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; two bur oaks (Quercus macrocarpa), affectionately nicknamed Big Bur and Little Bur; and a black oak (Quercus velutina). Big Bur and the black oak were likely planted around the time the house was finished in 1941. Little Bur was purportedly planted by the previous owners when they acquired the property in the 1980s. I think of that tree as a cohort given our shared decade. 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 former director of horticulture and education at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, a 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. He regularly appears in various media as a gardening expert, including as a co-presenter for Cottage Farms on QVC.