Des Moines – After nearly 18 months of construction on seven acres of new outdoor gardens, the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden is poised to celebrate a major milestone with a series of ceremonial grand opening events on October 2, 3 and 4.
“Our whole team has been working so incredibly hard. We’re thrilled to see such beautiful results and to invite the community in to celebrate with us,” said President CEO Stephanie Jutila. “Our ceremonial grand opening is an unveiling and sneak peek of a beautiful growing season next year.”
Guests will be able to tour the outside gardens Oct. 2 and 3 to see the new rose garden, water garden, riverside garden, conifer and gravel garden, shade tree allée and the belvedere overlooking the Des Moines River. Gardens in the final stages of construction — to debut spring of 2015 — include the celebration lawn and garden and the hillside garden and water feature.
The grand opening events will kickoff with a 10 a.m. press conference on October 2. The public is invited to tour between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., with the regular price of admission. A recognition reception will honor key supporters of the project at 6 p.m. that evening.
On Friday, October 3, the Botanical Garden is offering free admission for guests to tour the new outside gardens and visit the conservatory exhibits as well.
On Saturday, October 4, the Botanical Garden will host its first annual symposium featuring a lineup of leading plant explorers from around the country.
“Major construction will be completed in time for our celebratory weekend but after the fourth we will close the exterior gardens up to finish additional planting and prepare them for winter,” Jutila explained. “This is a preview to interact with the space ahead of next year’s growing season.”
The October 2‐4 events will celebrate the substantial completion of the exterior gardens and refreshed interior spaces, including the conservatory, administrative office suite, Trellis café and meeting rooms. Construction on the two‐phase, $18.2 million renovation project began March 7, 2013. The initial Phase I capital campaign raised $12 million, nearly $2 million more than projected. The current Phase II campaign — We Are a Garden Now — has a $6.2 million goal.
“We have been extremely fortunate to have such amazing support and generous donors,” said Debra Peckumn, development director. “We’re still talking to donors as $3.2 million is still needed to finish phase two and we’re confident Des Moines will come through for us.”