A Walk Through the Test Garden

Enjoy these views from the Better Homes and Gardens Test Garden in Des Moines, Iowa.


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Ginko trees and azaleas
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    The walkway leading to the Test Garden is lined with ginkgo trees underplanted with azalea 'Karen'.

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    The entry to the garden is centered on the south wall. Visitors descend the steps to a shady plaza area.

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    Adjacent to the entry, the central plaza and fountain provide a relaxing place for employees and visitors.

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    The Test Garden incorporates 22 distinct areas. The shade garden, shown here, contains hostas and other plants that like being out of the sun during our hot summers.

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    The dwarf conifer collection demonstrates that beauty can arrive in small packages and doesn't require a huge space.

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    Here's the view from the southeast corner of the garden. A colorful assortment of trees, shrubs, perennials, and rock garden plants fill the beds.

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    The quaint little cottage behind the rose ('Dortmund') isn't just for show. This tool shed provides storage space for equipment and workspace for a variety of garden tasks.

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    While the main paths through the garden are paved, visitors can wander several smaller stone paths, like this one meandering past a pair of colorful barberry bushes.

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    Here's another view of the shed. To the left, a pedestrian plies the city sidewalk running along side the garden. Two rows of arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis) screen the garden from passing traffic.

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    No, this isn't a scale model. It's a bird's-eye view from the west that illustrates that the Test Garden really is an oasis of greenery in the heart of the city (Des Moines, Iowa). The east, north, and west sides of the garden are screened by double rows of arborvitae; the south side, bordering the lawn, is screened by a wall with strategically placed gaps for viewing.

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