A- A+

DSM Forward: Botanical Gardens

Pivoting During COVID-19

The Greater Des Moines Partnership DSM Forward webinar series offers insight on moving the Greater Des Moines (DSM) region forward in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. As plans are made and businesses reopen, The Partnership has put together resources for employers at DSMpartnership.com/DSMForward.

Kelly Norris, director of horticulture and education of the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, shared the downtown attraction’s latest news and events during the recent “DSM Forward: Botanical Gardens” webinar.

COVID-19 Impact

Norris says that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult, but that the Botanical Garden has looked for ways to pivot in order to provide a way for visitors to continue to experience the plants and other offerings, doing so through virtual offerings and ticketed visits. A garden is a place that should be experienced in person so there have been challenges along the way, but people are looking for ways to get outdoors safely, and the Botanical Garden is ideal for this purpose, especially with its new on-site gardens.

This year, the Ruan Reflection Garden has added a new functional landscape to Downtown DSM. Visitors can see the new water feature while taking in the views of downtown under the Botanical Garden’s many katsura trees. Visitors are asked to go online and reserve a time slot to visit in an effort to control the number and flow of people.

Online Plant Shop

Plant sales have continued throughout the pandemic as people spend more time in their own gardens. The Botanical Garden has its own online shop which carries homemade goods and a large quantity of bulbs. Norris says that right now is a great time to plant spring bulbs, and the Botanical Garden’s many variations are available for purchase here.

Education + Resources Virtual Activities

Norris explains how the Botanical Garden offers unique activities for families, as well as virtual events for those who want to experience the space in a safe way. There are youth terrarium kits and Fun Fact Friday for families, while Learn on Saturdays is a keystone winter adult education program that will also continue virtually this year. Learn on Saturdays welcomes one speaker each week to offer local gardeners horticultural and natural sciences education. Norris says that lineup will be announced soon. Mindful Meditation classes also take place at the Botanical Garden and are offered remotely then delivered through Botanical Garden social media platforms.

Future Botanical Garden Projects

With seven acres still to develop in Downtown DSM, Norris says the Botanical Garden is poised to be able to provide even more performing arts experiences and opportunities in the future. A lot of the spaces that currently hold these events may not be the best way to showcase artistic entertainment, and the additional development of the seven acres of greenspace will help maximize the Botanical Garden footprint.

Watch the entire webinar below:


You can count on The Partnership to continue to share accurate and fact-based updates as well. See more on COVID-19 here.

Greater Des Moines Partnership

The Greater Des Moines Partnership is the economic and community development organization that serves Greater Des Moines (DSM), Iowa. Together with 23 Affiliate Chambers of Commerce, more than 6,500 Regional Business Members and more than 400 Investors, The Partnership drives economic growth with one voice, one mission and as one region. Through innovation, strategic planning and global collaboration, The Partnership grows opportunity, helps create jobs and promotes DSM as the best place to build a business, a career and a future. Learn more at DSMpartnership.com.