Orange City, Iowa — Sioux County Master Gardener interns have been working to make a space in Orange City that was in danger of soil erosion into a place that both people and creatures can now enjoy.

Sioux County’s new “Butterflies and Blossoms” Garden is located at 400 Central Ave. NW in Orange City. The public is invited to an open house viewing of the garden Monday, Sept. 27 at 6:30 p.m. and the official ribbon cutting on Thursday, Sept. 30 at 10 a.m.

“We’re very excited to unveil the ‘Butterflies and Blossoms’ garden located near the ISU Extension and Outreach Sioux County office,” said Donna Mills, Sioux County Master Gardener Program Coordinator with ISU Extension and Outreach. “There was already a monarch habitat installed in that location in 2018, so as part of their community volunteer hours, local Master Gardener interns dug, planted and weeded their way to expanding it to include many other native Iowa plants and flowers. Thus, the ‘Butterflies and Blossoms’ garden was born.”

Mills said that the existing space was in dire need of help before the Master Gardener interns got to work. The trees in the area had exposed roots and the soil was beginning to erode further with an expanding area of bare ground. Besides that, it was far from aesthetically pleasing, according to Mills.

After seeing the space, Sioux County Master Gardener interns John Buntsma, Lindsay Millard, Phyllis Van Gelder and Donna Mills put together a plan which was well received and supported by the Sioux County Extension Council. The original plan soon evolved into a much bigger and better project with options to continue adding plants.

The financial support of the Sioux County Extension Council allowed for plants and garden signage to be purchased, and the partnership with the Orange City Area Health Systems allowed for the area to be cleaned and excess brush removed, and for sod to be laid for a natural walking path through the garden.

Mills said that the project had a three-fold goal:
Prevent further soil erosion by adding vegetation.
Fill in bare areas where grass does not grow to beautify the space.
Create an educational area for native species and habitat through signage.

“Planting native Iowa plant species in the courtyard at the downtown campus not only improved the appearance but also addressed other problems,” Mills said. “We hope the public joins us at the open house and/or ribbon cutting to see the beautiful new space that we can all enjoy.”

For more information about the “Butterflies and Blossoms” garden, contact Mills at 712-737-7295 or

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