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.

A History Rewritten- 2012


We have dropped into this year and we’re not in 1996 anymore Toto. Things are changing and will continue to do so. Remember our motto: Ever Growing, Ever Changing



I found the following document in the records. This plan kicked off what would become a subcommittee called the Expansion Committee. Here is an excerpt from it.

Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens Expansion Project

To remain relevant and experience continued growth, the Arboretum must become a year-round facility that includes updated infrastructure easily accessible to the public.   The Arboretum’s proposed expansion is three-fold:

  • Create a Permanent Welcome Center and Staff Offices On-Site
  • Enhance the Usability of the Gardens and Grounds
  • Expand Gardens and Woodland Trails


Maybe some day soon we will start taking photos of our events again. Until then, moving on.


  • Children’s Garden

A sub-committee was formed consisting of Nancy Friedman, Mollie Aronowitz, Melinda Young, and Paul Kammerdiner, to come up with some enhancements within the space, the group with a little help from our friends, completed all of them this growing season

  1. A chalkboard dragon
  2. A toddler trail through the evergreen forest
  3. Re-purposing the two “circle areas” into gardens
  4. Painting the kid’s chairs
  5. Turning one of the silos into a “castle”
  6. Adding new colorful plant material throughout

We also tried to spruce up the area a bit. We weeded the kid’s prairie and planted some annuals in strategic places. We actually brainstormed a few more ideas but only worked on those that we felt we could get accomplished this year.


The chalkboard dragon designed by Nancy Friedman and built by Randy Robinson

Randy also cut out some chairs from a cedar log and built a “balance beam” for the toddler trail.


The toddler trail complete with a gravel path, stepping “stones” and a balance beam was constructed by Nancy and Bob Friedman


One of the circle areas that had been a pumpkin patch in the past was made into the snail trail by Nancy Friedman and Paul Kammerdiner


The old soil lab circle was made into a sensory garden by Paul Kammerdiner and Melinda Young

The Children’s Garden needed some more bright colors so the kids chairs were painted


With enough imagination even a silo can become a castle; Randy Robinson and Pat McGivern installed a framework with windows and banners.

2012-9Here is the castle with the shields on the wall and vines starting to grow.


New plantings in several areas have brightened up the space.

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  • East Prairie

The prairie from the Master Plan was established several years ago, but never really become much a part of CVABG proper. This was probably due to its location across the road from the rest of the site. The Master Plan main entrance has not come to fruition, so there is no connection. Because of that the planning and operations committee has given Paul Kammerdiner permission to look into other possibilities.

This year a group of Terry Roger’s Hawkeye students re-purposed some “weed field” land that is located on the far eastern end of the Arboretum across the creek into a prairie. Unfortunately, the harsh drought during the summer produced less than great results but they re-seeded it in the fall and hopes are high that the area will yet develop into what we are hoping for. This is about a 2-acre space and is on either side of the mown grass path.

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  • Welcome Center (this building is actually the old Head House)

Looking back to the planning section and the Expansion Committee’s agenda, the number 1 time on their plan is started this year. It is called a permanent welcome center. That would seem to suggest that we are moving away from the Master Plan concept of having a temporary Visitor’s Center until the implementation of phase 4.

Below is the initial drawing for the Welcome Center from – Summer 2012 (not to scale)

Arb Welcome Center Layout

Next is the key for the drawing:

  1. Mailboxes for staff, committees, etc.
  2. Workstation #1. Standard 24” deep counter, “L” shaped.
  3. 4’ high wall with 16” counter, bulletin board interior.
  4. Large bulletin board with Arboretum grounds map, etc. Remove window.
  5. New door.
  6. Brochure rack.
  7. Workstation #2. Standard 24” deep counter, “L” shaped.
  8. Bulletin board and shelving.
  9. Standing-height counter with storage below for paper, envelopes, etc.
  10. File cabinets and copier.
  11. New windows. Remove southeast walk-in door.
  12. Patio door.
  13. Workstation #3 for public use, shelving, etc.
  14. Sink
  15. Remove urinal.
  16. Locking cabinet for cleaning supplies, etc.
  17. Open space available for meetings, etc.
  18. Hooks for coats, etc.

Additional Notes:

  • Install fan(s) in main area.
  • Install blinds for all windows (4).


  • Display Gardens


  • Annual Gardens

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  • Sensory Garden



The plant list shows we purchased the following new trees

1 White Clump Fringe Tree
1 Yellow Ribbon Arborvitae
1 Baby Blue Chamaecyparis
1 Dwarf Piccolo Balsam
1 Fire-fall Maple


Rats! No photos, our outstanding people deserve better.

Ever Growing, Ever Changing. Before the year is over, Molly has moved away and we have a new Executive Director. A warm welcome to Rob Pruitt.

All aboard! We are ever closer to now.



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.

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.