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Better Homes and Gardens Test Garden

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Address: 1716 Locust Street, Des Moines, IA 50309, Des Moines, IA 50309
Phone Number: +1 515-284-3994
Website
Description:

Right in the heart of the city is a half-block long blaze of beauty -...

Right in the heart of the city is a half-block long blaze of beauty - Better Homes and Gardens' testing ground for various landscape designs that the company documents and photographs. The area is one large area made of many mini-backyards, complete with annuals, perennials, bulbs and typical backyard structures like fences and gates.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 36 reviews
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    Very good
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Absolutely breathtaking!

I was so excited to tour this beautiful place! The visiting hours/days are extremely limited, so go when you can....it is so worth the trip. You literally feel like Alice in... read more

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 12 October 2016
Hannahbears_mom
,
Tempe, Arizona
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36 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 36: English reviews
Tempe, Arizona
Level Contributor
385 reviews
120 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 129 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 October 2016

I was so excited to tour this beautiful place! The visiting hours/days are extremely limited, so go when you can....it is so worth the trip. You literally feel like Alice in Wonderland, and in the most perfect way. The garden is lush and beautiful....so many things to see that you really do need a few hours to stroll through and... More 

Helpful?
Thank Hannahbears_mom
San Antonio, Texas
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 September 2016

Words can't describe how enchanting this space is. Not only does it provide a restful garden space inside the city, it offers practical solutions for the home gardener. The keeper of the garden is knowledgeable and gracious. The only down side is the limited public viewing time, but this is a working photography site for the magazine, after all. It... More 

Helpful?
Thank SantoneBibi
Little Rock, Arkansas
Level Contributor
153 reviews
59 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 93 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 August 2016

The test garden is only open on Fridays between noon and 2:00 p.m. It's a lovely place to visit and knowledgeable staff is on hand to give you suggestions for all of your planting needs, from ground cover to growing vegetables on your porch. The plants and trees are labeled so you know what you're looking at. The central area... More 

Helpful?
Thank ARretired
Des Moines, Iowa
Level Contributor
38 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 June 2016

The gardens are well tended. There were many gardeners nearby to answer any and all of your questions. The flowers are typically grown in Iowa so it's good to see what will grow well in the area. It's only open for 2 hours daily so check the website before going. There are areas for picnics under the shade trees next... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank MSAAB
Lincoln, Nebraska
Level Contributor
143 reviews
52 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 June 2016

Visited on the first Friday they were open to the season to the public on May 6. Test garden is a beautiful place to walk through. Enjoyed the courtyard in the middle where you could just sit and relax and take it all in after strolling through the garden. All the displays gives a gardener wonderful ideas on how to... More 

Helpful?
2 Thank Bonnie F
Bettendorf, United States
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 May 2016

I was excited about the opportunity to see the test garden because I do read Better Homes and Gardens. However, it was a disappointment. There was no signage to help identify plants. The area is small and not as well maintained as I would have expected. Sitting in downtown Des Moines surrounded by concrete walls, I had to wonder how... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank Ladonna C
Level Contributor
15 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 May 2016 via mobile

I made my husband take a special trip with me to see these gardens, because I really wanted to visit here. Not knowing that these gardens are only open to the public on Fridays, we went to the gates that were open, so we naturally walked in. We were quickly run off by a grumpy gardener that said we can't... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank Heather M
Level Contributor
19 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 January 2016

Tricky to time your visit when they are open, but so worth it if you can manage to do it. Better Homes and Gardens uses this garden for many pictures in their publications, and also tests plant varieties here. Beautiful fountain.

Helpful?
Thank IndigoFountains
Urbandale, Iowa
Level Contributor
80 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 31 December 2015

I expected much more due to reviews and Trip Advisor ranking. This is a small set of gardens tucked away surrounded by offices and sidewalks. I found the gardens less than appealing. To be honest, some of my beds are nicer. The flower selection wasn't unique either.

Helpful?
2 Thank Diana R
Des Moines, Iowa
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 October 2015

There is nothing to unlike about a garden used for testing by internationally known publication. I RAVE about this hidden gem!

Helpful?
1 Thank mimabeelia

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  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?