The inspiration for the garden, which will be an integral part and key feature of the Principal Riverwalk, came from Janis and John Ruan III, and was an extension of their previous leadership in bringing landscaping and flowers to public spaces along Fleur Drive and in downtown Des Moines.
The garden is a place of special recognition for both Dr. Borlaug and John Ruan Sr., whose statues are installed in the garden for all to see. It was designed by the nationally recognized landscape architect Doug Hoerr, with strong input and guidance from Janis Ruan.
Dr. Norman Borlaug Statue: The statue of Dr. Borlaug was created by John Collier, a noted American sculptor from Dallas, Texas, who has notable works on display at Ground Zero. Collier has depicted Borlaug inspecting wheat in his work clothes, facing to the northeast toward his birthplace in Howard County, Iowa.
John Ruan Sr. Statue: John Ruan Sr.’s statue was created by Chas Fagan of North Carolina, whose statues of President Ronald Reagan are in the U.S. Capitol and at the U.S. Embassy in London. Ruan’s statue is placed with downtown Des Moines directly behind him, reflecting his personal leadership in transforming and revitalizing the commercial center of the city.
Of special note is a large fountain that has been constructed in the heart of the garden, along with an expansive stone map of the world.