About Three Oaks

Three Oaks Garden in Des Moines, Iowa is the creation of plantsman Kelly Norris. It’s a repository of ideas, canvas for personal expression and planting field in a clearing atop a oak-covered hill above the Des Moines River.

What’s in a name?

Three Oaks is admittedly literal, referring to the oldest of the oak trees on the property; affectionately nicknamed Big Bur, Little Bur and Big Red.  Big Bur and Big Red were planted probably about the time the house was built (1941). Little Bur was purportedly planted by the previous owners when they acquired the property some 30 years ago. That tree and I are the same age, which is fun to think about. I’ll contribute an oak or three to the canopy along with others. My neighborhood isn’t called Oak Park for nothing.

Who is Kelly Norris?

Kelly Norris is an award-winning author and plantsman from Iowa and the first director of horticulture at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, a newly revitalized public garden in Des Moines, Iowa.  Throughout his career, his work has been featured in The New York TimesOrganic Gardening, Martha Stewart Living, Country GardensGarden Design and in numerous local and regional media appearances.