Reiman Gardens Nursery & Garden Bus Tour with Director Ed Lyon

Leave Reiman Gardens’ parking lot at 7:00 a.m., Friday, May 19.
Return to parking lot at 6:30 p.m., Sunday, May 21.

In 2016 we offered our first bus tour to fantastic nurseries, garden centers, public gardens and private gardens in the Madison, Wisconsin area. The group agreed that it was a resounding success, and they, as well as folks who missed it, asked for a repeat this year. We hit three of Director Ed Lyon’s favorite nurseries, including one mail-order only, and packed a bus with novel and exciting plants. We will shop at the same three nurseries! For those who joined us last year, there will be a repeat of some of our favorite gardens, but new ones will be added as well!
Don’t miss this opportunity to tour extraordinary public gardens, be inspired by private gardens, and buy plants not readily available in central Iowa. Relish exclusive private tours lead by directors of horticulture, home owners and nursery proprietors. Discover a weekend destination for annual plant pilgrimages and enjoy traveling with fellow plant enthusiasts and gardeners, sharing information, advice and gardening chats!
CLICK HERE to download an informational packet that includes a printable registration form.


  • $250 member, $290 non-member. Check only. Make checks payable to Reiman Gardens.
  • Price includes bus fee, 2-night stay at hotels in Janesville and Madison (double occupancy; $90 single supplement room fee), water/snacks on bus, and bus driver tip.
  • Meals not included in fee. Giving attendees options keeps the trip price lower and maximizes attendee’s food selection. Complimentary hotel breakfast Saturday and Sunday. Lunches at restaurant stops during the day. Dinner on your own at choice of restaurants within walking distance of hotel.
  • Minimum of 40 people. Maximum 54.
  • If more than 54 people register, there will be a waiting list. Wait-listed individuals will be notified. Registrations are strictly first come, first served.
  • No refunds after April 14 unless there is a waiting list. You will be allowed to find a replacement.
  • If the trip is cancelled due to low registration, the Gardens will issue full refunds.

CLICK HERE to download an informational packet that includes a printable registration form. Payment accepted by check only. Registration and payment may be submitted one of two ways. Either dropped off at Reiman Gardens in person or mailed to Sara Merritt - Reiman Gardens - 1407 University Blvd. - Ames, IA 50011.

Nurseries & Garden Centers

The Flower Factory

Only 3 miles from where Ed used to live, this perennial-only nursery attracts enthusiastic gardeners from adjoining states who line up at the door on opening day in April. The Flower Factory boasts the Midwest’s largest selection of perennials, over 4,000 cultivars at one point! From specialized rock garden plants or natives to the latest selections in ornamentals, the choices will astound you. Beautiful display gardens include one of the largest rock garden displays in the Midwest, two garden railways and a rooftop garden. Ed makes annual pilgrimages; after seeing The Flower Factory, you will too! Learn more about this nursery at

Song Sparrow Perennial Farm
As a 3rd generation peony and daylily breeder, owner Roy Klehm is one of the world’s most celebrated horticulturists. Song Sparrow, which offers some of the newest releases in perennials, trees and shrubs, is mail order only and opens to the public only twice a year. The perennials are grown in deep quart containers, providing a larger and fuller grown plant. The tree and shrub collections include rare and exotic selections. Haven’t explored tree peonies yet? Roy’s selections, which fill several large hoop houses, will blow your mind and should be at peak bloom. Find out more at
K&W Greenery
This is one of the finest full-service garden centers in the Midwest. They have been featured in green industry publications. K&W Greenery’s annuals, perennials and full-line woody nursery are complemented by a huge gift shop and garden accessory area. This garden center is immaculate and inspirational, with plant quality and selection that remain high all season. As a gardener, you need to know where these garden centers are, even if it means a weekend excursion! Learn more about this garden center at

Public Gardens

Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens
The Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens is one of the newest public garden spaces in the country. Situated along the banks of the beautiful Rock River it brings the tropics to the Midwest indoors. The facility is the third largest conservatory in Illinois, offering an 11,000 square-foot plant exhibition area complete with water features, seating areas, and sculptures, all in a tropical plant setting. The beauty continues outdoors with the Eclipse Lagoon, complete with two fountains and a waterfall, pedestrian bridge, patio areas, and walkway connecting the Conservatory to the enormous Sinnissippi Rose Garden. Make sure you check out the photos here:
Olbrich Botanical Gardens
Olbrich boasts 16 acres of outdoor display gardens, an indoor tropical conservatory and the Thai Pavilion and Garden, which houses the only authentic Thai pavilion in the continental United States. Olbrich's unique rose garden features innovative mixed borders of Midwest hardy shrub roses along with perennials. The Bolz Conservatory, a sunny 50-foot-high glass pyramid, houses a diverse collection of tropical plants, free-flying birds and blooming orchids. View four examples of the German-based, low-maintenance gravel gardens currently embraced by many Chicago sites, such as the Lurie Gardens, and the inspiration for Reiman Gardens’ new Hillside Waterwise Garden. Olbrich is truly a garden with the goal of demonstrating successful Midwest gardening. Learn more at and
Rotary Botanical Gardens
Rotary Botanical Gardens is a 20-acre site known for extravagant annuals displays and creative garden accessories imagined by Director of Horticulture Mark Dwyer, our personal guide. The grounds boast extensive collections of perennials and woodies, and Mark’s penchant for pushing zonal boundaries will be evident, showcased in over 24 different garden styles and 4,000 varieties of plants. Discover plants you did not know exist, many in geographically themed spaces (English, French, Italian, Scottish, Japanese),
as well as Sunken, Children’s, Edible, Rose and other gardens.
Anderson Japanese Gardens
Anderson Japanese Gardens has been named one of the highest quality Japanese gardens in North America by Sukiya Living Magazine since 2004 and the number one Japanese Garden in North America by the Roth Journal of Japanese Gardening. Master Craftsman and designer Hoichi Kurisu, who designed the acclaimed Portland Japanese Garden and newly opened Japanese Garden at Meijer Gardens, transformed a swampy backyard along Rockford’s Spring Creek into an authentic Japanese-style landscape and continues to design new spaces and elements. The placement of every rock, alignment of every tree and layout of all paths were made by Mr. Kurisu. Inspired by calm and tranquility, this 12-acre award winning landscape is comprised of koi-filled ponds, winding paths, gentle streams, cascading waterfalls, raked gravel gardens, beautifully trained pines, and more. Master Japanese craftsmanship and 16th century traditional architecture is found throughout the garden. For more information, please see the photo of this  garden on the trip registration form and visit

Private Destinations

Tom & Rosemary Kleinheinz Private Garden
Tom and Rosemary have become the private garden destination in Madison. They developed their property so beautifully that everyone asks to tour! They are strong Hosta and Hemerocallis enthusiasts and have created one of the best examples of an integrated landscape exemplifying the concept of design unity. They love woody plants and are aficionados of the rare and unusual, so don’t be surprised if you find some plants here that you don’t recognize. Tom and Rosemary were gracious hosts last year who love talk plants and are looking forward to our return!
James Gunn Private Garden
Shade remains one of the biggest gardening challenges and you will learn much here! Shaded by five century old oaks, the Gunn garden features woodland garden plants, as well as many surprises. Plants have been chosen based largely on foliage shape, texture, and color rather than bloom. There are many varieties of ferns, Arisaema, gingers, Epimedium, Tiarella, hellebores, and Japanese toad lilies. Climbing hydrangeas wind to upper oak branches. A collection of statuary is also an important element of the garden. From the antique iron gates at the entrance, a vintage sculpture of a maiden can be seen standing at the back of the garden. Figures representing the four seasons surround the slate patio, a theme that is repeated in the fountain. Conifers and Japanese maples shade a large collection of hostas. Ground covers are used extensively instead of mulch.
CLICK HERE to download an informational packet that includes a printable registration form.