2018 Garden Tour Highlights

2018 Tour Gardens Preview

This year we are featuring 6 Polk County Master Gardener's homes and the PCMG Enabling Garden. Each home has unique features and there will be different activities and demonstrations at each garden!

Garden 1 -  Master Gardener Dean Brand - Mitchelville

Water management practices and a vertical vegetable garden are featured at the home of Master Gardener Dean Brand.  Soothing sounds of water can be heard among a spectacular display of perennials. This pondless water feature is created as water trickles down a slope and goes underground rather than pooling.  Also among the perennials is a dry steam bed that controls runoff water and erosion from the storm sewer which borders the yard.  Finally, Dean designed and built unique trellises made of cattle panels and steel posts that allow his cucumbers and tomatoes to grow vertically on hills.

Activities at this garden:
Worm composting interactive exhibit
Botanical crayon rubbings
Garden 2 - Master Gardner Ruth O'Connor - Altoona

A white picket fence and stepping stones border a prolific vegetable and berry garden in the deep back yard of Master Gardener Ruth O’Connor. These gardens combine Ruth’s love of nature with solid environmental practices.  Seven rain barrels are used to water the gardens and a compost bin is used year round.  A 4 x 2 cold frame is used to grow lettuce and kale in early spring. Numerous bird feeders attract varied species of birds. Visitors can also enjoy a 60 foot round path that angles through a display of coral bells and purple lamium.

Activities at this garden:
Seed bombs
Garden 3 - The Enabling Garden - 1050 1st Ave S, Altoona

Where disabilities become abilities

Visit the garden at 1050 1st Ave S,  Altoona, IA 50009

The Enabling Garden began in 2002 in cooperation with the Polk County Master Gardeners and the City of Altoona. The 2 acre garden is open to the public year round. The mission of the Enabling garden is to welcome people of all abilities with its easy access structures. A poured concrete pathway winds through the garden and to wheelchair accessible picnic tables.  For hands on activities there are raised beds and containers that eliminate the need to bend or stoop.  Other features at the Enabling garden include art sculptures, a fairy garden and a children’s garden. Nature abounds in an orchard, a rain garden, a pollinator habitat and a bike trail.

Activities at this garden:
The Conservation Station
Rubber stamping note cards
Garden 4 - Master Gardener - Sandie Hamilton - Altoona

Whimsical art makes this garden a happy place for Master Gardener Sandie Hamilton. Throughout her two raised bed vegetable gardens and seven raised bed perennial flower gardens Sandy has created artful and fun surprises to delight the visitor.  Her property includes several fairy gardens, collections of cherubs and angels, bird baths, a wren house and even a tractor!  Each flower bed is 6 x 6 feet making for an endless display of flowers including but not limited to sun loving Asiatic lilies & roses and shade loving hostas and astilbe.

Activities at this garden:
Coffee filter butterflies
Composting interactive exhibit
Garden 5 - Master Gardener - Randy Campbell - Pleasant Hill

A large natural stone fountain and an abundance of both sun and shade perennials welcomes visitors to Master Gardener Randy Campbell’s property. Randy has devoted half of his eight acres to establishing fruit orchards and prairie land. His fruit orchard has cherry, apple, apricot, pear and peach trees. Berry plantings in the orchard include raspberry, blackberry, blueberry and strawberry.  Randy’s prairie land features tall prairie grasses native to Iowa and thousands of wildflowers that bloom profusely in the summer. 

Activities at this garden:
Live demonstrations about bees and honey: 10 AM, 11 AM, 1PM, 2PM and 3PM
Coloring station - bee and butterfly life cycles
Garden 6 - Master Gardener - Kay Oliver - Pleasant Hill

A tiered back yard with trellised vegetable gardens, 16 Arborvitaes to the West and a border of tall grasses to the East creates a haven on Master Gardener Kay Oliver’s property. This suburban cul-de-sac residence features two flower garden beds sculpted from the side of hill. Ten and one half tons of soil were trucked in for this extensive landscape project.  Three additional flower beds on the property showcase colors of blue, pink and purple. A kitchen herb garden and fire pit complete Kay’s dream garden.

Activities at this garden:
Cheerio bird feeders
Unique garden markers display
Garden 7 - Master Gardener - Beth Jordan - Pleasant Hill

A winding flagstone path leads visitors through this cottage themed garden on Master Gardener’s Beth Jordan’s property.  Beth has created eight distinct flower beds with a breathtaking panorama of color and fragrance on her one-half acre suburban residence. Each of the eight gardens is named for its focal point including the “Moon Garden”,   an all white garden of white rose, Phlox (David variety) and white cleome which reflects the moonlight in the evening. “Sophia’s Garden” showcases a Greek Goddess statue with climbing roses, cypress vines, honeysuckle and wisteria. Discover six more delightful gardens along the flagstone path.

Activities at this garden:
Flower parts identification craft

Thank you to for your donations!

Special thank you to Patrick Bryant, People for Pollinators Coordinator at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge for a generous donation of milkweed and wildflower seeds to be handed out for free at the tour and used in some of the children's activities featured. Please visit the refuge to learn more about how to help our pollinator friends!

Thank you to our advertisers also! 

Lucille's Garden Center

VanWall Group

Goode Greenhouses

Ted Lare Design Build & Garden Center

Just Add Water

Created in Johnston

Perennial Gardens