Public Sneak Peek at New Outdoor Gardens

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DES MOINES, Iowa --The new outdoor gardens at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden are almost finished. You have a chance to see the new gardens for yourself this week. Staff will open the outdoor space to the public this Thursday and Friday for a sneak peek before closing it down for the winter.

You can see the changes happening outside the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden. Horticulture Manager Kelly Norris says, "It's transformation. I mean, people who've been around Des Moines, who know the architecture, and the familiarity of the conservatory and the building know there wasn't a lot of outdoor gardens."

You'll now find seven acres of outdoor gardens with 10 new experiences, including a half acre water garden. Norris says, "Which is probably the first garden, outdoor garden that people experience once they exit the building.

A boardwalk takes visitors across the space filled with 705,000 gallons of water. Then, you'll walk through the alley, the conifer and gravel garden, the celebration garden and the hillside garden. Norris says, "Which has the really impressive water feature that kind of comes spilling down the hill."

A formal space called the Belvedere is one of the areas that will be available to rent. President and CEO Stephanie Jutila says, "Weddings, the Des Moines Opera is coming here next year, and they will be performing on our event lawn as well. So, we're really excited for collaborations that make the arts, culture come alive, as well as make specific memorable moments for families and corporations in town."

The memorable moments won't start until the spring, when the gardens open for good, but you can get a preview Thursday and Friday. Norris says, "We won't be completely done on those two days, but as people drive by on the interstate and really see what's up, we want to give them a chance to come in and take a peek for themselves."

The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden is open for outside garden tours on Thursday from 11 to 4. On Friday, admission will be free. You can tour the outdoor gardens from 10 to 4 on that day. You'll also have a chance to see the outdoor gardens, if you attend the 4th annual symposium on Saturday. Click here for more information.

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