I've lived in Iowa virtually my entire life and have been involved in Iowa's tourism industry for almost 15 years (gasp!), but I am still amazed by what the state offers. Every year I add to my wish list of places to visit.
For instance, did you know there was a place where someone plants and tends to flowers, but you can come pick them? How incredible is that? At Miss Effie's Country Garden and Garden Stuff in Donahue, you can take your pick of more than 8,000 annuals.The flowers change with the seasons, of course, so you'll want to go more than once. Love it!
Also on my list is the Loess Hills Lavender Farm near Missouri Valley. Yes, a lavender farm in Iowa. I'm enamored by the idea of smelling two acres of lavender fields.For centuries lavender has been used to dress wounds, as perfume, and used for a sense of calm and balance. A gift shop on site offers many lavender products made right there on the farm. I sense a girls outing in store this summer.
While I have been to Reiman Gardens in Ames before, it's on my list to visit this year because of its special LEGO exhibit. I have not one, but two, LEGOmaniacs in my house so this will be perfect. The 14-acre garden includes 27 sculptures made out of more than 500,000 LEGO bricks in 14 displays inspired by gardens and nature. They range in size from six inches to nearly eight feet. The largest sculpture, a mother bison, took 45,143 bricks to construct. Reiman Gardens is the first public garden in the country to display sculptures from LEGO bricks.The exhibit is titled "Nature Connects" and is designed to show how nature in interconnected, just like the LEGO bricks used to build it. The exhibit runs through October 28.
Taken great shots of Iowa's flower power? We'd love to see them. Tag and share your #IowaSnapshots on our Facebook and Twitter pages! Want more suggestions on gardens to visit? Check out our Flower Power Pinterest board.
Jessica O'Riley, Iowa Tourism Office