Des Moss Skyline
May 23, 2023
Des Moss Skyline

View the Des Moss Skyline at the Botanical Garden

Last winter, the holiday train made its last tour of the season through the east end of the Gardeners Show House. Comfortable seating and the familiar journaling seat have returned, in addition to a brand-new art installation comprised of wood and colorful moss that depicts the Des Moines skyline.

The new piece is the brainchild of Rachel Tan, horticulturist at the Botanical Garden. After approaching Horticulture Manager Leslie Hunter with her idea, the two brought in Garden staff from other departments to get the project off the ground.

The project team contacted Matt McMahon, a Botanical Garden member, owner of McMahonmade LLC, and the creator of our popular garden gnomes. Matt was enthusiastic about the project and, after receiving a generous donation of all materials from Ankeny Home Depot, the design phase began.

This version of the Des Moines skyline is different from many as it includes our iconic geodesic domed conservatory. Matt used design files and graphics to create the multiple layers of skyline and worked at the Des Moines Public Library’s Tech Central Innovation & Maker Lab.

He programmed the cutting of each piece using the library’s high tech Glowforge Plus laser engraver, including the more detailed geodesic dome, Women of Achievement Bridge, Robert D. Ray Asian Garden pagoda, and the recognizable Travelers Insurance sign.

Once all the pieces were carefully cut, they were delivered to the Garden for staining and assembly. The horticulture team worked together to install various mosses to complete the design. This three-foot by six-foot work of art now hangs in the Gardeners Show House and is the perfect backdrop for your next Garden selfie.

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