Visit several optional tour gardens at your leisure.  Open Sunday, 8 a.m.–noon.


Ed Lyon, Ames

Lyon-Hart Gardens is located on a standard size city lot in the Old Towne neighborhood of Ames. Ed Lyon’s addiction to plants is highly evident. There is no lawn turf—even 300 feet of city right-of-way is planted to garden. This garden features a wide array of plants from common to rare and features well over 1,000 lilies representing a wide array of species. Hostas and ferns play an important role in the structure with grasses such as Hakonechloa weaving the design together. Unique trees and shrubs not typical of city landscapes provide a layered look and will become the next generation of shade. A garden gazebo provides a respite for summer meals and creates intimate rooms for relaxation. The removal of two mature trees last fall mandates redesign of several areas as well as prepping for selling the property in 2025; the transitional work may be useful to others facing similar challenges.

Paula and Joe Flynn, Alleman

We have a fondness for unique conifers and have collected many dwarf and unusual specimens over the years.  What started as a small collection in the corner of the backyard in 1991 has now expanded to the front, sides, and back yard.  The meandering paths are lined with field stones collected mostly from the hilly dairy farm in Minnesota where Paula grew up.  The stones gradually made their way south in the trunk of our car over many years of visits to the family farm.  The water features in the yard were formed from farm rocks, with one featuring an antique hand pump.  It was fun convincing the farm family that rocks in a farm field might not be good but rocks in a garden are great.  Cactus, rock garden plants, and other plant species that caught our eye are nestled among the conifers.  And thanks to a generous hosta-loving couple that are friends of ours we now have a growing hosta collection that is sure to be the source of much fun ahead.  Visitors are most welcome.

Gary Garles and Nancy Wells, Altoona

We have a small residential lot with a home that was built in 2008/2009. Gary has just completed 50 years as a landscape designer, so the grass area is tiny, and the garden beds are prominent. There is also a small raised bed vegetable garden. We currently have 260 unique varieties of Hosta on the property, a few of which are under evaluation, and many companion plantings. There are many dwarf conifers on site as well, with Pinus parviflora leading the charge, and Ginkgo not far behind. There are a number of uncommon trees and shrubs as well: Morus alba‘Ho’O’, Cornus sanguinea compressa, Carpinus betulus columnaris ‘Nana’, Catalpa bignonioides ‘Nana’, and Clematis ‘Wyevale’. We would love the opportunity to meet you and show you our treasures.

Frank and Ellen Glasgow, Indianola

Our landscaping has made several different transitions over the 36 years we’ve lived here, from a few cacti to perennials with flowers galore, until we got tired of them skipping around the yard and we decided it was time for a change.  We started with a few hostas that we purchased from Dan and Kathy Ripperger, owners of the Hosta Hideaway.  Their yard and business kept us coming back for more.  They invited us to a Russ O’Harra Hosta Society summer hosta tour and then we were smitten by the hosta bug.  In our backyard you will find several hundred hostas, surrounded by our collection of conifers, Japanese maples, iris, daylilies, heucheras, and other companion plants.


In addition to the private gardens above, you may want to visit some beautiful public gardens in central Iowa sometime during your visit.

Reiman Gardens–Iowa State University, 1407 University Blvd., Ames 
(admission charge, but is in the American Horticultural Society’s Reciprocal Admissions Program, in case you have a garden membership that qualifies)   Reiman Gardens is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in June, with a wide variety of plants and garden features, plus a unique living butterfly collection.

Enabling Garden   1051 First Ave South, Altoona
This public garden is just a few blocks from the Garles/Wells garden in Altoona.  “This Polk County Master Gardener project provides an area that illustrates gardening for individuals with physical impairments by demonstrating the construction of barrier-free gardening.”  Open daily, all day (free).

Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, 909 Robert D. Ray Drive, Des Moines
open Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
(admission charge, but is in the American Horticultural Society’s Reciprocal Admissions Program, in case you have a garden membership that qualifies)

This garden features a domed conservatory plus 14 acres with many exotic plants from across the world, an herb garden, tropical and desert plants, and an outstanding bonsai collection.