Putting the Gardens to Bed 2015

This time of year seems like it should be fairly quiet here in the gardens – the weather is getting colder, and the visitors are few and far between.  But, in reality, there’s so much to do!  Getting the gardens ready for winter is a huge task, and it takes the help of a small army of volunteers to accomplish everything that needs to be done.

 The laundry list of items to complete includes putting up LARGE deer fences (I mean, like, almost ten feet tall!) around a large part of the gardens, moving our beloved fish into the same pond together and winterizing their home, pulling the annuals out of their beds, and much more!  We couldn’t do all of this without the help of our trusty volunteers.  In short, our volunteers rock!

The purpose of this blog post is to give you guys a little insight into what we do this time of year, show you another way that our volunteers are invaluable to the success of the Arboretum, and let you see some cool pics of our volunteers having a blast while getting stuff DONE!

If you’re interested in joining our team – we’d love to have you!  For more info, call our office at 319-226-4966 or email us at office@cedarvalleyarboretum.org.  Check out the photos below of our volunteers working hard and being awesome!


Executive director, Rob Pruitt, (right) with long time volunteer and board member, Pat McGivern, moving a bench to it’s winter home


Howard Craven, our dedicated volunteer and Fall Harvest Festival trolley driver, taking down birdhouses in the Children’s Garden to be repainted for next season


Our weekend crew of hard workers!


Another photo of the crew!

Kitchen crew!

Our kitchen crew during the Putting the Gardens to Bed event

Libby Carter, office manager (left) Iann Veldhuizen, board member and long time Arboretum volunteer (right)

The kitchen crew prepped a lunch of Jimmy John’s catered sandwiches and a homemade, crock pot hot chocolate bar complete with marshmallows and whipped cream for our dedicated volunteers who braved the cold!


Paul Kammerdiner (left) and Randy Robinson (right) moving some Children’s Garden furniture to it’s winter home in the Education Center

Events not pictured:

Last week, a group of students from Columbus High in Waterloo arrived at the Arboretum to help us put up our winter fencing.  Despite the pouring rain that day, the kids worked hard, led by their fearless leader and our dedicated volunteer, Gary Blonigan.  They accomplished a lot in just two hours and were rewarded with hot apple cider!  Groups from the community coming to the Arboretum and getting involved is such a wonderful thing to see!

Our resident pond guru, Dave Berns, has also been working tirelessly to move our fish into their cold weather home.  A lot of people are curious about where the fish go during the colder months, and right here in this blog article, you’ll finally have that mystery solved!  The fish actually stay right here at the Arboretum!  They are all moved over into the Forget-Me-Not Pond, a heater is put in place, and they bundle up for winter!  Well, they don’t actually put on coats and gloves or curl up next to a fireplace with a good book like we do.  Once it gets cold enough, the pond will almost freeze over (leaving an opening for oxygen to get to the fish), and the fish will hibernate underneath the ice (kind of like bears!).

Once it’s warm again, the fish will wake up, ready to spend another beautiful season here at the Arboretum with all of our visitors!

Some Exciting News:

This year, thanks to an extremely generous donation, we will be able to provide a gorgeous spring display of over 3,000 tulips in a variety of gorgeous spring color!  Planting will take place this week!  It’s wonderful, while we’re getting ready for all of the cold weather, to have a reminder that spring is on the other side of all the coming snow!  Naturally, we can’t wait!


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