A History Rewritten-2003

By Paul Kammerdiner

2003-1What! Wait a minute, who set the time machine controls for February? Well no matter, we can bump the time up a bit and land in more favorable conditions.


Ah, this looks more promising, but we should not forget that every year we always begin our same cycle and that starts with


I didn’t find any photos of the annual retreat again this year. I am sure, however, that while the gardens are sleeping many people are anxiously awaiting another growing season. From the director’s notes: Hired Josh Blough as full -time summer gardener. Target donated books for the Children’s Garden Library


  • Children’s Garden Dedication

I just made up the name, all I have are a few pictures of what looks like some type of mini-event. I do know that Helen and Max Guernsey were long-time patrons of the Arboretum and major donors for the Children’s Garden


Speculating again, it looks like what is now the back gate of the Children’s Garden may have been the main entrance at the beginning

  • Alice in Wonderland Tea Party

All I know about this one is that there were several pictures with this caption on them

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  • Country Garden Brunch


  • Ice Cream Social

This is what the caption on the pictures say, but it looks like what was going on was a demonstration of powered parachute flying


  • Classes


Fairy Gardens


Mud n’ Muck

Who wouldn’t want to do this one?


Trash to Treasures


  • Volunteer Breakfast


  • Hope

I don’t know what this was, but the shirts all say hope on them, whatever it was, it appears that everyone is having a good time.

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  • Fall Harvest Festival

It looks like we had activities for the kids



  • Parking Lot

In the original master plan was a provision for what was called a temporary parking lot. This was designated that way as the welcome center was temporary as well in anticipation of eventually building an event center.

Up to now, we have been parking up on tower hill, but this year we are ready for a real parking lot which will be down in front of the head house.

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What was a single pathway up to the Head House now becomes an oval around a center boulevard. The Ethnic Garden is now gone.

The gravel becomes the finishing touch


We graded the old parking spot on the hill and added some greenery


  • Kiosk

Now that we have a parking lot down the hill, the entrance will be from there so we install a new Kiosk that welcomes you to the gardens


  • Entrance Gate



Now that the parking lot is finished along with grading and adding gravel to the entrance road, this is what the entrance looks like, but not for long. Following is an image of an issue from our newsletter dated November 2003. The image is a little faded but it says:

The Arboretum main entrance; now located off Orange Road; is remodeled with $30,000 raised by a committee chaired by Jan Guthrie. A new gate is put in place with funds donated by Bill and Harriet Rickert. This gate is designed by Harriet’s son Brian Barnes a landscape architect in Chicago.


The following is an excerpt taken from an article written by Craig Gibleon:

“Leonard Truax donated much of his time to create the fieldstone pillars, using his exceptional masonry skills taught to him by his father, Harold.  The road is newly-graded with a fresh limestone surface.”


This is what our entrance gate looks like at the beginning of 2003


This is what was built for us

This photo shows what the gate looked like with the pillars and after it achieved its patina.


  • Fern Gully

This year we created a new garden called the Fern Gully. There was a garden in the Master Plan, Phase 1-B, called the Fern Grotto. The description for it is as follows:

“The fern grottos along the Mississippi palisades in northeastern Iowa provide the inspiration for this garden. During the Victorian Era fern grottos were popular as a cooling retreat from the summer heat. At this location on the hillside, seep springs occur, and these can be enhanced by bringing drain tiles from the upper gardens to daylight at this location. An irrigation and misting fog creating device can also be employed to enhance the environment for an extensive fern display of as many types as are hardy for this site. Ferns come in such great variety and popular interest can be generated.”

The red dot on the image below shows the location of this garden from the Master Plan.


I am not sure if we were using this as a model, but, according to our site files, a new garden was created this year that we called the fern gully.

Here is a quote from that file:

“Fern Gully” was constructed with ferns, pieces of wood and small dogwood trees. Initial funding for the project came from a memorial gift in honor of Maurine Crisp’s mother.  Arches with shade cloth were installed to shade the garden.”

This space would change and evolve over the next several years. At one time it was common during and after heavy rains for this gully to have flowing water in it.


  • Rose Garden

It’s still early days for the Rose Garden. Notice, there is no fence to the left of the photo and none to that side or in the back


  • Community Gardens

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  • Individual Gardens (Display)

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You can see a raised bed from the Enabling Gardens in this one as well as some of the Individual Gardens


  • Enabling Gardens


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  • Trial Garden

This is for the Food Bank, we have done this before


  • Espalier

Is this a garden or trees? If you have been with us, you may remember this was created in 2000. The picture captions call it the Apple Wall and it is coming along.



Here is the list for this year from the computer disk.

Tree Species Number Planted
Red Maple 5
Snake Bark Maple 1
Northern Catalpa 14
Pagoda Dogwood 3
Sunburst Locust 1
Northern Red Oak 3
Bur Oak 1
Scarlet Oak 1
English Oak 1
Ginkgo 1
Green-spire Linden 1



The engine that makes us go!

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Back into the time machine and away we go to next year.