Social Irrigation Presented by EMC Insurance Companies2018-09-19T09:47:19+00:00

Social Irrigation

presented by EMC Insurance Companies

Thursday Summer Concert Series
June 14-Sept. 27, 2018

Garden open until 9 p.m.
Trellis Café open 5-8 p.m.
Live music 6-8:30 p.m.

After a very successful inaugural program in 2017, we are very excited to bring back Social Irrigation! Social Irrigation is a 15-week long program of Thursday night concerts in the Garden, featuring a new band, food, craft beer and lawn games each week. Trellis Café will be open with small plates and your favorite beverage. The variety of musical genre in the series will provide something for every musical taste. Botanically inspired activities include a DIY boutonniere bar, terrarium demos and cooking and mixing drinks with fresh herbs.

See below for the full list of live music. Event held rain or shine.
Seating provided but you’re welcome to bring your own lawn chair!

Social Irrigation Music Schedule*

June 14: Tony Valdez and the Rockets

  • Favorites from the ‘60s and ‘70s and more
  • Activity: Global greens lettuce tasting

June 21: Big Time Grain Company

  • Authentic, energetic country with a rock edge from Kansas City, Mo.
  • Event and Venue Open House
  • Activity: People for Pollinators: Join staff from Neil Smith National Wildlife Refuge to learn more about planting with natives and receive free plants or seeds to get started.

Evening Sponsor: University of Iowa Community Credit Union
Silver Sponsor: HomeDitty

June 28: Parrenderos Latin Combo

  • Vibrant, diverse salsa and Latin dance music
  • Activity: Boutonniere Bar/Meaning of Flowers + Artists in Garden: Select from a variety of flowers for a personal boutonniere and learn the meanings behind the flowers you choose. Then, watch artists in action throughout the property.

July 12: Max Wellman and the Annie Booth Trio

  • Piano-centric, classic-yet-modern jazz combo with album release
  • Activity: Sample and learn about oils, vinegars and spices with staff from Allspice

July 19: Nola Jazz Band

  • New Orleans and roots blues influenced jazz
  • Activity: Sample an assortment of wines and learn about the wine making process and vineyards with Madison County Winery.

July 26: The Cerny Brothers

  • Acoustic country folk from Nashville, Tenn.
  • Activity: Orchids + Artists in the Garden: Enjoy viewing and learning about beautiful orchid specimens from the Botanical Garden’s collection and take the opportunity to ask questions about your own orchids.

Silver Sponsor: HomeDitty

Aug. 2: Christopher the Conquered

  • Animated singer/songwriter returns to Iowa from Colorado
  • Teacher Open House
  • Activity: Water Garden Demo: Talk to those who work with the water garden and learn about the variety of unique plants and blooms in this space.

Aug. 9: Abbie and the Sawyers

  • Americana folk with lilting harmonies rooted in the Iowa prairie
  • Activity: Espalier Wall: Chat with a horitculturist about the plants in the lush espalier garden as well as the design and maintenance of it.

Aug. 16: The Maytags

  • Blues and funk that fuses jazz with old-school soul
  • Activity: Help make some fresh salsa using vegetables from the garden and a person powered blender bicycle (courtesy of FoodCorps Iowa)!

Aug. 23: The Tighten Up

  • Honoring the rhythm and blues tradition, but uniting elements of the blues, rock and jazz
  • Activity: Iowa Distilling Company + Ask a Master Gardener: Sample Iowa Distilling’s Top Shelf Spirits and learn how the spirits are made close by in Cumming, Iowa.

Aug. 30: Parrenderos Latin Combo

  • Vibrant, diverse salsa and Latin dance music 
  • Activity: Wabi Sabi Farm + Artists in the Garden: Learn about the organic process, customizable CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) programs and enjoy a sampling of fresh produce. Also watch and learn from artists as they capture the beauty of the summer garden.     

Evening Sponsors: Ibarra Realty Group & New American Funding

Sept. 6: Damon Dotson Band

  • Acoustic singer/songwriter with a distinct sound
  • Activity: Monarch Tracking: Learn about and view all stages of the monarch life cycle and population decline. ISU entomology graduate student, Kelsey Fisher will share research being done to track these butterflies.

Evening Sponsor: Techne Salon

Sept. 13: Kevin Burt

  • Iowa-based International Blues Challenge award winner
  • Activity: Iowa Brewer’s Union: The Iowa Brewer’s Union will be on site to explaining the brewing process and offer samples.

Sept. 20: Gina Gedler sings Barbra Streisand

  • Barbra Streisand’s hits backed by big band sounds
  • Activity: Des Moines Herb Study Group: Make an herbal bouquet garni and learn more about the various uses of herbs with the Des Moines Herb Study Group. PlantLed Creations will also be on site using MIDI Sprout technology to read bioelectric rhythms of plants and generate music and light from their unique signals.

Evening Sponsor: American Enterprise
Silver Sponsor: Brenda and Bernie Mouw

Sept. 27: Fred Gazzo Band

  • The mood and magic of Frank Sinatra with a modern twist
  • Activity:      Apples + Artists in the Garden: Time for apples! Learn about and sample varieties from this Altoona orchard. Also watch and learn from artists as they capture the beauty of the summer garden.
    *Artists subject to change


(Regular cost of admission applies)

Member – free
Adult – $10
Senior – $9
Military – $9
Youth – $7
Children 3 and under – free

Punch Cards$40 for 5 or $80 for 10

To pre-purchase tickets, click on the event date(s) of your choice to the left.

Thank you to our Series Sponsors

MidAmerican Energy Company
NCMIC Group, Inc.

McGowen, Hurst, Clark & Smith, P.C.

Click here to learn more about Social Irrigation sponsorship opportunities.
Contact Debra Peckumn at or 515.323.6289 with any questions.