Ames Altrusa Spring Garden Tour Saturday includes blooming history

Altrusa of Ames is hosting the Altrusa 2022 Spring Garden Tour on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a rain date of Sunday, June 12.

First offered in 2021, the Spring Garden Tour is an Altrusa fundraiser for local nonprofits that are selected through a grant application process. The 2022 grant recipients are the Good Neighbor Emergency Assistance’s Homelessness Prevention Program, ChildServe’s Outdoor Enhancement Project, NAMI of Central Iowa’s Ending the Silence Program, and the Kate Mitchell Elementary School PTA’s Library Project.

Also well known for a Holiday Home Tour, the club added the garden tour as an outdoor fundraiser to keep the community safer while monitoring the pandemic.

Jessica and Jason Mortvedt's Iowa Lavender farm blooms with nearly 300 lavender plants. The farm is a stop on the 2022 Ames Altrusa Garden Tour.

Homeowners who have agreed to feature their gardens during the 2022 tour include Alice and Steve Moore, Carol and Paul Payne, Jason and Jessica Mortvedt’s Iowa Lavender, and Denise and Dean Biechler’s Loya's Little House Bed & Breakfast. Reiman Gardens is once again partnering with Altrusa for this event and is included in the tour. 

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Follow the yellow brick road

  • Alice and Steve Moore: 2421 Dalton Circle, Ames. Follow the yellow brick road to an entertainer's paradise. There are so many beautiful features at this property, beginning with a long, curving brick path with yellow pops of color. Check out the stone fire pit with a curved stone wall surrounding the seating area, then continue on to a patio with a dining table and chairs. 
  • Carol and Paul Payne: 3137 Maplewood Road, Ames. The Paynes moved to Ames in 1991 and moved into their new custom built home in 1992. Country Landscapes did the original plan for the landscaping and later again when the patio was added in the backyard.  The original lot had no trees or bushes. Central Landscapes replaced part of the retaining wall with rocks and completed the new and larger deck last summer. They also helped clean up the derecho damage in the back yard, which included the loss of an autumn blaze maple. 
  • Jessica and Jason Mortvedt/Iowa Lavender: 25016 Sand Hill Lane Trail, Ames. Lavender is a staple when it comes to relaxation. Iowa Lavender, owned by Jason and Jessica Mortvedt, is a boutique lavender farm just outside of Ames, where they grow, harvest and personally handcraft all of their lavender products. The farm features nearly 300 lavender plants, most of them planted in May of 2020. Iowa Lavender grows several different varieties of angustifolia and intermedia lavender - including two newly developed cultivars that produce stunning, huge lavender blooms.
  • Denise and Dean Biechler/Loya's Little House Bed and Breakfast: 56676 160th Street, Ames. The gardens at Loya’s Little House Bed and Breakfast have a rich Story County history. The gardens were established in the 1950s by Dr. Austin and Loya Getz and continued by the Frank and Margaret Vance families until the farm was purchased by Denise and Dean Biechler in 2016. Visitors will enjoy a prairie planted in 1980 by the Getz and Vance families, their neighbors the Biechlers, and Story County Conservation Board. The prairie yields to old red cedar trees planted by Mrs. Getz’s dad in 1943. Visitors will want to scale the hand placed steps and rocks that flank either side of the tiered gardens, a project started by Getz after the construction of their new home in 1957. 
  • Reiman Gardens: 1407 S. University Blvd, Ames. Reiman Gardens, situated on 17 acres, offers visitors numerous distinct gardens that are ever-changing and evolving. Spring is a great time for you to view a large variety of plants not only outdoors but also inside the tropical Conservatory. Check out the 2,500-square-foot Butterfly Wing that features 800 butterflies in flight. And pay a visit to Elwood, the World’s Largest Concrete Garden Gnome. "Home" is the 2022 theme.
Jessica and Jason Mortvedt's Iowa Lavender farm blooms with nearly 300 lavender plants. The farm is a stop on the 2022 Ames Altrusa Garden Tour.

Tickets are $20 adults, $10 children ages 3-12 and children under age three are free. No pets, please. Visit the Altrusa website at www.ames-altrusa.org for more information on where and when tickets can be purchased, or email them at altrusaofames13@gmail.com. 

Ronna Faaborg contributed to this story. Teresa Kay Albertson covers Des Moines' southern suburbs for the Register and the Indianola Record-Herald. Reach her at talbertson@registermedia.com or 515-419-6098.