A History Rewritten- Part 4 by Paul Kammerdiner

1999  From a time- machine, you always can look down on a place!

1999-1Notice the top left of the photo, we can see the Head House, cars parked up by the tower and stretching to the East the fledgling arboretum, we can also see the new road (Arboretum Drive) to the top of the photo. The red line is where the entrance was supposed to be for CVABG.



This is a good year to introduce my axiom for CVABG; Ever Growing, Ever Changing!

Planning always starts in the months prior to the growing season so we can devote the warm months to working outdoors as we build and plant.

  • This year we have a new Executive Director, Sue Shuerman.

Lots of things going on as we pick up the pace and start some major additions to our green space.

  • Annual Retreat.

The date on the photo is in March, but don’t know if that was the date of the event.


  • Garden Development Plans

I hit pay-dirt for this year, I found actual documented plans.

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This was a monumental list of things to accomplish and not all of it got done this year, let’s see what happened!


  • Volunteer Breakfast

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Ever mindful of the importance of our best asset, we have another fun time and have breakfast in the Head House. A good time was had by all!

  • Volunteer Appreciation Day

We continue with the Volunteer Appreciation Day

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  • Story Time

Look closely, the kids are in the sun flower house


  • Iowa Tree Stewards Program

A class put on by Iowa State Extension Office.


  • Fall Harvest Festival

This event continues to grow and improve, we have scarecrows and again I see evidence of activities for kids but no photos of vendors, so don’t know about that.

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Two projects that are kicked off this year but not actually started yet, are the Children’s Garden and the temporary parking lot.


  • Children’s Garden

We are in the planning stages but have chosen the site which will be North of the tool sheds, into what has been corn fields.



Left to right; Ken and Mary Allbaugh Max and Helen Guernsey
Jim Atkins (with Weyerhaesuer) and Nancy Showers


Major donors have come on board and are present for the ceremony


We have a ceremonial groundbreaking as well

  • Temporary Parking Lot


Phase One-A of the Master Plan called for a temporary parking lot from the access road, this was in keeping with having a temporary welcome center. The actual Visitor’s Center was in Phase Four of the plan. This hasn’t happened yet.

This year the site was chosen for the temporary parking lot but work was not started.

  • Well

As can be seen from previous years’ photos, getting water to the grounds has been a pretty primitive affair. It included lots of hose lines and a fair amount of hauling in buckets. So, this year an on-site well is dug a little Northeast of the Head House

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This photo of the drilling rig gives you an idea of the location of the well, as you can see it means that the Nursery area is being reduced.

  • Fence

The landscape of the tower hill area is changing, this entire area now becomes very different from the Master Plan even though many elements of the plan are now located here. Having established the site for the Children’s Garden, an L-shaped section of redwood fence is built to frame out an area adjacent to where the Education Center will be, the Ed Center is part of the Children’s Garden project and will sit in front of it.

This fence will also act as a backdrop for the Community Gardens which have been moved to the West from their original location. It will have decorative brick pillars.

Following is an excerpt from an article written by Craig Gibleon.

“It was very windy on top of the hill where the community display was placed.  Some kind of fence was needed to hold back the wind.  I drew up plans for the stone pillars and adjoining fence during the winter, and in the spring 1999 construction began.   Most of our projects garner a lot of public support, and the fence was no exception.

After a heroic attempt by volunteers to dig the 4’ x 4’ x 4’ holes for the stone pillar bases, Craig Ceily showed up one night with the cutest little backhoe and in less than an hour, he had dug the square pits.  The brick substructure was donated, along with most of the concrete.  Leonard Truax laid up the fieldstone pillars, using long-lost skills passed on to him by his father Harold.  Tom Walton and Arboretum volunteers finished out the fence.

Kay Glessner has to be mentioned for the generous donation she made as a tribute.  This donation paid for materials our volunteers needed to keep working.  Donations of this type have paid for many additions to our facility and are deeply appreciated.”

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  • Enabling Garden

This is a major project for this year. Not only will the garden be created but the construction will include a small greenhouse, two shade structure courtyard areas, and include pathways running South to North toward the future Education Center, this connected the two tool sheds and fills in the tower hill area on a line from the tower to the Children’s Garden site.

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The next two photos were taken during the formal dedication of the finished garden

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Here is the finished greenhouse with one of the raised bed gardens



In the background of this photo are the completed shade structures from the Enabling Garden project. The people in the picture are standing in front of the new pond.

  • Forget Me Not Pond

This project was built by the Iowa Pond Club and the Cedar Valley Foster Parents. It is dedicated to all children in foster care who, “like flowers will blossom and grow when given roots and tender loving care.” A complete story on this pond has been recently published.

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This pond is located to the Southeast side of tower hill just North of the Wattle Garden

  • Mini Projects


 This kiosk was erected at the top of tower hill this year, access was still only to this area and the major development is happening here. In the background to the West, you can see what is left of the Nursery and in the far back the Head House.



The tables were built by the Pioneer West Volunteer Group


Another mini-project was the installation of a stone walk-way up to the head house, this is to tie in with the new garden to be planted here.



There are a few gardens put in this year, some taken from the Master Plan and some not. This year also sees land to the east and across the path from the community gardens being developed.

  • Ethnic Garden



The Ethnic Garden was located on the grass field south of the Head House, it was round


  • Iris Garden


  • Raised Beds

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  • Herb Garden



Looks like a new mini-pergola has been added


  • Community Gardens

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  • Head House Garden



You can see the new brick walkway leading to the door


  • Green Scene Gardens

We saw their food bank garden a couple of years ago, here are some more of theirs.

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I am speculating that they may have raised some ornamentals for their plant sale

  • Test Plots

These were to allow gardeners to try out different aspects of how to grow things in this climate and soil type


  • Wattle Garden

Only had this one photo of this garden, not much going on but a good view of the fence.


One other mini-garden to mention was a display of Craig Gibleon’s Bonsai trees showcased on a shelf added to the new fence.



From the disk, again

Tree Species Number Planted
Crimson King Maple 1
Variegated Norway Maple 1
Paper Bark Maple 1
Techny Arborvitae 10
Yellow Ribbon Arborvitae 2
Heitz Columnar Juniper 2
Bald Cyprus 1
Black Locust 1
Magnolia Ann 1
Tulip Tree 2
White Spruce 3
European Larch 3
White Fir 4
Colorado Blue Spruce 2
Adams Red Crabapple 3
American Basswood 1

The photos below are time stamped 1999 and are of trees, so I put them in, not sure they were actually planted this year, but I just like trees.

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Every journey we take together through the years has always been, and will always be about the people who have, and continue to, generously and tirelessly devote their time and resources to our beloved green space.

Board of Directors in 1999:

Kelly Conrad

Jean Gerrath

Norma Hoelscher

Tom Laglas

Art Finke

Don Watson

Sharon Miller

Gary Karr

Vie Mossman

Sally Young

Denise Glenny

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As we say goodbye to the 20th century, let’s take a look at the CVAG one more time


New trees over by Hess Road


Looking West toward Hawkeye


Finally: Tower Hill



Next time; the start of a new century!

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