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Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden Unveils New Ruan Reflection Garden


The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden has completed construction on its newest garden, the Ruan Reflection Garden, which is now open to the public.

The Ruan Reflection Garden, located in the heart of the property, offers seating, shade and respite while serving as an attractive link for the Ruan Allée, Principal Belvedere, Koehn Garden and future gardens that will be built to the east and north.

This new, ellipse-shaped area is bookended by 12-foot-tall sky frames, with a reflection pool and fountain in the middle. This contemplative garden space is formed by a native American hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana) hedge that encircles 34 katsura trees (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) with heart-shaped leaves that turn reddish yellow and emit a sweet scent akin to cotton candy in autumn. The garden was designed by Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects of Chicago and constructed by Des Moines-based Neumann Brothers.

The Ruan Reflection Garden broke ground last fall and is part of the Botanical Garden’s master site plan. The Ruan Reflection Garden was made possible through the generosity of Janis and John Ruan III and the John Ruan Foundation.

“John and I are delighted to see this long-awaited garden come to fruition,” said Janis Ruan. “Landscape architect Douglas Hoerr has referred to this garden, which completes his initial seven acres of design, as the exclamation point at the end of the allée. It brings us tremendous joy to complete this project and unveil to Des Moines a stunning garden that is sure to delight and inspire each visitor’s experience.”

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The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden believes the addition of the Ruan Reflection Garden comes at a time when people are needing nature, respite, calm and relaxation more than ever.

“We are grateful to the Ruans for bringing this project to life. This new space provides an important connection for current and future gardens, while creating a complete circuit so guests can link from one garden to the next without retracing their steps,” offered Azure Christensen, director of philanthropy for the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden.

The Ruan Reflection Garden is now open to the public. A ceremonial grand opening will take place at a later date and more details will be shared when they are available.

The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden’s outdoor gardens are open daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Advance tickets are required for the general public. Visit for guidelines and to purchase tickets.

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