Saturday, January 23, 2010

Botanical Center: A Tropical Paradise in a Bitter Iowa Winter


A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to go listen to a talk on using fruit trees in your landscaping.  It was given at the Des Moines Botanical Center.   The talk was incredibly crowded, and it was very interesting.  I was hoping they would talk more about smaller fruits mixed in with your flower beds and such, but I still learned a lot.  I am considering some dwarf fruit trees for the future.  After the talk, I took the opportunity to walk around the huge dome and side greenhouses, looking at the large variety of plants.  Above, one of the beautiful succulent arrangements created by the master gardeners. 

I love the wall of orchids in the Botanical Center. Right now, they are all white.  I have never seen so many orchid blooms anywhere.   I love the orchid's beauty and sensuality.  In some ways, they are like alien creatures.

This shot is currently my wallpaper on my laptop.  It is so beautiful and reminds me of someplace warm and tropical. 


At this time, Iowa was still locked in a deep freeze.  The temperatures had not come much above 0 for a few weeks.  To come inside here, take off your coat, and walk around breathing the warm, humid air, it was fantastic.  They have a stream and several waterfalls going through the dome.  Paths interweave between the water and plants and rockwalls.  It has a very 'Alice in Wonderland' feel to the layout.

This Christmas cactus just makes me feel inadequate.  Mine is just a pathetic nothing compared to this.  I wonder how old it is.  Are they giving it illegal cactus performance-enhancing drugs? 


I wished I had more time and I'd brought a book.  This just looks like the perfect place to plant yourself with a glass of tea and read for a few hours. I love the cut out table with the succulents in it.  I might have to steal that idea for my yeard this summer. 


My son's favorite part is the fish.  There are some really huge ones swimming around in here.  He will stand on the bridge and look down on them forever.  I am glad to know that I now have a membership to the botanical center.  I already had a membership to Reiman Gardens in Ames, Iowa.  They recently struck a deal with the American Horticultural Society to give us Reciprocal Admissions to over 200 other gardens and arboretums in the US.  Including the Botanical Center, and when I go to visit my friend Melissa in Chicago, I can get into Morton Arboretum for free.  That is really cool!

It was so wonderful to visit the Botanical Center.  It is like a tropical paradise, an escape from  the cold, nasty, Iowa winter.  It was so easy to forget about what was outside (except for the ice sliding off the roof of the dome in the sunshine).  I definitely should make more time to visit here.  Do you have any local winter escapes? 


  1. Nice tour. That cactus does look like it is on steroids doesn't it?

  2. Nice pictures! I love seeing all the differnt plants! Love the water fall


I borrowed this from another blog...

Comments to a blog are like chocolate to a woman...FEED ME!!!

Related Posts with Thumbnails