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Polk County Master Gardeners

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach in Polk County

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 Saturday, June 29, 2024

Visit 7 gardens city wide. $10 per adult, children under 12 are free.

Gardens are open 9am - 4 pm rain or shine. 

During this one-day annual event, Master Gardeners and other gardening enthusiasts show off their extraordinary gardens. This is a family friendly event with gardening resources and activities for children and adults.  The tour will delight your senses, stimulate your curiosity, and inspire new ideas as you venture through seven gardens in the Metro Area.

These home gardens reveal a variety of backyard spaces with patios, garden paths, garden features, perennial beds, water gardens, pollinator gardens and bountiful vegetable spaces. Shade or sun - inspiration abounds, all with the addition of a few native plantings and other alternative spaces.

Enjoy a breathtaking display of color and fragrance as you experience the activities and wander through the vegetable and flower gardens of Polk County Master Gardeners!

Meet the Gardeners

Meet Ruth Stevens

Ruth has been an Master Gardener since 1997! Over those many years her volunteer hours were earned by working in the greenhouse, plant sales, and the Garden Tour. In addition, she spent time working in the horticulture department at the Iowa State fair, the Beaverdale Farmers Market and a a few of county fairs.

Ruth and her family have lived in their home since 2005, At the time it had some basic landscaping in front. It’s been a work in progress ever since. During the time they have lived in their home, she and her husband have built a brick patio, retaining wall, raised beds, hosta beds and several garden areas. We’ve taken out trees and added new. They are never finished and enjoy  continually renewing and transforming their garden through change and time.

They favorite parts of her garden are their front garden bed and she most enjoys growing flowers and tomatoes. Ruth loves bunnies-real and artificial. See how many bunnies you can find in her garden!

Meet Margo Hay

Margo Hay has been a Master Gardener since 2010. Margo Hay’s “children’s storybook” garden is a labor of love. Pay attention to the little surprises all around. Like the owl peeking out of a tree trunk or the fairy garden at the base of the tree. Look for beautiful natives and check out the outdoor rooms that Margo has created. look for hidden and prominate story book delights such as Billy Goat’s Gruff, Humpty Dumpty, and more! 

Margo's impressive garden is a great example of creating outdoor rooms and spaces!

Meet Jenny McCoy

Jenny McCoy is a Master Gardener intern this year. She considers herself a bit of a gardening geek, "one who constantly listens to plant podcasts in the car, has an insatiable appetite for gardening magazines and Instagram posts, falls asleep to BBC Gardeners World, and has honed her skills at propagating, trading, and finding the best bargains to help fill her space."

She is especially interested in eco-friendly gardening, and has been working hard to add more natives and biodiversity to her home landscape. Her garden was recently recognized as a Gold winner by the DSM Magazine Home Design Awards in Exterior and Outdoor Living: Garden Design/Landscape/Hardscape. Don't miss this beautiful example of curb appeal and intuitive design.

Meet Bethany Wilcoxon & Vito Carena

Bethany became a Master Gardener in 2020 and is new to the garden tour! Her family has been in their home since the fall of 2011 and have completely revamped the front yard in that time. It’s been a process: In 2016, we added hundreds of native plants, including our swamp white oak. During the pandemic, we added the raised gardens for our vegetables and the front patio to safely interact with neighbors and friends. Since then, we’ve added more garden beds, continually diminishing our lawn space.

Bethany's Garden demonstrates how you can truly use your front yard in a multitude of ways. You don’t need a big yard for big impact. Her favorite things to grow is her community, and flowers and vegetables are just one means for that to happen! Her garden is a naturalistic garden, where they value native plants that help manage stormwater where it lands, and that attract critical pollinators. However, they also add in whatever makes them happy and serves our life stage.

Meet Jacquie Brewer

Jacquie Brewer moved into her home 8 years ago. She explained that her first year was spent identifying what was in the gardens and cleaning up as they had been neglected for a couple seasons. Having a love of gardening and being a new Master Gardener; maintaining these beds is a dream come true.

Daisy, the family dog, is her constant garden companion. Gardening, and these gardens are always a work in progress for her. She thoroughly enjoys the process from planting to bloom. Don't miss her lovey perennials at the height of the season.

Meet Brandy Benedict and Jon Roden

This is Brandy and Jon's first year in the IMG program and their first tour! They have lived in their home for seven years. The house had fallen into disrepair for several years before they moved in, but it was evident that a butterfly garden had been planted along the north side of the house some time ago. The rest of the yard needed to be completely rehabilitated.

They are most excited to showcase the backyard rain garden. Their favorite garden features are the flowers that attract hummingbirds, butterflies, and other pollinators. There are themed gardens on the property, each inspired by the purpose of the area. For example, they recently added a faux koi pond around a Crimson Queen Japanese Maple adjacent to a seating area. That area was inspired by a desire to create a calming space to sit an enjoy morning coffee on summer days.

Demonstration Garden

Demonstration Garden in Urbandale across from Valerius Elementary on 92nd and Dewey Gibbs Rd, will also be featured in the 2024 Garden Tour. The garden is the oldest demonstration garden maintained by Master Gardeners in Polk County, which Master Gardeners adopted as early as 1988. The garden demonstrates various methods of fruit culture through its apple trees, grapes, raspberries, blueberries, pear tree, and more. It also features a food pantry garden which supports the Urbandale Food Pantry. Master Gardeners demonstrates various uses and designs such as native gardens, monochromatic use of color, conifers and roses and more.

Polk County Master Gardeners Thank Our Event Sponsors!

Contact Us
Office: 515-957-5768

ISU Extension and Outreach, Polk County:
1625 Adventureland Dr.
Suite A | Altoona, IA 50009

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