We all have our favorite places to visit at the Iowa State Fair. But, with all the attractions and food, you may miss some of the hidden gems on the fairgrounds.
Mary Doyle says her family has a favorite food. She says, “Mini doughnuts, that’s a necessity.”
Beverly Belzer says she has a favorite activity. “We just like to sit and watch people.”
But, if you keep your eyes on the people, you may miss the beauty right under your nose. Belzer says, while walking through a garden, “It’s just beautiful, you know, you wish you could have a yard like this.”
Tucked in the shadow of the Ag Building, you’ll find more than five thousand square feet of flowers. It’s called The Discovery Garden. Nancy Bodine with the Polk County Master Gardeners says, “Absolutely a hidden gem.”
Polk County Master Gardeners maintain the area. Eighty volunteers work throughout the year planning, planting and weeding. Bodine says, “Most of the gardens are down to the dirt, and then they are peak at the state fair time.”
The garden turns thirty this year. It started as a children’s garden and blossomed into an area with 29 flower beds, a pond with fish and a bridge that is a replica of the one in The Music Man. The Garden also features a children’s area complete with a tea party theme and a vine covered tunnel.
Doyle says, “Plenty of shade, plenty of seats to sit, close to the food, my husband would say.”
A Polk County Master Gardener will be at The Discovery Garden throughout the fair to answer questions you may have about your garden. They’ll be there from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day of the fair. The Iowa State Fair is August 8th through 18th.