Test Garden Shares Beauty with Public on Friday Afternoons

DES MOINES, Iowa –Winter seemed to last forever this year. Then, spring color popped in area gardens all at once. That is very evident in one garden tucked away in the middle of the city.

In the shadow of the skyline, you’ll find half a city block of beauty. "It's kind of tucked here between Grand and Locust, a busy avenue of foot traffic and regular," said Better Homes & Gardens Test Garden Manager Sandra Gerdes.

The garden is located on the Meredith Corporation’s campus. This is the garden’s 20th year. Gerdes has been there since the beginning. The purpose of the garden is to test plants for Better Homes & Gardens readers. Gerdes said, "How big does it get? Is it sun is it shade? If I prune it back, can I get a second flush of flowers more bang for my buck. All the things the plants are trying to give a good landscape solution for: erosion control, drought resistance, disease resistance."

This is a busy time of year to get in the garden and prepare if for summer. "Look where you need to replenish or refurbish your landscape. Take out those old plants that are tired looking, plants that have died through the winter and something that will be good to plug up the holes," said Gerdes.

The Better Homes & Gardens Test Garden is open to the public every Friday afternoon from 12 to 2 the first week of May to the first week of October. Gerdes said, "We've got tables and chairs here in our central courtyard, and we invite people to come in and relax. Walk around. There's always garden staff here to answer questions."

The test garden will be open Friday, May 11th for National Public Gardens Day, along with four other gardens in central Iowa. You can find more information on that from 12 to 2, along with four other central Iowa gardens as part of National Public Gardens Day. You can find more information from the American Public Gardens Association.