A History Rewritten- 2011


Welcome to the more recent past; let’s take a look from our favorite perspective.


The drop off circle drive has been established around the tower; the compost and brush piles are behind the Red Cedar Trees on the north end of the property. Where the corn maze was, is now Run the Rabbit. We have been fortunate to have volunteer extraordinaire, John Miller, create some very popular attractions for us in recent years with his agricultural wizardry. The rabbit maze is made from soybeans. The grass field East of tower hill has had a small circle cut into the tall grass as seen on the left.


No documents or photos, but things are happening this year.


  • Fall Harvest Festival

I have one photo of events this year. It is related to the fall festival and reminds me that in those years, we let the grass grow in the East field, but needed to use it during the festival. The solution was to mow it right before (someone donated their time and equipment for this task in exchange for the hay bales.)



  • Maintenance Building

During our time journey, we landed in 1997 and talked about a Master Plan Element called the service building which is the red dot. We built the Head House in a different location and used it for a service building.  This year we are going to build a new service building, we will call the Barn. It is going in the spot called for in the Master Plan



Funding for the Barn comes from three grants; Leighty Fund with the Community Foundation for $1,000, the Waterloo Hotel/Motel Tax Fund for $10,000, the Black Hawk Gaming Commission for $42,000 and private donations totaling $10,000.

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  • Rock Garden

From meeting notes of the planning and operations committee we learn:

This space had been called the Alpine Garden but the group of volunteers that care for it decided a more appropriate designation would be, the Rock Garden. They will be incorporating various types of ground cover and succulents as well as making a stepping stone path.


This space includes the “gully” and a space adjacent to the entrance to the Education Center.


  • Tree Collection

A sub-committee was established to re-inventory the trees and update the entire collection database. The existing record for the tree collection was a computer disk that had an inventory for 1996-2003. This record used d-base software, which is somewhat difficult to use. The new record is an Excell spreadsheet and is current through the present day.

  • Benches

One on-going project for several years is the creation and repair of our Leopold benches thanks to John Miller.



There is a major focus on the existing gardens and it pays off big time.

Rose Garden

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The new containers in the Rose Garden pergola are planted with new annuals each year.


  • Rock Garden

Even the fence in this garden has plantings


Many of the new plantings in the Rock Garden are succulents


There are various forms of ground cover and even some prickly pear cactus!


  • Community Gardens


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This would be the last year for the Community Gardens. A decision was made by the planning and operations group to take them out this fall. The idea is to add a tent pavilion in close proximity to the Rose Garden to enhance Wedding Rental income.


  • Arrival Garden

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  • Shade Garden

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  • Display Gardens

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  • Annual Garden

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There are a few areas that are sort of mini-gardens like in front of the pond and the plantings in the Children’s Garden like the pumpkin patch

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Sorry to have to leave these two very important aspects blank this year due to lack of records or photos

Our time here is over and our journey is taking us ever nearer to the present day. Let’s say a fond farewell to 2011 and marvel again at this tranquil oasis carved out of cow pasture.


My how you have grown Sesquicentennial Forest


We have moved into a new Barn and the Head House is looking pretty empty.


See you next year!


We have flashed into another year, starting to catch up to the present. As we descend take a peek at what our Cedar Valley treasure looks like now.


As we approach our favorite green space, we are struck by the difference from the first time we landed here. The landscape is buffered by the graceful sweep of trees. We see color peeking out at us. The old stockyard fence has been replaced by stately brick columns. There is just enough of a rise to give a small air of mystery as we proceed. Let’s go in and see what is happening this year.


Notes for the year

As the new growing season starts a number of small projects are planned. We will plant a variety of perennials in the Rose Garden to add year-round interest; the enabling beds will be planted with annuals and grasses; a variety of fruits and vegetables will be planted in the Children’s Garden; tracks will be added to the Railroad Garden with additional dwarf conifers and six new directional signs are to be installed. Hired Tyler Franklin as a summer intern. Sub-committee formed to produce a Site Development Report, the following is the report summary.




The report is a result of review of the original master plan and the most recent site plan, brainstorming, online and other research, visits to other public gardens, review of the Arboretum’s mission and values, and systematic rankings by the committee of generated ideas.  The committee consisted of members with a variety of backgrounds and experience at the Cedar Valley Arboretum and Botanical Gardens (CVABG). While developing this report, the committee took into account the fact that development & maintaining of current hardscapes and soft-scape requires volunteer/staff time, as well as funding. Therefore, the emphasis of this committee and its resulting report is to present recommendations that will enhance, not eliminate, existing features of the Arboretum, while taking into consideration that funding and time are requirements for current and future hardscapes and soft-scape.

This report will set forth recommendations for future development and planning of the Cedar Valley Arboretum and Botanical Gardens for the next three to five years. The report is divided into two types of development; hardscapes and soft-scape.

The next step is to present this plan to arboretum stakeholders and obtain their feedback concerning the plan.  Stakeholders would include volunteers, staff, individual donors, foundations, HCC staff and board, educators, and other community leaders.

Then the committee will incorporate the feedback into a final plan, which will be presented to the board of directors.  The board of directors will approve, disapprove, or approve with changes, the plan.  The plan will become a major part of the strategic planning session which will be held January 29, 2011.  At that time concrete plans will be made to initiate the implementation of the site development plan, under the umbrella of the arboretum’s strategic plan.


Hardscape consists of buildings or other structures

  1. Visitor Comfort/Accessibility (pave existing paths, benches, shade structures, path network development)
  2. Direction/Educational Signage (visitor directions, plant identification)
  3. Visitor/Event Center (long term permanent structure)
  4. Office Space/Information Center (present head house location)

Soft-scape consists of plantings & organization of planting areas

  1. Tree Collections (existing inventory, future expansion)
  2. Collection Gardens (specific plan for additions of like varieties)
  3. Small Event Garden (site development for specific requests such as small weddings)
  4. Wild/Natural Areas (development of areas with emphasis on making it child friendly)
  5. Shade Garden (enhancement of existing garden)



  • Wine and Scare Crows

This was an annual fund raiser held right before the fall festival, we had wine and hors d’œuvre and usually a silent auction. It looks like this year we had a demonstration from Deb Ewolt an area artisan.

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  • Fall Harvest Festival

It rained this year!

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This is a copy of an end of the year report, it highlights the projects for the year.


  • Entrance Gate

In the past, this gate was kept closed when the site was not open. It was deemed problematical whether this was necessary. It was decided to remove the gates from the pillars but without losing the decorative value of either the gates or the pillars. This would also help to accentuate the newly revised entrance garden.

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  • Rose Garden Pergola

The following is an image of a newsletter that explains this project


The family provided $15,000 to fund this project. The groundbreaking ceremony was held in May.


Once again, we are amazed at our volunteers, as a group of them have decided that they will do the construction for the pergola and the planters. This will start with the removal of the older style structure, it is deteriorating and the new pergola will be built in this same spot.

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  • Rose Garden


Examples of new plantings in the Rose Garden

  • Enabling Gardens

What with the re-configuration of this space and re-purposing of the raised beds, it now functions as our Annual Gardens. This is especially relevant since the old spaces where annuals were planted have changed. The iris bed is gone, the tulip bed is gone, the wattle garden has become Tim’s garden, and the space to the East is now the Display Gardens


New Annual Gardens


  • Pond Garden


  • Arrival Gardens



  • Display Gardens


  • Rose Garden


  • Community Gardens


There were photos this year of the individual community gardens labeled with last names

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Nothing about trees except the brief mention in the planning notes about some new conifers.



As always, we could not do without them.

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One last hurrah for the Community Gardeners

Yolanda Little                                     Stacey Palmer

Howard and Roberta Craven              Dorothy Wright

Kay Rewerts                                       Paul Kammerdiner and Melinda Young

Jack and Diane Golden                       Mona Storm

Cassie Luz                                           John, Kelly and Renee Fisher

Dick King                                           Mary Fratzke

Tim Spengler                                       Janet Ludolph

Brandi Lynch


Time to leave one more year behind.