Gardens in NE Iowa

ladylavender(4)July 16, 2003

Spent last Friday touring gardens in NE Iowa. Went to Willowglen of course, near Decorah. The seedsavers is another great place to visit when you are up there. Also found a new garden in Hawkeye Iowa. It's run by a young couple and is only open in the evenings and weekends. They have a nice selection of plants but their back yard is to die for. Great pond, lots of hostas and very nice landscaping. You can check out their website at They also give a discount to Master Gardeners.


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uicricket(z5 IA)

I'm adding this one to my road trip file. I was just in Decorah in early July but may need to make another trip north to see this place.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2003 at 10:32AM
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Ratz, I was just at Willowglen yesterday and we could have swung by this garden too!!! Oh well, maybe in a couple of weeks...

IA Z5a

    Bookmark   July 16, 2003 at 3:55PM
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Can you tell me how to get to Willowglen? I'm planning a trip from Iowa City up to the Decorah area in a couple weeks and want to go to Willowglen. (Actually, this message was perfect because I couldn't even think of the name Willowglen!) Thanks!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2003 at 5:42PM
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The address is 3512 Lost Mile Road, Decorah, Iowa 52101.
Just look it up on and they will give you directions. It is in the boonies but worth the drive.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2003 at 9:16PM
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Cindy50(z4-5 IL)

I'm a native Iowan now living in Northeastern Illinois. I am visiting my Iowa State Student in Ames this week and while here visited Reiman Gardens on the ISU Campus. It is absolutely fantastic. They also have the Christina Reiman Butterfly Pavilion which is just spectacular. If you haven't visited, it is a must. (I've already been twice this week and have even "hooked" my college student daughter.)

    Bookmark   July 24, 2003 at 1:14PM
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Thanks for the address LADYLAVENDER. I'll use good ol' Mapquest to map my route. Looking forward to visiting Willowglen. Hope the weather is one of the nice 80 degree, low humidity days instead of the opposite that we keep switching back and forth between.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2003 at 9:20PM
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uicricket(z5 IA)

jcare - if Mapquest sends you to Waterloo - don't go that way! Adds at least an hour to the drive.

West on I-80

North on I-380

North on Highway 150 (Exit 43)through Independance all the way to Calmar (pay attention to the view from the El Dorado hill - BEAUTIFUL!)

North on Highway 52 and through Decorah toward Burr Oak

About 10-ish miles north of Decorah there will be a Texaco station on the right/east side (about the time you think you're lost). I recommend you stop here for drinks and a potty call.

Just north of the Texaco station is a blue sign for Willowglen. Turn left - It's a gravel road. Keep following the blue signs for several miles and you will come right to it.

Enjoy your trip!


    Bookmark   July 28, 2003 at 2:10PM
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Thanks for the tips, uicricket. My mom and I are taking a little road trip up along the Mississippi to McGregor and Marquette then over to Decorah. Knowing that it's north of Decorah and to look for the Texaco sign (sounds like their old commercial, for those of us old enough to remember!) will help a lot. Isn't it amazing some of the routes Mapquest comes up with -- and they obviously don't drive as fast as I do, either, because their time estimations are always a lot longer than it takes me to get to my destination (and I really don't have that bad of a lead foot, I promise).

    Bookmark   July 28, 2003 at 5:29PM
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The other thing -- the road back to Willowglen is somewhat wild and very beautiful. And very well marked getting too it.

What happened to us -- we got lost coming OUT! Just pay attention to the turns as you go in.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2003 at 8:26PM
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Well, LADYLAVENDER and uicricket, I found Willow Glen last week. Very beautiful. We talked with Lee for a while . . . great woman. She gave me a pamphlet on an event at Brucemore in Cedar Rapids on September 6 where she, her husband, Karen Strohbeen, and others will be speaking - along with tours of Brucemore's gardens, etc. Sounds like a nice event.

I'm embarrassed to tell you that even though we carefully made note of our turns IN, we also got lost coming OUT of Willow Glen. Ended up having a very nice (long) drive through the Turkey River valley and ended up almost over at Cresco! I realize we missed the first turn after coming out of Willow Glen, but I don't know how we missed it. :-( Oh well, it was a beautiful day to get lost in the lush Iowa countryside.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2003 at 4:33PM
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uicricket(z5 IA)

jcare - can you give us the 9/6 Brucemore schedule? I looked on their website but they don't have a schedule listed. I'd like to see them speak.

Don't feel bad about getting lost on the way out of Willow Glen - we missed a turn the first time too.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2003 at 10:02AM
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I posted this earlier about Brucmore in a different thread. It doesn't give the schedule, but does give the time..

Posted by: TickerToo Iowa Z5a (My Page) on Mon, Jun 9, 03 at 17:54

***You and me both, weaserbug... sigh. However, if you noticed in the Sunday's Gazette, Brucemore listed a lot of it's events for summmer and fall, and one of those events is the Eastern Iowa Garden and Landscape Show on September 6, 9am to 6 pm. I just might have to go to that. :)******


    Bookmark   August 12, 2003 at 3:33PM
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uicricket, I don't have the brochure at hand but I'll be glad to dig it out and post the schedule and other info soon.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2003 at 2:14PM
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Okay! I finally have the information for the September 6 event at Brucemore in Cedar Rapids. It's the Eastern Iowa Garden and Landscape Show, 9am-3pm, at Brucemore, 2160 Linden Drive SE in Cedar Rapids. There will be presentations by Karen Strohbeen, host of IPTV's "The Perennial Gardener", and Lee and Lindsey Lee of Willow Glen in Decorah (no times given) as well as others. There will also be bluegrass and classical music, guided tours of the Brucemore Gardens, garden-related arts and crafts, a farmer's market and plants and seeds for fall planting. Admission is $5. Sounds like a great day (as long as it's not as hot as today!).

    Bookmark   August 16, 2003 at 5:44PM
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The Eastern Iowa Garden and Landscape Show is Saturday September 6 from 9:00am-3:00pm on the Brucemore grounds.The key note speakers Lee and Lyndsey Lee will present at 10:00 and Karen Strohbeen will present at 11:00. A bluegrass band will perform from noon to 1:30 and a panel discussion with the keynote speakers will be at 1:30. Keep checking the Brucemore website it is being updated.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2003 at 2:37PM
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Here is the latest information on Brucemore's Gardening event... It looks like a great time..

The Eastern Iowa Garden and Landscape Show at Brucemore:
The gardens at Brucemore were the setting for the first garden show in Cedar Rapids in 1928, and Mrs. Irene Douglas, the matriarch of the estate at the time, was a driving force behind the creation of the Cedar Rapids Garden Club. Through the years, the National Trust historic site has provided a park-like setting for a variety of outdoor events, and this fall, after 75 years of dormancy, Brucemore will bring the garden show home to its original roots.

Experienced and would-be gardeners alike will discover stimulating presentations, unique products, compelling displays, pertinent information, and engaging personalities who are excited to share their expertise. Food will be available throughout the day. More than 60 merchants, vendors, exhibitors, artisans, organizations, and Master Gardeners will be on hand to showcase their products, specialty plants, and gardening insights. The show will also include a Farmers Market, guided walks through formal gardens, cutting gardens, herb gardens, and neighborhood gardens, special arrangements and floral displays in the rooms of the Brucemore mansion, and unique presentations on insect control, garden ponds, grasses, containers, weeds, orchids, bonsai, bees, and much more.

Headline presentations will include Karen Strohbeen, host of the Iowa Public Television series, The Perennial Gardener, and nationally-known Lee and Lindsay Lee of Willowglen Nurseries. Lee and Lindsay Lee will be presenting at 10:00 AM and Karen Strohbeen at 11:00 AM. The Randy Escobedo & Family bluegrass band will provide entertainment over the lunch hour. In the formal garden the Symphony school will perform from 9:00 10:00 AM.

More than 65 merchants, vendors, exhibitors, artisans, and organizations will be on hand to showcase and sell their products. Some of the merchandise available for purchase includes perennials, shrubs, trees, artwork, lawn and garden furniture and accessories, concrete items, Farmers Market produce, and so much more. With a wonderful variety of items for sale, donÂt forget your check book.

Event organizers view this final event of the summer at Brucemore as an extension of the siteÂs mission. ÂSince the gardens and landscape design at Brucemore have been an important part of its physical beauty and historical legacy, the estate is an ideal setting for a show of this magnitude. We are proud to create a show that is dedicated to the intricacies of gardening and landscaping. There will be no machinery or building materials displays, although there will be arbors, ponds, retaining walls, and yard art. The focus of the show is on creating beautiful gardens and lawns, said Jeff Smith, event organizer and Brucemore Assistant Gardener for Flower Shop operations at the Brucemore Cutting Gardens.

The 26 acre estate surrounding the Brucemore mansion is a showcase of manicured lawns, formal gardens, the duck pond, the restoration of the original prairie landscape design conceived by O. C. Simonds, and historic structures, including the 1915 Lord and Burnham greenhouse. Truly, the Brucemore estate provides the perfect backdrop for the garden show: steeped in history and alive with inspiration.

Admission price is $5 per person at the gate. Parking is available on the grounds, with golf cart shuttle running continuously from parking to the festival.

The following is a complete list of vendors/merchants/exhibitors who will participate: (Eastern Iowa garden clubs and other non-profit organizations have not been included)

AJ Copper Garden
American Beekeeping Federation
Baumhoefener Nurseries
ButterfliZ of Iowa
Cedar River Garden Center
Corner House Gallery (yard art)
Country Landscapes
CulverÂs Landscape Nursery
D & D Ranch (composting)
Earl May Nursery & Garden Center
EnviroOne Lawns (compost)
Fairfax Greenhouses
Fairfax Ornamental Cement
GB Yard Art
Hardy Lawn Furniture
Hy-Vee, Collins Road
Ion Exchange (specialty plants)
Iowa Public Television (garden videos)
J & J Basketry
Liberty Iron Works Studio & Gallery (yard art)
Lincolnway Flower Farm
Patrician Floral Scape
PeckÂs Flower & Garden Shop
Prairie Creek Nursery
Raining Rose (organic personal products)
Seed Savers
The Peony Garden of Center Point
The Perennial Flower Farm
Treehouse Creations (unique trellises & ornaments)
Walnut Hill Gardens
Willowglen Nursery
Woodland Gardens (botanical art)
Zimmerman Lawn Ornaments

Visit for more information on the Eastern Iowa Garden and Landscape show or call Brucemore at 319-362-7375.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2003 at 3:35PM
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Thanks for all the info on Brucemore. I wouldn't have known about it otherwise. I hope to go.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2003 at 10:37AM
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Just a note to gardeners in NE Iowa that Lee Zieke and Lindsay Lee (Willowglen Nursery)will be speaking in Iowa City tomorrow, Sunday, March 14. They will present slides and talk at Melrose Meadows Retirement Community on Melrose Ave. next to West High School at 3:00 PM. They speak about garden design, plant selection, soil preparation, etc. This is a Project GREEN Garden Forum, sponsored by Proj. GREEN and the IC Public Library. Free and Open to the Public. It'll be great!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2004 at 1:17PM
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Miraenda(Z5 IA)


I'm more in Eastern Iowa than North Eastern, Iowa, but I thought I would revive this topic in case anyone has or knows of gardens in the Iowa City, Coralville, or even Cedar Rapids areas that have tours or just welcome visitors to go through them. I am looking more for gardens than nurseries as I'm looking for ideas on plant choices and placement (also, for adding pictures to my website with the owner's permission).


    Bookmark   July 2, 2004 at 10:46PM
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