil, southwest Michigan is an ideal region for a horticultural tour. The Lake Effect often results in favorable growing conditions and moderate temperatures. This great Lakes state is second only to California in its diversity of agriculture. Join us as we explore this region’s notable gardens, nurseries, and more.

May 31 - Ames
Homeschool Day: Insects
Reiman Gardens

Reiman Gardens’ collection of insects includes hundreds of species of moths, butterflies, and more. Investigate lifecycle stages, examine insect body parts up close, interact with live specimens, and learn about the critical role insects play in the lives of human across the globe – and the wider role they may play in the future. 9:30 to noon.

Beginning June 3 - Ames
Photography: The Art of Seeing
Reiman Gardens

It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see! This 4-week class, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. will help you explore your photographic potential. Photography is an exercise in the art of observation. Learn to pay attention to the details and capture the moments that tell stories.

Beginning June 4 - Ames
Photography: Off Camera Flash
Reiman Gardens

Join instructor Mark Stoltenberg as he starts you at the beginning of off camera flash with the basics and one flash, and then takes you through everything you need to know; from technique to gear, to mastering the Speedlight and taking better pictures almost immediately. The 4-week course runs from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

June 4, 11, 18 & 25 - Ames
Plant Pals
Reiman Gardens

Join us weekly on Tuesdays from 10 to 11 as our kids’ horticulture program covers more diverse topics and expands to other areas of the Gardens. Classes involve hands-on gardening activities, crafts, and tastings, and are great for kids of all ages to participate in with an adult.

June 4 - Urbandale
Summer Homeschool Day – Stewardship of the Land
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 from 9 to 4! 

June 5 - Ames
Landscape Photography
Reiman Gardens

Join professional photographer Mark Stoltenberg to learn the basics of landscape photography in this 4-week course from 6 to 8:30 p.m. What gear do you need, what camera settings do you want, how should you compose for maximum impact and what tips and tricks will help you get sharp photos? 

June 6, 13, 20, & 27 – Ames
Kids’ Story Time
Reiman Gardens

Join us for this summertime favorite! Every week, from 10 to 11 to hear books read aloud and join in an activity or craft. Best for children up to eight accompanied by an adult.

June 6 & June 27 – Ames
Youth Summer Camp #1 & #2
Reiman Gardens

Join us for a full afternoon fun and educational activities from 1 to 5. June 6 will focus on the science of plants, investigating seed dispersal to specialized parts to phenomena like phototropism. June 27 will be celebrating International Mud Day (June 29)! Explore the properties of mud and the living things found in it, spend time the Greenhouse, Conservatory, and outdoor gardens, and enjoy a few mud-based activities, crafts, games, and more.

June 8 – Ames
Flower Pounding
Reiman Gardens

Join expert Maggie Howe from 9:30 to 11:30 to snip botanicals and pound them onto fabric to make a customized canvas tote and scarf or handkerchief. All materials included. Perfect for all ages with adult supervision.

June 8 – Ames
Rose Fest
Reiman Gardens

Stop and smell the roses during Reiman Gardens’ annual Rose Fest from 9 to 4. Along with scheduled activities, visitors will enjoy a stroll through the extensive rose collections. The Iowa Rose Society Annual Rose Show will be located in the Garden Room. This is a juried show featuring the best roses in the state. Visitors will have the opportunity to see a huge variety of award-winning cut roses differing in form, color and scent. It will open to the public immediately following judging (approximately 1:00 p.m.) and will remain open until 4:00 p.m.

June 9 – Madrid
Classic Car Day
Iowa Arboretum

Car Registration (free): 11 a.m. to 12 noon. 12 noon to 2 p.m. – Bring your car or your camera and enjoy an afternoon admiring some of Iowa’s best-loved cars. Classic tunes will help set the mood and lunch will be available for purchase. Free to the public. 

June 10 & 24 - Ames
Junior Master Gardener Program with 4-H
Reiman Gardens

New this year, join 4-H staff at Reiman Gardens from 10 to noon for hands-on lessons created through this international youth gardening program. Activities will connect to the JMG mission to “provide a love of gardening, develop an appreciation for the environment, and cultivate the mind.” Perfect for youth K-3rd grades.

June 12 - Waterloo
Storytime with the Waterloo Fire Department
Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens

Join us for Storytime with the Waterloo Fire Department from 10:30 to 11 as they read stories in the children's garden. Free trolley rides will be offered after the story is read with time for questions as well. This event is free with regular admission 

June 13 - Urbandale
History Happy Hour
Living History Farms

Explore historic sites in our 1875 era Town, meet a farm animal or two, and challenge your friends to some classic 19th century lawn games - all with a drink in your hand from 5:30 to 8:30. Enjoy live music, local food trucks and a cash bar, in additional to samplings from some of Iowa’s favorite breweries and wineries. Dogs are welcome too!

June 14 - Ames
Reiman Gardens After Hours
Reiman Gardens

Enjoy a catered buffet dinner, live music from the Bill Martin Group, good company, and a special opportunity to see Reiman Gardens at dusk from 5 to 8. The buffet dinner is catered by Tasteful Dinners. Lemonade and iced tea will be provided. If you would like wine, beer or a favorite nonalcoholic drink, please bring your own. 

June 15 – Urbandale
History Through the Lens & Pioneer Wedding
Living History Farms

Bring your camera to capture 500 acres worth of beautiful scenery and see history through your lens at Living History Farms! Take one or two workshops with local photography experts and have ample time to practice your skills as you tour our historic farms, Victorian town, and wooded nature trails. Visit with our museum guides dressed in period clothing, who will give you a glimpse into life in the past. After the event, enter your photos from the day into a contest to win prizes. Visit the 1850 Pioneer Farm for a recreated pioneer wedding! Travel out to the farm to meet Living History Farms’ June bride as you join the 1850 Farm staff for a wedding celebration, including a wedding ceremony and cake for the guests! Weddings brought the pioneer community together for traditional foods and fun. Discover the most popular gifts for a pioneer bride, help in the “shivaree,” and play a good-natured, very noisy prank on the wedding couple. Visitors will become part of the day’s fun, with ceremonies at 11:00am and 1:30pm.

June 16 - Ames
Father’s Day
Reiman Gardens

In honor of Father’s Day, all dads are admitted free of charge from 9 to 6.

June 16 - Waterloo
Father’s Day – Free Admission Day
Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens

On Father’s Day, all fathers will receive free admission to the Arboretum. Free Admission Days are offered to community members so that they can enjoy access to the Arboretum throughout the season. Additional dates may be offered with sponsorship.  

June 17 - Waterloo
Guided Garden Tours
Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens

Join us for a large group, walking tour of the Arboretum from 5 to 7 p.m. This tour will be led by knowledgeable staff and volunteers of the Arboretum and take you on a trip through time and nature as you learn about the beginnings of the Arboretum and the work that was put into making us the location we are today. This event is free with regular admission.

June 19 - Waterloo
Storytime with Mayor Brown, Cedar Falls
Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens

Join us for Storytime with Mayor Brown of Cedar Falls as he reads stories in the children's garden from 10:30 to 11. Free trolley rides will be offered after the story is read with time for questions as well. This event is free with regular admission: $5 for adults (ages 18+), $2 for children (ages 5-17), Ages 4 and under and members are free.

June 21 - Urbandale
Teacher Appreciation Day
Living History Farms

Living History Farms says thank you to all teachers from 9 to 4. Education staff will be on hand to lead short informational sessions on incorporating an educational visit or program into your classroom. Teachers admitted free; family members pay regular admission fee. Teachers must present school ID to receive free admission.

June 22 – Ames
Pollinator Fest
Reiman Gardens

Visit Reiman Gardens and celebrate National Pollinator Week from 10 till 2. There will be many collaborators and fun activities to make sure this day is educational and plenty of fun!

June 24 - Waterloo
Cultivate Wellness Series-Colorful Coleus
Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens

Flowering plants beware! Coleus provides a stunning array of vibrant colors to brighten the garden. From 2-3 instructor, Tracy Grandy, will share information about this popular plant, and guide participants in planting a spot of color for their own outdoor or windowsill garden. This event is free with regular admission. Pre-registration is suggested so there will be enough materials for everyone.

June 26 – Waterloo
Storytime with Mayor Hart
Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens

Join us for Storytime with Mayor Hart of Waterloo as he reads stories in the children's garden from 10:30 to 11. Free trolley rides will be offered after the story is read with time for questions as well. 

June 29 - Ames
Iowa Regional Lily Society’s (IRLS) Annual Lily Show
Reiman Gardens

Come see the  exotic colors, shapes and fragrance of Lillium you can grow too. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. For more information, visit




Contacts for facilities with multiple events

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

Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden
Phone: 515.323.6299

Iowa Arboretum
Phone: 515-795-3216

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.