There will be numerous special events across the state as Iowa celebrates its sesquicentennial in 1996. While taking in some of these celebrations, you may also want to visit some of the gardens and arboreta in Iowa. These gardens and arboreta celebrate the beauty and diversity of plant materials suitable for the state.
Reiman Gardens in Ames is located on a 14-acre site on the campus of Iowa State University. The first 4-acre phase was dedicated on September 16, 1996. The Reiman Gardens include the John P. Mahlstede Horticulture Learning Center and several gardens. The rose garden contains many modern garden roses (hybrid teas, floribundas, and grandifloras), antique roses, and an assortment of the Griffith Buck roses. Other features include a dwarf conifer collection, herb garden, and numerous annual and perennial beds. Reiman Gardens are located on Elwood Drive about 1/2 mile north of US Highway 30. It is open from dawn to dusk throughout the year.
The Bickelhaupt Arboretum in Clinton was started in 1970 by Frances and Robert Bickelhaupt on the grounds surrounding their home. The 13-acre arboretum includes an Education Center and numerous trees, shrubs, and herbaceous ornamentals. The Bickelhaupt Arboretum is located at 340 South 14th Street in Clinton.
The Des Moines Botanical Center is located on the east bank of the Des Moines River at 909 East River Drive. Nearly 1,000 different species and cultivars of tropical, subtropical, and arid region plants grow beneath the 80-foot-tall and 150-foot-wide Plexiglas dome. The building also houses classrooms, gift shop, cafe, and library. Outdoor beds on the 14.4 acre site feature annuals and herbs.
Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens are located in Marshall Park at 3125 West 32nd Street at Arboretum Drive. The gardens include over 800 roses (consisting of hybrid teas, miniature, shrub, and old garden roses) and over 600 species or varieties of hostas. Additional perennial collections include irises, peonies, lilies, and daylilies. Other features are prairie wildflowers and grasses. A Visitor Center (formerly the Marshall Farm's barn) and Home Gardening Learning Center are located on the grounds.
The Iowa Arboretum is located on 378 acres in rural Boone County near the small town of Luther. The arboretum contains over 300 acres of forest, prairie, and meadow. The "cultivated" 40 acres contain hundreds of species of trees and shrubs, plus herbs, roses, ornamental grasses, Siberian irises, daylilies, and hostas. Facilities include the Cafferty Building (information and educational facility) and Jones Memorial Gazebo. The grounds are open daily throughout the year, sunrise to sunset. The Iowa Arboretum is located southwest of Luther. Take Iowa Highway 17 to Luther, then go 2 1/2 miles west on Boone County Road E-57. Turn south onto a gravel road and follow the signs to the arboretum.
The natural beauty of Iowa can be seen in its prairies, wetlands, and woodlands of the state. Nature's beauty is also on display at the gardens and arboreta of Iowa.
This article originally appeared in the June 21, 1996 issue, p. 107.