The Secret Garden
When in Iowa, you’ll want to be sure you take time to stop and smell the roses… and tulips, lilacs, hydrangeas and more! Many Iowa communities feature gorgeous gardens bursting with annuals, perennials and all kinds of wonderful plants and flowers you have to see (and smell) to believe.
Reiman Gardens, Ames
There’s always something beautiful in bloom at Reiman Gardens. This stunning display garden features 17 acres of outdoor gardens, indoor tropical conservatory with seasonal displays and more than 800 live butterflies in flight at their Butterfly Wing.
Bellevue Butterfly Garden, Bellevue
Butterflies flock to the Bellevue Butterfly Garden. And it’s no wonder, because it was specifically designed to attract butterflies by providing nectar plants for adults and host plants for caterpillars. Visit and you can see 60 species of butterflies each year.
Central Gardens of North Iowa, Clear Lake
Take a stroll on these winding pathways that meander through nearly three acres of themed flowerbeds, ponds and streambeds. The Central Gardens of North Iowa include Victorian, wetland, butterfly, ornamental, grass and shade gardens.
Bickelhaupt Arboretum, Clinton
Tiptoe through the trees at the Bickelhaupt Arboretum. You’ll see 14 acres of labeled trees, shrubs and perennials that make up a unique outdoor experience. With more than 400 trees, Bickelhaupt is one of the top 10 public conifer collections in the United States.
The Brenton Arboretum, Dallas Center
Want to spend an amazing day outdoors? The Brenton Arboretum is the place to go. This 141-acre living museum of trees and shrubs includes beautiful native prairie, Lake Homestead, Overlook Pond and relaxing streams. Walking trails, bridges, benches and the picnic pavilion make your trip complete.
Vander Veer Botanical Park, Davenport
A nationally recognized rose garden. A one hundred-year-old conservatory. Beautiful outdoor gardens. Fantastic fountains. Gorgeous greenhouses. What more could you want from your garden experience?
Greater Des Moines Botanical Center, Des Moines
You’ll be transported to the tropics when you step inside the Greater Des Moines Botanical Center geodesic dome that features plants and flowers that look like they came straight out of paradise.
Miss Effie's Country Flowers & Garden Stuff, Donahue
Beautiful bouquets are yours for the choosing at Miss Effie’s, where every year they plant more than 8,000 annuals for your picking pleasure. Along with flowers, you’ll find fresh herbs, including basil and mint. And be sure to taste farm-fresh goods in their Summer Kitchen Shop. Tours are available.
Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Garden, Dubuque
From all-American rose selections, extensive hosta displays and ornamental trees and shrubs to a Japanese garden, formal English garden and herb garden – you’ll feel like you’re walking in a garden wonderland at the Dubuque Arboretum.
Heritage Rose Garden, Gray
Rose enthusiasts will delight at more than 250 roses and assorted old-fashioned plants and flowers waiting for them at the Heritage Rose Garden. This garden also features the restored steeple from the town’s first church, arbors, arches and the Rebecca Fountain.
Buxton Park Arboretum, Indianola
Relax with a stroll through the stunning and serene Buxton Park Arboretum located in the heart of Indianola, adjacent to Simpson College. There, you’ll find formal gardens, amazing ornamental fountain and gorgeous gazebo.
Iowa Arboretum, Madrid
Three hundred seventy-eight acres are yours for the strolling at the Iowa Arboretum, where more than 4,000 trees, shrubs and flowering plants surround you with their beauty. Landscaped paths and trails guide you through picturesque woodland and prairie that will take your breath away.
Riverside Gardens, Monticello
When you stop by the Riverside Gardens, you’ll see a 13-acre garden that features 25 flowerbeds, wetland and prairie areas, nature trail, gazebo, arbor and historical plants, along with many new varieties.
Newton Arboretum and Botanical Garden, Newton
The Newton Arboretum very well may inspire you to start your own garden. You’ll be blown away by its collection of annuals, perennials, hostas, roses, ornamental grasses, prairie water garden, English knot garden and its collection of native and introduced trees and plants. Walk along the paved trails and see how many sculptures you can find.
Prairie Pedlar, Odebolt
You’ll feel the magic as soon as you set foot in the Prairie Pedlar, which features more than 75 display gardens, a beautiful refurbished bow-truss barn, a historical country schoolhouse and several other buildings. It’s no wonder the Prairie Pedlar has become a peaceful retreat for so many visitors.
Monona County Arboretum, Onawa
Onward to Onawa! Here’s where you’ll find the Monona County Arboretum that houses more than 300 trees and shrubs representing 75 species. Onlookers will also enjoy the butterfly pond and garden area.
Inspiration Gardens, Rippey
With its flowerbeds, three ponds with arbors made from recycled materials, and relaxing water features, it’s no surprise that so many people find their inspiration at Inspiration Gardens in Rippey. Sit for a while or shop in the D’Barn Gift Shop.
Bricker Butterfly House, Shenandoah
You’ll be in awe as butterflies float mere inches from your face at the Bricker Butterfly House. The botanical center also features tropical birds, a water feature with tropical koi, seasonal floral displays and chrysalises in the greenhouse.
State Center Rose Garden, State Center
State Center is known as the Rose Capital of Iowa, and its rose garden is home to the annual Rose Festival. Come during the festival or another day that strikes your fancy and you’ll see varieties of old and new roses. For a truly unique experience, visit at night from 8 to 11 p.m. when the garden is lighted.
Living Heritage Tree Museum, Storm Lake
What do Colonel Sanders and the Ming Dynasty have in common? They both have trees named after them, which you can see at the Living Heritage Tree Museum – one of the largest tree museums in the United States. This city park is dedicated to planting documented seedlings and cuttings of trees associated with famous people and events.
Cedar Valley Arboretum and Botanic Gardens, Waterloo
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Children and adults of all ages will get a kick out of the unique Cedar Valley Arboretum and Botanic Gardens. Enjoy the display garden, children’s garden, specialty gardens and sensory garden, all while learning more about the trees and plants native to the area.