A History Rewritten-2009


Our jumps back in time are becoming shorter and as we pop out onto Orange Road again, the surroundings look very familiar.


From the Director’s Notes

Board to develop policies for acquisition of public art, facility rentals, gift acceptance, and on-site professional photography. Developed volunteer program. Purchase of a John Deere Gator (utility vehicle) with a grant from the Young Foundation and private donations.


  • Volunteer Orientation

There were five orientation sessions for both new and seasoned volunteers, 30 people attended.

  • Memorial Day Event

Education co-chair, Mary Fratzke, and Orange Elementary School provided a program for this event.

  • Mid-Summer Celebration

Board member Cindy Wells organized this event.

I don’t have any more information or photos of these events

  • Wine and Scare Crows

For a while, now, this has been an event that is held right before the Fall Harvest Festival

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  • Fall Harvest Festival

Another great line up of activities: fun for kids, food, entertainment, vendors, pioneer village, and lots and lots of scarecrows.

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  • Parking Lot

It has only been a few years since we planted the beautiful Catalpa trees in the center of the parking lot but like all living things, trees can get diseases. In this case an untreatable fungus killed all of them and they were removed.


This project was to repair the landscape and this was accomplished with the addition of a row of Honey Locust trees in this spot.


  • Shade Garden Path

We were able to establish a hard surface path that connected the tower hill activity lawns with this great garden space. Funds provided by the Northeast Iowa Community Foundation.


  • Enabling Garden

The following is a quote from the site files

“Modernizing the Enabling Garden was a major emphasis of the 2009 season.  The greenhouse was no longer useful to the Arboretum and was removed with the cement walls lowered, covered and remodeled into a large raised bed to match other raised beds in the space.  Volunteers from the Cedar Falls Kiwanis civic group remodeled the base of the greenhouse with no cost to the Arboretum.  The metal frames were also removed from each of the shade structures and replaced with flat shade cloth strung with heavy rope.  Along with the metal structures, the white lattice was removed.  The “Maintenance Men” completed the final touches on the renovation to modernize the space.  The clean lines and more open space allowed the gardens to shine, rather than the structures.”



Several smaller gardens were removed and returned to sod this year. They were some directly West of the Herb Garden, around the tower, and nursery beds East of the Children’s Garden

The gardens are maturing and looking extraordinary!


  • Arrival Garden


  • Community Gardens

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  • Herb Garden


  • Enabling Garden


  • Espalier

This will be the last time we see the apple wall



Found a note that said we got 3 Maple, 6 Serviceberry, and 3 Dogwood trees with a Green Scene grant.



We sometimes forget how much work it takes to put on an event, especially the Fall Festival. The scarecrow group works for months. Here is this year’s committee


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Community Garden volunteers


Howard and Roberta Craven       Linda Fisher

John, Kelly and Renee Fisher      Mary Fratzke

Nancy Friedman                               Jack and Diane Golden

Sandy Hunter                                    Paul Kammerdiner and Melinda Young

Yolanda Little                                     Janet Ludolph

Cassie Luze                                         Pat McGivern

Beth Primrose                                   Tim Spengler

Mona Storm                                       Stephanie and Curtis Witte

Dorothy Wright


We are going to leave as Winter is coming to the Rose Garden, this first decade of the 21st century is almost gone. What next?


A History Rewritten-2008

by Paul Kammerdiner

We have arrived and are, as always, looking for documents and photos, and as sometimes happens, there is a gap in the documentation.

As to be expected, nothing on record, but I did find a few notes.
This year we Hired Mollie (Luze) Aronowitz as full-time Director of Horticulture.

Mollie Luze, Director of Horticulture

Mollie Luze

From Director’s Notes:
General cleanup included edging around all gardens and trees; removal of the remaining “livestock” fence; repainting the interior of the Education Center and the installation of an air conditioner. In addition, we purchased lab tables, GPS devices, telescopes, digital cameras, computer and projector for the educational programs. Hired two full-time summer gardeners

No joy!

• Fence Completion
Construction was completed of the cedar fence East of the Rose Garden toward the South. It was, then dedicated to the Community Foundation, the funding source for this project

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The second photo shows the South section of the fence and the other stone column on the end

• Children’s Garden

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• Community Gardens

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• Display Gardens

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• Enabling Garden

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• Fern Gully


• Head House

• Herb Garden

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• Labyrinth

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• Pond Garden


• Rose Garden

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• Shade Garden

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• Tim’s Garden

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No records for this year


Dave Berns

Don Rassmussen


Guy Gardiner and Howard Craven


Renee Fischer: our volunteers are not usually this young but she looks like she might be pulling a weed or two.

Community Gardeners for 2008
Becky and Brooke Berg
Howard and Roberta Craven
Kelly, Renee and John Fischer
Linda and Phil Fisher
Mary Fratzke
Nancy Friedman
Diane and Jack Golden
Sandy Hunter
Janet Ludolph
Ridgeway Place Assisted Living Facility
Tim Spengler
Carol and Dave Tjaden
Stephanie and Curtis Witte
Dorothy Wright

We left the time machine running for this stop, so let’s take off for ’09.

A History Rewritten-2007


What a difference a few years can make! We started this journey on a windswept, swampy, pasture. We have looked in on landscapes and people that may not be familiar to all of us.

Along the way we have become accustomed to the rhythms of the growing season and the unique patterns of CVABG activities, we have a way to go yet, but let’s look at where we are.


This probably looks much more like what we are used to. The outline is pretty much as it is, present day.

The entrance from Orange Road, the service road West to the parking lot. From here, a subtle difference, the service road continues North a bit past the Head House (all of that space present day is the Hill Side Garden) and then goes East to around behind the Children’s Garden and dead ends back there. We can clearly see the new trail up toward tower hill, along which the Arrival Garden has been planted. We can see the Rose Garden in the center and on the North the Children’s Garden fronted by the Education Center. Of course, as time passes the trees are becoming more mature.


Here is an image of some of the items on the planning agenda.


Remember the committee that was formed in 2005, some things have been changed, some accomplished, some dropped,  and some will be implemented this year.

From the Director’s Notes

Hired two full-time summer gardeners



Once again, no information about events.



I was a bit uncertain what to include here as several of the projects are the creation of gardens. I could have put them in the garden section but since their creation is really a project, let’s put them here.

  • Labryinth

This garden was not from the Master Plan but was suggested by a couple of volunteers, Stan McCadams and Manley Orum. They designed the space and planted it. They also maintained it for many years before they “retired” from CVABG in 2014.

Manley Orum & Stan McCadums

They had submitted their proposal for this new space late last year.


Following is the garden description from our site files

“A labyrinth is a walking path designed so that you are circling a central point.  The path eventually leads to the center.  There are no dead ends or false passageways like a maze has.  If we stay on the course, despite the many turns, we will arrive at our goal: the center.  For some, this journey to the center may symbolize darkness to light, ignorance to knowledge and conflict to forgiveness.  For others, it is simply an opportunity for a quiet meditative walk.

The labyrinth is Kentucky bluegrass with two clumps of Calamgrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ at both the entrance and center.” This is what it looked like.


Eventually, the circles that were made from grass were allowed to grow to a certain height as walls with the walking paths inside kept mowed.

  • Display Gardens

One of the Master Plan gardens is called the Demonstration Garden and was described as follows: and since this is in the Display Garden portion of our site files, I think it was used as a model. The major difference was that our volunteers planted and maintained the space.

“Various local and regional landscape architectural and contracting firms, together with local garden designers will be invited to design and build eleven gardens demonstrating a wide variety of garden styles, ornamentation, and techniques.  Visitors will become acquainted with the important principles of garden composition including correct proportion, color balance, focal points and slight lines which they use in creating their own private gardens no matter what size.”

Here is the site file description of the Display Gardens:

“Designed to demonstrate a wide variety of garden styles, ornamentation and techniques. Visitors will become acquainted with the important principles of garden composition including correct proportion, color balance, focal points and sight lines which they can use in creating their own private gardens no matter what size.”

Craig Ritland designed the gardens and Dolan Construction installed the limestone walking paths.  Vogel Irrigation installed the irrigation.

As mentioned in these histories, these gardens started with a few raised beds and then became individual projects for various volunteers. This year they become officially named the Display Gardens.

Following is a quote from our site files:

” The Display Gardens were designed to demonstrate a wide variety of garden styles, ornamentation and techniques. Visitors will become acquainted with the important principles of garden composition including correct proportion, color balance, focal points, and sight lines which they can use in creating their own private gardens no matter what size.”

“Before this time, this area East of the Enabling Garden was made up of small gardens maintained and designed by a variety of volunteers.”


  • Children’s Garden Entrance (East side)

Another item for this year, see the document below:


These are one of the ornamental boulders (no photo of the other one) and the pillars for the entrance and the archway.

  • Drop Off Circle

This is another item from the renovation project started in 2005. This was to allow access to tower hill directly from the entrance road. The photo below is from a different year but I wanted to be able to show this project, the red line highlights the drop-off.


  • Conifer Garden

Another new garden; it was not in the Master Plan but is part of the renovation project committee items. Here is the description from the site files.

“Conifer Garden developed in part with the Display Garden renovation project.  Funds for the original conifers were donated by Green Scene.  Conifers were purchased from Hermsens Nursery.”

This garden is located just outside the East entrance to the Children’s Garden on a small hill. Over the years new trees have been added and some have had to be removed.

Following is the original plant list.


  • Repurpose Shed

As we have traveled through time, we have witnessed the beginning of some structures and as the years go by, things change. We don’t think we need tool sheds on tower hill anymore, so we re-purpose this one into a small shade structure.


  • Activity Lawns and White Garden

From our site files:

“Situated at the entrance to the Children’s Garden – and home to Sparky the dinosaur! – the White Garden showcases a variety of perennials with white flowers and/or foliage.  The Activity Lawns are a popular spot for summer education programs with plenty of space for games and play.”

There were ten different varieties of flowers planted here as well as 3 small Gray Dogwood trees. The Activity Lawns were three oval lawns surrounded by gravel pathways.

Remember from past years the Children’s Garden entrance was through the North gate. That means that the section of fence that headed that way had contained a variety of plantings. Now that North gate opens onto the extended service road so a new main entrance has been established and this White Garden replaced the old fence side plantings.



  • Rose Garden

The following is a quote from the site files for 2007:

“Re-designed and re-planted Rose Garden and phased out the Buck rose collection.  Planted 94 ‘Techny’ Arborvitae around the perimeter of the Rose Garden and installed a temporary irrigation system to be used until the trees were well established.  An oval brick walkway was installed in the center of the garden with the center sodded.  Craig Ritland assisted with the design.”


We have discovered that this space is becoming popular as a wedding venue and that we can generate some revenue with rentals. Remember also that the original Master Plan called for a Wedding Garden and two other Rose Gardens. It seems that, perhaps, the present Rose Garden is moving more toward being the Wedding Garden.


  • Head House Garden

It is always fun to have photos that show how gardens are progressing.


I am speculating that by now the bathroom has been installed in the Head House, no porta-potty by the garage door.

  • Children’s Garden
  • Display Gardens
  • Shade Garden


  • Espalier

Let’s not forget the Apple Wall.



Other than the trees in the new Conifer Garden and the Arborvitae planted around the Rose Garden, I don’t have records for other plantings this year.


I can never over-emphasize the importance of all of you. I only wish there had been more photos taken over the years. Here is what I have for 2007.

Becky Stansbery & Jan Guthrie

We won’t forget our Community Gardens planters

Becky and Brooke Berg                                 Dave and Kay Bern

Howard and Roberta Craven                       Linda and Phil Fisher

Mary Fratzke                                                   Nancy Friedman

Lisa Glass                                                         Diane and Jack Golden

Norma Hoelscher                                           Sandy Hunter

Janet Ludolph                                                 Liz Miller

Nancy Puetz                                                    Tim Spengler

Becky Stanbery                                               Stephanie and Curtis Witte

Dorothy Wright

Thank You to all and on we go!

A History Rewritten – 2006


This looks to be a shortstop


I am pretty sure there was a planning session because I found a list of things to do.

From Director’s Notes:

Hired two full-time summer gardeners, Joe Ambrose and Jess Ferlong

Purchased Toro Riding Lawn Mower



What’s with these people, not taking any pictures of events 🙂 I am sure there must have been some if past years are any indication.


  • Train Garden Enhancements

I found a copy of a newspaper article about this


  • Two Iowa State students: Justin Voss and Joe Goering built the stone wall and expanded the track system. We also bought G-scale electric trains and planted miniature plants around the track


  • New Pond

While not part of the train project there was a small pond installed in the train garden


  • One Mile Walking Trail

We made the news again, with the addition of a walking trail around the Arboretum


Below is a copy of the official hand-out for the route of the new trail.


There were 1/10 of a mile- marker, white posts situated through-out the trail, here is an example of one on the path leading toward Hawkeye. They are all gone now.



  • Forget Me Not Pond

Some changes and enhancements were made to the garden around this pond. The pond was created in 1999.



I found a note that said, 25 Red Cedar Trees were planted this year.

By this time the service road extends from the new and improved parking lot around the Head House and then goes North and turns East behind the Children’s Garden. These trees were planted along the North side of the service road.



Only two photos again this year, I am only using those pictures of volunteer that are marked with the year we are in so I know we are in the right time-line. However, this place never achieves the many great things each year without a small army of dedicated people. Once again, a shout out to those planting a Community Garden


Carol Ackerman                                  Becky and Brooke Berg

Howard and Roberta Craven              Norma Hoelscher

Sandy Hunter                                      Janet Ludolph

Liz Miller                                            Kevin and Susan Shreiber

Tim Spengler                                       Dorothy Wright

Deb Young


The continuous effort to upgrade and enhance all aspects of the facility is ongoing. CVABG truly is a remarkable place and it reflects the outstanding efforts of so many people. Let’s keep on our journey, there is more to see.

A History Rewritten-2005


We have landed smack in the middle of the first decade of the 21st century and things are happening PLANNING

  • Three Year Strategic Plan

I found a 3-ring binder that documented the work of a sub-committee chaired by Nancy Friedman, that was brainstorming major projects. Space would not allow me to reproduce all of the material here, so I will give you a list of what this group was thinking about.

  1. Construct a centrally visible structure to recognize tributes and donors
  2. Construct a drop-off at the top of tower hill
  3. Enhance the Children’s Garden main entrance and sign (on the East side)
  4. Put colorful plantings along paths and meadow flowers in the Southeast corner of Hess and Orange Road
  5. Create a 3- mile walking path around the site
  6. Install movable vehicle barriers as well as vehicle directional signs
  7. Upgrade irrigation system
  8. Re-locate tool sheds
  9. Re-locate or sell the green house
  10. Design walking path to Shade Garden
  11. Design special events center
  12. Design hard surface paths through the grounds
  13. Design construction of a natural pond in the Sesquicentennial Forest

From Director’s Notes:

  • Hired two full-time summer gardeners
  • Installed 12 of the green metal signs throughout the Arboretum


  • Wine and Scare Crows

This is an event that was put on for many years, this is the first evidence that I found that looks like it. I am not sure it started this year.

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  • Fall Harvest Festival

Only had records of these two events, but the king event is very much in evidence

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  • Upgrade to the parking lot

Remember that we saw the evolution of parking as it moved from up around the tower to down the hill in front of the Head House. Now might be a good time to look at parking according to the Master Plan. In that plan, there was to be a temporary parking lot by the temporary visitor’s center. This temporary visitor’s center is about where the Head House is, so the parking lot we are talking about here is about where the temporary parking lot would have been.

Anyway, this project was designed to make this spot more attractive. Following is a quote from the site files.

“Catalpa trees and boxwood shrubs were planted as a ‘green’ parking lot.  Larry Kurtz with AHTS, Waterloo was the Landscape Architect.  Waterloo City Forrester, Todd Derifield, planted the 14 catalpa trees.” (it would seem from the computer disk, that these were planted last year.) Driving into the parking lot, you will notice that it has been renovated and expanded.  The parking area in the center of the parking lot will have 100 hardy boxwood shrubs to serve as bumper guards for cars.”

The following photo shows the ultimate result of this project, it was taken three years after the project was completed.


  • Walkway to the college

This was to create a pathway for easy access from the college to CVABG on foot. A quote from the site files. “Constructed a 220 feet long walkway to Hawkeye Community College from the parking lot and Head House.  Also installed brick walkway in the parking lot.”

This pathway exited onto Campus View Drive, across the street from the college parking lot.


  • Arrival Garden

Quote from the site files:

“As a long-time supporter of the Arboretum, Craig Ritland, Ritland Landscape Architecture, donated his professional services to design the Arrival Gardens.  A variety of shrubs, evergreens and deciduous trees create a sense of mystery as visitors walk along the entrance path to the gardens and Arboretum.  Craig envisions a layered effect to showcase multiple colors, shapes, sizes and textures which will be combined for aesthetic appeal.  Varied in texture and form, the Arrival Gardens stand as a welcome to visitors. The planting showcases trees and shrubs suitable for visitors’ home landscape.”

This description better fits the Shrub Garden from the Master Plan. In the Master Plan there is an Arrival Garden and there is a Shrub Garden. The red dot on the following image says Annual and the green dots is the shrub garden


In the garden descriptions from the Master Plan, the red dot is called the Annual/Arrival Garden and you can see where it was to be located. Quoting from the plan. “The arrival garden should be simple, colorful, and change from year to year.”

The shrub garden in the Master Plan is the green dot and here is the shrub garden description. “The shrub garden will be an extensive collection displaying both native and exotic shrubs.  The native species could be located with the Sesquicentennial Forest and its native trees as its backdrop.  Visitors will be able to see labeled plants grouped by species and new cultivars of the species selected for improved characteristics such as fall color, good fruit display, and disease resistance.  Viburnums, dogwoods, hazelnuts, chokeberries, and elderberries, to name a few, will be planted along the south side of the perennial garden creating a beautiful backdrop for the floor display.  On the north side of the perennial garden will be the exotic shrub display showing the best varieties of the lilacs, cotoneaster, forsythia, hydrangea, and spirea, old and new.”

None the less, our present-day garden was named the Arrival Garden in 2005 and remains that to the present day. This garden was planted by volunteers as a showcase for the types of shrubbery that do well in our area. It is located just to the East of the Head House about where the Nursery has been.

  • Brick Path

This walkway leads from the Head House to a gravel path to the kiosk installed last year and then turns to go through the Arrival Garden and up to tower hill. This has become the point of entry to the gardens from the newly renovated parking lot. I didn’t have any photos taken when the garden and walkway were created in 2005, the one below was taken five years later.



  • Tim’s Garden

If you recall from our earlier journey back in time, the first garden planted was the Wattle Garden, it was on tower hill adjacent to the tower and just East of the entrance. It was used as one of the garden spots to display annuals. Looking at the site files I find this entry for this garden spot in the space in the file for history:

“Circle drive installed in 2005”

I believe this is when the Wattle Garden became a different garden, entrusted to the care of longtime volunteer Tim Spengler. I assume that it was in this time frame because in those same site files is this entry for Tim’s Garden:

“The existing access drive to the radio tower from Orange Road is positioned at the safest location for visibility of approaching traffic on Orange Road.  This driveway will need to be upgraded to provide the two-way access to the garden site for both visitors and to begin garden construction.  In the future, this will remain as a service access road.  A temporary identity for the gardens will need to be developed at this location with planting and signage.”

Notice especially the bold type in that quote. It would seem that the Wattle Garden was one of those gardens that took on a “temporary” identity. That identity has changed again this year and is now known as Tim’s Garden


This is obviously a photo taken in the fall but this gives you an orientation, remember back and you discover that this the same spot as the Wattle Garden. You can even see those original fence posts on the left side by a tree where the Clematis were planted nine years ago.

  • Fern Gully

This garden is taking on a new identity this year as well. From Director’s Notes: Converted Fern Gully to the Alpine and Rock Garden


As noted last year, this garden extends all the way to in front of the Education Center

  • Arrival Garden

I am including the space along the East edge of the parking lot in this garden.

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  • Children’s Garden

It looks like to me that the entrance to this garden is still from the North Gate and so, there has been an effort to beautify the grounds along the fence on the outside of the garden

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  • Community Gardens

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  • Individual Gardens

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  • Head House Garden

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  • Herb Garden


  • Pond Garden


  • Rose Garden

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We are still doing a trial garden




From Director’s Notes: Planted 80 trees for windbreak, shade, and improve general collection though I’m not sure what trees these were.


Our people are always hard at work, there are hundreds of hours being put in by many wonderful folks.

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The Community Gardens have been a feature since the beginning and starting in 2005 we have some records of the people that planted one or more.

  • Carol Ackerman                      Howard and Roberta Craven
  • Jan Eardahl                             Rita Garertson
  • Diane and Jack Golden           Ann Herzog
  • Janet Ludolph                         Liz Rath
  • David Roberts                         Kevin and Susan Shreiber
  • Mary Severts                           Tim Spengler
  • Dorothy Wright

As our time machine ascends, we take a backward glance and on to next year.


You can clearly see the site taking on a more definite outline with delineated path-ways and service road that now runs behind the children’s garden.

A History Rewritten- 2004

As we step out into 2004, let’s take time to gain some perspective on what we are seeing. A great deal has changed in the last several years as the pasture disappears and our beautiful green space emerges.


Here is the new parking lot and the trees we have planted trees in the boulevard.


We have made this the entrance and taken out all the nursery that used to be between the Head House and Tower Hill, notice the new Kiosk and the back of the Rose Garden (no fence yet). So here we go, another exciting year.


From Director’s Notes: Hired Keri Leymaster as full-time summer gardener

Tiled areas for better drainage and upgraded irrigation system


  • Waking Up the Gardens

There are several photos of lots of folks working on the gardens in what looks like early spring, so I am going to say this is one of our annual events where we start the growing season by grooming the plant beds. As you can see some are stirring already.





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Let’s not forget that we seem to always have fun even when we are working



  • Petals and Blooms

This looks like it was a one- time event, found a couple of photos that had petals and blooms written on the back


  • Bug Camp

Apparently, we held a bug camp bug this is the only evidence I have

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  • Something is going on

This looks like an event to me, but no idea what

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  • Another mystery event


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  • Fall Harvest Festival

Of course, the biggest and best. Sometimes we forget all the work it takes to set up for this event.

There is always lots of things for kids to see and do


Petting zoo



Corn maze


The firefighters are always popular

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And Scarecrows

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Looks like everyone had a good time!



  • Shade Garden

Initial plans are being made for the creation of a shade garden. The expectation is that this project will carry over into 2005. Following is the Master Plan description for the shade garden

“The north wall of the walled garden will provide the initial shade for the first phase planting in the shade garden, which can be expanded after some shade-giving trees are planted and assume some size.  Many homeowners are faced with the dilemma of which plants will thrive in a shady environment.  This garden will help answer this question by addressing the conditions of wet shade and dry shade using native and non-native plants.  This native spring ephemerals will, of course, be featured, as well as some of the native wildflowers that tolerate dry conditions.”

In order for this description to make sense for us today, we need to look, again, at the Master Plan garden index. On the image below the red dot is the location for the Shade Garden. As we have mentioned before, many of the gardens from this index were located in other places, mostly farther West, many of them on tower hill. The planned location for the proposed garden in this project was to be in the small grove of Honey Locust trees that were original to the site. They are Northeast of the Herb Garden, which puts them almost directly North of the Sesquicentennial Forrest.





The following notes are from the Shade Garden site file.

“Sharon Jordan and other volunteers started Shade Garden with just small collection around Locust trees.  There used to be a Hosta Club (Rhonda and Mike Deeds) very prominent in the area.”

Sharon Weiss from Country Bloomers donated many Hosta’s. The records show that there 68 different cultivars in the original hosta collection that were planted in this garden.

  • Train Garden

There is a project this year to relocate the little pink mouse house in the Children’s Garden and to put in that space a model railroad. Principal Financial Group donated $328 to buy tracks.


This looks like the first train


  • From Director’s Notes: Clean-out, re-formed and re-shaped Forget-Me-Not Pond

This is all I have on this project, no photos


  • Rose Garden

This space is coming along nicely

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  • Children’s Garden 

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  • Community Gardens

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  • Enabling Gardens

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  • Fern Gully


I am going to extend the Fern Gully to in front of the Education Center where some flowers were planted. (eventually, this garden changed to include this space)


  • Head House Garden


  • Herb Garden

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  • Individual Gardens

We have talked about these before, these are interesting to me. I am guessing that they were almost an extension of the community gardens except, whereas the community gardens were annuals, these gardens contain many perennials. I think they were planted and cared for volunteers who created them and cared for them. This space has been home to many varied gardens from the beginning.

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  • Pond Garden


  • Wattle Garden

Remember this one from the early days? We haven’t seen it lately, but this is it and it has changed dramatically. No one is calling it the wattle garden anymore; the stick fence is gone and it looks like the annual displays are not here anymore. It has taken on a new look, but notice in the second photo, the three fence posts are still there.

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No records, my computer disk only had records up to 2003

From Directors Notes: inventoried tree collection. Transplanted all nursery bed perennials and shrubs to the gardens, planted Green Scene funded trees (there must have been some)


Let’s have a rousing cheer for the folks that make it happen!

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By now the space is looking familiar for those of us that came along later but there are more time-travel adventures to come so let’s be on our way.

5 reasons to visit the Fall Harvest Festival

For many families in the Cedar Valley Area, the Arboretum is a hidden treasure full of fun activities and memories to be made. With magical hiding holes, mysterious gnomes, and a variety of gardens to explore visitors are sure to find something that brings a smile to their face. The Fall Harvest Festival is our annual celebration in honor of the end of the season as our last large event. If you weren’t one of the over 3,000 people who attended the festival last year, we hope that you’ll think about joining us this year on September 22nd & 23rd and see what the hype is all about!

CVA Fall Harvest Billboard posterflex_18


Reason #1: There are so many activities!

Each year our committee meets and discusses what ideas we want to bring to the festival for that year. This year the introduction of a new sponsor level helped us bring in fun entertainment such as the petting zoo on Saturday. The popular Hobbit activities are making a comeback this year with the chance to use the slingshot and participate in the middle earth quest as well as some new additions such as haybale horses. There are crafts, photo opportunities, and educational opportunities.


Reason 2: The festival is free to Arboretum Members!

Free admission to the festival is a perk for each membership level and a great value for families who want to attend both days. Families are able to come and go as they please throughout the day without worrying about re-entry fees which is great if you have a soccer game or other event on the weekend but also don’t want to miss out on the fun.

Scarecrow Comittee.JPG

Reason 3: See the scarecrow committee’s hard work on display!

Our scarecrow committee starts to meet in late spring and build the scarecrows that are available for auction. Many of our scarecrow committee members have been building scarecrows for the auction for 3 or more years! We couldn’t do it without the help of Jerry who generously lets the committee take over his property for a few months.


Reason 4: You get to enjoy nature!

Even though there is the hustle and bustle of the festival going on you can still find quiet places to sit and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine or listen to the birds sing or watch butterflies flutter by. With 40 acres to explore you’re able to enjoy time away from screens and technology and disconnect with the rest of the world. For those who aren’t fans of walking, the trolley ride takes you out to the furthest part of the Arboretum grounds and lets you see areas of the Arboretum you may have never seen before.


Reason 5: You help support the Arboretum!

The Fall Harvest Festival is one of our largest events which helps bring in thousands of new visitors and shares our mission to enhance the quality of life for all individuals through horticulture. When visitors attend the festival, they enrich their lives by helping us nourish and share the beauty of the natural world, the joy of gardening, knowledge of plants, and the diversity of our world. In our increasingly technologically based world, we are a vital part of providing a space where people can disconnect and spend time outside. Every visitor who comes through the gardens, every photo taken and hashtag shared, every scarecrow bid on, and every recommendation to attend the festival (and the gardens) in the future helps us to continue our mission.

While everyone has their own reason for attending the festival, we hope that this list intrigues you enough to come and see our little celebration for yourself. Bring the family, bring the dog (on a leash of course) and bring your love for Iowa and the outdoors. We’ll see you on the 22nd & 23rd!

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.

A History Rewritten- 2002


There is a flash of light as our time machine bursts into 2002. As we hover in the air we get a clear picture of what has happened since we were here last. The grass field to the West (top of picture) is relatively unchanged, the Ethnic Garden is there, no parking lot yet. Moving East (toward the bottom of the picture), we see the Head House. Notice that the service road in that area delineates two square shapes. The one to the left of the picture is where the green scene gardens are while to the right is empty space with a bit of the nursery still remaining. If we keep coming toward the bottom we can see the brand-new Rose Garden (no fence or surrounding trees yet). Crossing the North-South service road we come to the Tower Hill area and it is pretty much the same except on the North end is a new complex which is the just completed Children’s Garden and Education Center.


Looks like for a while we quit taking pictures of the annual retreat and I didn’t come across any paper documents.


  • Memorial Day Event (Freedom Tree)

September 11, 2001, is a date we all remember when our country suffered a terrorist attack. This year the Federated Garden Club planned an event at the Arboretum to commemorate that time and to plant a tree as a memorial. They chose a spot in the newly created Children’s Garden

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  • Grand Opening of the Children’s Garden

We can see from the document below that this event was quite elaborate and contained several components.


Orkin put on a display all about bugs, of course


We had music


The schedule included hot air balloons and small aircraft

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Of course, there were loads of things for kids

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  • Organ Donor Night

From the time it opened, the Children’s Garden has been an excellent venue for events

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  • Children’s Garden

This project has been in the works since 1999, our time travels even showed us a glimpse of the ceremonial groundbreaking back then. At last, after three years of hard work, we are ready to build.

To refresh our memories; the Master Plan says in part: “children visiting the garden should have a place for their own needs, a safe and stimulating environment where whimsical structures for climbing will allow them to expend some of their abundant energy……” “this garden will offer greater freedom of movement and exploration to youngsters and serve as a gathering space for many educational activities.”


The red dot shows us where it was on the Master Plan and we find that the present location is very near this spot. There is a four-page document in the archives called the concept plan, rather than include copies of the entire thing; I am listing the main points from this document, but first a quote from the opening statement of the plan.


“The Children’s Garden is designed for playful and engaging education. It is not conceived as an active playground or a pre-school tot lot. The garden is meant to support the teachers, docents, and educational programs for school children between the ages of 6-12 in grades 1-6. The goal of the garden is to stimulate inquisitive thought and encourage critical analysis. The garden is meant to train the young scientific minds of future scientists.”


Main points and/or features

  • Storybook garden
  • Different animal homes and habitats
  • A compass Rose
  • A sundial
  • A water- channel
  • Shade structures
  • Weather station
  • Fast plant garden
  • Windbreak play area
  • Soils study area
  • Compost study area
  • Prairie butterfly maze
  • Sand area

We should note here that the original concept was changed early on to accommodate an Education Center as evidenced in this document shown below, given the early success of our Earth Connections program and the stated importance of education in the Mater Plan, it is not surprising that the garden shed has given way to an Education Center.


Now let’s take a look at the actual building process

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One item of interest that has to do with the Children’s Garden is the advent of our T-Rex.

According to an article in our newsletter dated March of 2002, an 8 feet tall steel Tyrannosaurus Rex created by welding students from Hawkeye in 1993 was looking for a new home. So, Sparky, as he was named by the students, was donated to the newly created Children’s Garden. He originally resided in some type of cage by the sandbox, according to the article. Today you can find Sparky in the tall grass right outside the Children’s Garden fence.


Sparky (this photo taken after he was moved outside the fence)


Photos from this year seem to have been limited to the newest gardens, the Children’s and Rose Garden.

  • Rose Garden

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  • Children’s Garden

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According to the disk, lots of trees this year, many one-of-kind. A lot of them went into the Peek-a-boo forest in the Children’s Garden

Tree Species Number Planted
Pagoda Dogwood 1
Emerald Green Arborvitae 1
False Cyprus 1
Kentucky Coffee Tree 1
Swamp White Oak 1
Ginkgo 1
Weeping Mulberry 1
White Ash 1
Patmore Ash 1
Hosford Dwarf Eastern White Pine 1
Pendula Eastern White Pine 1
Dwarf Scots Pine 1
Norway Spruce 1
Dwarf Canadian Hemlock 1
Montgomery Colorado Spruce 1
Serbian Spruce 1
Mutant Mountain Hemlock 1
Bristlecone Pine 1
Little John Douglas Fir 1
Japanese White Pine 1
Rocky Mountain Fir 1
Korean Fir 1
Golden Raindrops Crabapple 1
Red Jade Crabapple 1
Quaking Aspen 7
Little Leaf Linden 1
Princeton Gold Maple 1
Hard Maple 1
Crimson Frost Birch 1
Northern Catalpa 1


My favorite topic

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Things are happening at the best green space around; can’t wait to see what lies in store!


By Rita Lynn

Your Cedar Valley Arboretum membership automatically enrolls you in the American Horticultural Society Reciprocal Program.  Ever wonder how far that program reaches?  A friend, on hearing that I would be vacationing in Hot Springs, Arkansas, highly recommended that we visit the Garvan Woodland Gardens there.   That visit was put on our “must-see” list and was our first destination.  The entrance fee at Garvan is $15 per person, and, on seeing my AHS card, the greeter happily honored it and waived the entire fee.  So began a wonderful day!

Garvan Woodland Gardens occupy 210 acres of woodland landscape and 4½ miles of shoreline on Hamilton Lake, in view of the Ouachita Mountains.  The land was initially owned by Verna Cook Garvan, heiress of family fortunes earned in a brick and tile business, and in a lumber company.  Purchased in about 1915 after a timber clear-cut, commercial timber cutting was never again allowed there.  In about 1956, Mrs. Garvan began to develop the land as a garden and for a future residence.  Seeing how other structures around the lake disturbed the beauty of the wilderness, she eventually opted not to build the residence.  She proceeded to dedicate herself to laying out paths, designating which trees were to be removed, and choosing thousands of plants and their locations as she developed her garden.  Nationally acclaimed architects were then enlisted to design the Garvan Pavilion in the center of the original plantings.

On Mrs. Garvan’s death in 1993, the property was bequeathed to the Department of Landscape Architecture through the University of Arkansas Foundation.  The gardens are now an independent department of the University’s Fay Jones School of Architecture.  In addition, Garvan Gardens enjoys the support of the Arkansas Legislature, Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council, Arkansas Economic Development Commission, many private donors, and more than 3,500 members.

The mission of the Gardens is to preserve and enhance that unique part of the Ouachita Mountain environment; to provide a place of learning, research, cultural enrichment, and serenity; to develop and sustain the gardens, the landscaping and structures with exceptional aesthetics, design and construction; and to partner with and serve the surrounding communities.

As we wandered the gardens, places of natural beauty met us at every turn and on every path we followed.  Stately trees formed the backdrop for bushes and cultivated garden beds.  Streams, ponds, waterfalls and picturesque bridges abounded.  Although they looked as if they had been there for millennia, each water feature was intentionally designed and built, including placing boulders to make the hillsides look like a natural mountain terrain.  It looked as if natural springs flowed over these many features, but water is actually pumped throughout the gardens from the adjacent Lake Hamilton.  Displays change with the seasons, with special exhibitions throughout the year.  One of the highlights is a holiday light festival, featuring colorful lights throughout the gardens.  We arrived in time to enjoy the end of the azalea and hydrangea blooms and the beginning of summer plantings.

Garvan Gardens offers a wide variety of educational opportunities ranging from such topics as bonsai lectures to fly fishing demonstrations.  Day camps for children take place during summer months, and docent training occurs throughout the year.  The Gardens offer accessibility to visitors using wheelchairs and families with children in strollers.  Dogs on leashes are welcome, although they too are charged an entry fee.  Spectacular, architecturally significant venues – the Pavilion, an amphitheater, and the Visitors’ Center, as well as an incredible chapel complex – offer places for special events booked throughout the year.  Visitors can enjoy a fairy garden, a model railroad display, a koi pond, a children’s garden, the resident peacock and peahen, and a wildflower slope.  And a variety of foods are available at the Chipmunk Café.  Under construction now is a huge tree house structure designed by architects at the university to provide children of all abilities the opportunity to directly experience the woodland environment.

Garvan Woodland Gardens is amazing showplace, the result of harmony between natural beauty, landscape design, and architectural marvels.  It is an award-winning prime attraction in the Hot Springs area, and I will remember my visit there with awe in the years to come.  To ensure you don’t miss experiences like this, remember to take your AHS card when you travel.  Look for gardens and arboretums en route or at your destination.  A list of benefits can be found at <ahsgardening.org/gardening-programs/rap/find/statebystate>