Each year at the Arboretum we try to plant new trees to enhance our great collection, but you may wonder how we decide what to add. There is a logical answer and there’s a fun answer. With that, I’ll explain the fun way first.
A couple of years ago our Executive Director and I took a research road trip to Madison, Wisconsin to visit Olbrich Gardens. It’s a good idea to see what other similar facilities look like and to get ideas for our garden. While checking out the trees I saw the Seven Son Flower Tree for the first time. It’s a beautiful ornamental with the added interest of unusual bark. Since then I’ve had this unique tree in the back of my mind not only for my yard but as a great addition to the Arboretum.
Normally I talk with Rob, our Executive Director, about the selection process. When looking for trees, we want to select areas in our 6 designated “forests” that can handle new groups of trees. After selecting the forest we’d like to add to we select trees that will fit into the original purpose of that area. Most often we stay true to our heritage by selecting trees indigenous to Iowa. Next, we look at trees that can add interest from a visual aspect or those that are somewhat unique to our collection. Once Rob has a list of trees he finds providers to check the availably and pricing. From there a grant application is prepared for our good friend and partner; Green Scene.
One of our priorities is education and the tree collection serves that purpose by giving a visual aide to those contemplating planting a tree in their landscape. We can give them an idea of what a particular tree actually looks like.
In recent years, we have been planting trees in groups of 3 or 4, with single plantings for special areas. There is usually an effort to pick both conifers and deciduous trees with some ornamentals as well.
This year we added 51 new trees. See if you can find them on your next trip out to the Arboretum! As for me, I’m enjoying the newest addition of a Seven Son tree to my yard.
Look for the newest trees in these areas
3 AMERICAN CHESTNUT
4 EASTERN RED JUNIPER
3 AUTUMN BRILLANCE SERVICEBERRY
3 PAGODA DOGWOOD
3 REDBUD (1 REDBUD was also added to the Hillside Garden)
Children’s Garden; Including the Hobbit Garden
1 NIAGRA WHITE PINE
1 ACROCONOA SPRUCE
1 BLACK GUM
3 PENCIL POINT JUNIPER
Adjacent to the Forget-me-not Pond by the Hydrangea
2 SEVEN SON FLOWER TREES
1 RIVER BIRCH
Below the Butterfly Meadow toward the East
4 SHUMARD OAK
3 SPECKLED ALDER
2 SWAMP WHITE OAK
3 CANNON FIR
2 BLACK GUM
3 BOULEVARD LINDEN
3 SHILOH SPLASH BIRCH