A History Rewritten-2013


The things we are starting to see when we exit our trusty time machine are becoming very familiar to most of us, but let’s stick to the original purpose of the story and let’s see what the records showed us for this year. We know from our most recent journey that we would see some new faces at the CVABG.


Robert G. Pruitt became the Executive Director at the Arboretum in September of 2012. La Rae Randall became the office assistant in April of 2013.


We had our annual retreat in January. Also, a great deal of planning is done in the “off season” by one of our standing committees, the Planning and Operations Committee (P&O).


  • Gnome Hunt

Director; Rob Pruitt came up with an idea for a scavenger hunt for kids with gnomes as the objects of the hunt. A campaign was mounted asking people to adopt a gnome by paying a fee with the privilege of naming their gnome. A group of volunteers from New Aldaya then painted the gnomes and they were placed throughout the Arboretum grounds. A map was created to help locate each gnome and prizes for successful completion were purchased. Thus, the Great Sherlock Gnome Hunt was born. Over the course of the summer over 500 children participated.


There were bound to be some in the Children’s Garden

  • Story Time

We haven’t always talked about story time, but it has been an on-going event since we first saw kids gathered in a sun flower house in the 90’s. This summertime event has remained one of our most popular, but we seldom have any photos to look at. Here is one that I found when researching information in connection with something that happened this year, we lost one of story time’s star attractions when Jake died. Jake; an albino corn snake had been a feature since 2008. Often during story time, the kids would get to watch Jake get fed.


  • Fall Harvest Festival

Other than story time, our oldest event is the festival. This is undoubtedly our most well- known event and one that everyone enjoys.



  • Welcome Center

This project officially got under way last year and finished up early on this year.

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We were also able to re-model the staff offices and the restroom facility.


The Black Hawk Country Pond Club donated $1,000 worth of equipment and hours of labor to improve our two ponds. They repaired some worn areas and installed new filtration. The water is now very clear making the fish more visible much to the delight of the children.

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Forget-me-not pond

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Children’s Garden Pond

  • Playhouse

Most times relatively small projects only need a few essential elements: an idea, people to do the work, funding, and proper approval. In this case they all came together fairly quickly. Howard Craven came up with the idea, Gary Blonigan supplied the labor required, Paul Kammerdiner provided the funding, and the P&O and the board approved the project. This was a great addition to the Children’s Garden.

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  • Children’s Garden

Mini-projects: the area on the north end that had been a small prairie was completely re-configured. The prairie plants were moved to the back of the space along the fence. This uncovered three mounded shapes which were where several new fruit trees were placed with an understory of over 1,000 strawberry plants. The prairie now flanks the north and east sides of the garden. Atop the fence are new gaily painted bird houses built by Randy Robinson and Howard Craven.

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We received a $500 grant from Khols this year and we gave it to the local model railroad club who generously donates their time and talents to run and maintain the train garden which is always a favorite. They used the money to lay some new tracks and to build a great miniature village.


Once again, this year Nancy Friedman spent many hours working in the Children’s Garden and was responsible for lots of educational and interesting signage as well as re-planting the sensory garden and adding some lovely plantings to the peek-a-boo forest.



Another new addition to the Children’s Garden this year was the music station created by Howard Craven


During the summer this space was filled with sound and laughter



  • Arrival Gardens

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  • For-get-me-not Pond Gardens

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  • Ornamental Grass Garden

What has been the White Garden didn’t fare too well in this spot so a better landscape choice was substituted and seems to be well suited for this type of terrain.

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  • Rock Garden

This space is maturing nicely

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  • Annual Gardens

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The theme for this year was Sunflowers so in keeping with that and following along with the focus on children; Maurine Crisp; Billie Hemmer; and Sara Jansen created the sunflower house in the annual bed located just outside the education center.

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  • Display Gardens

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  • East Prairie

The new prairie is recovering somewhat with the end of last year’s drought although many of the prairie flowers (Forbes) don’t seem to being too well. We have decided to mow it a couple of times a year until we can do more research on how we might be able to revive it.



14 new trees were planted in 2013 with funds from a Green Scene Grant

Three of the Arborvitae that are a backdrop to the Rose Garden died due to the drought of 2012 and we replaced them this year.


3 new trees were added to the Conifer Garden. We already saw the new fruit trees added to the Children’s Garden, they were 1-Cherry, 2-Plums, 2-Peaches, and 2-Apples. Also in the Children’s Garden a great new tree was placed in the circle to the south of the sensory garden; an Ivory Silk Japanese Lilac



We have been spectators to another growing season here in our favorite garden spot. Everywhere we looked and everything we saw unfold, came about because of CVABG’s magnificent troop of Volunteers. We have named some as we went along, many more we don’t have information about, but they are there.  No photos this year, but thank you one and all! These stories are always about you.

As this season comes to an end, there is one more task and the volunteers come forth once more and get it accomplished.

The Arboretum has a wonderful collection of day lilies; the Stout award winning variety for each year since its inception in 1950 (with a couple of missing years which will be added next year).

This collection had been located on the south edge of the shade garden but we felt it needed a much more visible spot; so, this fall, we moved the entire collection to the side of the paved path that leads to the shade garden.


Above is the new home for the lily collection.

As our time machine takes off, just think about seeing these lilies in bloom along the walkway at our next stop.

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