April showers bring May flowers! Everyone has heard that saying at some point in their life, right? So why not celebrate those flowers by joining in an activity during Iowa Wildflower Week? If you live in the Des Moines metro, it’s easy to find places to view and appreciate Iowa’s native blooms. April 28 – May 4, 2013 is Iowa’s fifth annual Iowa Wildflower Week. You can celebrate IWW in a variety of ways: organize a field trip or outing, visit a native garden, or even plan a garden or addition to your own existing landscaping.
If you’re looking for just a casual outing, you might consider a picnic in Dale Maffitt Reservoir and Park just southwest of Des Moines. At the park you can enjoy fishing, picnicking, or hiking around the lake and take some time to enjoy the installed wildflower areas. For information on park hours, rules, and regulations you may visit http://www.dmww.com/parks-events/maffitt-reservoir/ .
If you’d like to travel, you can reach the Iowa Arboretum in Madrid, IA in less than an hour. The Arboretum has many collections to enjoy and among them is the Native Prairie Restoration. This 4 acre site was reestablished as a prairie in 1992 as an educational tool for native plant identification and cultivation. There are mowed paths to facilitate movement throughout the area where you can see many native Iowa wildflowers and prairie grasses including coneflowers, Indian grass, and even Turk’s Cap Lily. For more information and directions, visit http://www.iowaarboretum.org/ .
If you want a park in your home county, you can find a listing at http://www.mycountyparks.com. For comprehensive lists of state preserves, forests, parks, and recreation areas visit http://www.iowadnr.gov/ . A couple of preserves that are a short driving distance from the Des Moines metro are the Ames High Prairie State Preserve and Berry Woods State Preserve. Ames High Prairie features prairie grasses and a small wooded stream. Berry Woods, located south of Des Moines, is a lovely spot for a hike through the woods where you can enjoy native wildflowers on the forest floor including bloodroot and wild geranium.
If you want to see the wildflowers more than just during IWW, you can go on the monthly wildflower walks, lead by Lloyd Crim who has been leading the walks in Doolittle for two decades. There are four scheduled walks on May 23, June 27, July 25, and August 22 2013. For more information, contact Lloyd Crim at (515) 432-5026 or [email protected]
Whatever your schedule or desired outing, there are many ways to enjoy the wildflowers Iowa has to offer this spring and summer! So take some time to plan an outing for yourself, or join one that’s already been planned.