The Discovery Garden at the Iowa State Fairgrounds is a cooperative effort between the Polk County Extension District Master Gardeners and the Iowa State Fair. The purposes of the Discovery Garden are to provide a public exhibition area which highlights:
- New and unusual plant material including; annuals, perennials, tropicals, natives, ornamental grasses, hardy roses, dwarf conifers and bushes.
- Plant material is labeled during the Iowa State Fair
- A children's tunnel made of gourds and other climbing vegetables and flowers
- A landscaped pond with a bog and rapids
- Composting areas
- A rainwater harvesting system
- Unique garden design techniques
While the intent of the Garden is to peak at the Iowa State Fair, it provides interest, color and a place to relax throughout the season. There is rarely a time when the Garden isn't in use whether by wandering gardeners, families with children interested in crawling through the tunnel or someone just looking for a place to eat lunch or read a book. It is also a favorite place for photographers who value the variety of colorful borders which make up the Garden.
Plant materials, for the most part, are grown by Polk County Master Gardeners in the group's greenhouse ensuring new and fresh displays each year.
In 2009, the pond area was removed and expanded with the help of our volunteers and a local water feature design company. Kept intact was the bridge which is an exact replica of the bridge used in the movie, "The Music Man". It is a true Iowa treasure!