North Gallery Exhibits

The North Gallery at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden features art and photography on natural and botanical themes throughout the year. The subject matter supports our mission — “Exploring, explaining and celebrating the world of plants.” The shows change regularly, showcasing artists from around the Midwest. Sales support the Botanical Garden’s annual fund. Artists and photographers interested in having a show are encouraged to contact the Education and Outreach Department at 515.323.6296.

Seasonal Artist Exhibit - Original Skin: Botanical Resilience in a Changing Climate

With Elizabeth Wallace - June 8 thru August 8 

Original Skin is a botanical study of the beauty, resilience and strength of prickly pear cactus (Opuntia), as it is impacted by fire. Native to both Iowa and California, prickly pear cactus is one of the hardiest plants in the face of fire, heat and drought. The paintings in Original Skin depict the cactus’ ability to shed its scorched skin and reveal new outer flesh, flowers and pears after experiencing wildfire.

As an Iowa native, Elizabeth grew up with a reverence for the flora of the state. She has lived half her life in Iowa and half in California, and her heart belongs to both places. Elizabeth Wallace is best known for her portrait studies of nature. She paints outdoors, blending pigments made from the earth (umber, sienna, ochre) onto canvas. Armed with large brushes and a fresh palette of paint, she looks to the natural landscape and her intuition for guidance.

Wallace studied fine art drawing and painting at the Laguna College of Art and Design and was awarded Best of Fine Arts. Prior to her studies in Laguna Beach, she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Iowa. She currently exhibits at Mission Fine Art Gallery in San Juan Capistrano, California.

Elizabeth hopes that these paintings will remind us that our earth and its resources are sacred—that despite incredible odds, nature can recover if we do our part in respecting the natural world.

Join us for Elizabeth's opening reception on June 29, 2017 from 5 - 7 p.m. For more details click here.

Permanent Exhibit

In 1982, the internationally recognized team of Newton, Iowa museum artists Norman Neal Deaton, Michelle Deaton, Blaine Haunsperger and Daniel Kohl accepted the commission to create a mural with accompanying wildflower replicas representing some of the many plants blooming in the Iowa prairie in the spring, summer and fall seasons.

The botanical models are all handmade. Actual plant specimens are taken apart and a mold is made of each part, including leaves, petals, sepals, etc. The parts are then cast in vinyl or acetate by a vacu-formed process, trimmed, reassembled and painted by hand. Some of the grass blades are mylar grouped with actual grasses that have been preserved and stabilized. Most of the stems of the plants are wire welded with a miniature jewelers' welder. 

This work of art is the gift of Myron and Jacqueline Blank in honor of their parents A.H. and Anna Blank and Lewis and Leah Navran.  


We are very excited to host many signature events throughout the season at our location to help bring something special to our gardens. Below are various slideshows from past events that take place throughout our different galleries and exhibits. Please see our upcoming events to see what excitement is coming to the gardens soon.