Founders Garden

The Founders Garden showcases Botanical Garden horticulturists’ unique skills and demonstrates the transforming beauty of gardens. The dry meadow garden also commemorates the many forward- thinking individuals who brought the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden to life and is a tribute to Tom Urban, one of four individuals who endeavored to establish a renewed botanical garden in Des Moines. Representative of an Iowa sand prairie, the Founders Garden will feature a custom, native annual seed mix and native ornamental grasses incorporating wild- across the state of Iowa and beyond. The designed plant community will display resilient collected species from ecologies. As an ever- evolving natural landscape, the garden will change from season to season, and year to year as it reflects the beauty and grace of Iowa meadows and prairies.

The Founders Garden is made possible through the generosity of friends of Tom Urban Juanjo and his family.

THRESHOLD was commissioned by the Greater Des Moines Public Art foundation on behalf of friends of Tom Urban and his family for the collection of the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden. At 16- feet tall, the large- scale steel Combretacae leaf created by Novella from Spain, will be the garden’s centerpiece.

“Nature inspires my work,” says Novella. “From a distance, THRESHOLD appears to be a delicate leaf that may have floated through the air and gently landed in the dry meadow. It stands as a towering, twisted form made of iron. Its lace- like surface of veins gives form to a Combretaceae leaf. As the sun moves across the sky, its rays will cast shadows through the sculpture’s perforated surface onto the ground below. Constantly changing, the shadows will mirror the intricate natural patterns within the leaf.”

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