This article was published originally on 6/27/2012
The Amana Colonies, Okoboji, and Living History Farms are popular weekend destinations for Iowans during the summer. When planning your next weekend getaway, include the gardens and arboreta in Iowa. They offer a beautiful and educational experience for Iowans of all ages.
Reiman Gardens in Ames is located on a 14-acre site on the campus of Iowa State University. Reiman Gardens includes an indoor conservatory, 2,500-square-foot butterfly wing, gift shop, and numerous outdoor gardens. Notable outdoor features include the rose, children’s, herb, and home production (fruits and vegetables) gardens. Reiman Gardens is located on University Boulevard about one-half mile north of US Highway 30. Summer hours (Memorial Day to Labor Day) are 9:00 am to 6:00 pm daily. The Christina Reiman Butterfly Wing is open daily from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm.
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, groundcovers, perennials, and annuals. An outstanding feature of the arboretum is the Heartland Collection of Garden Conifers. The Bickelhaupt Arboretum is located at 340 South 14th Street in Clinton. The grounds are open from dawn to dusk 365 days a year.
The Des Moines Botanical Center is located on the east bank of the Des Moines River at 909 Robert D. Ray Drive. The botanical center consists of an 80-foot-tall and 150-foot-wide Plexiglass dome and surrounding gardens. The dome is home to nearly 1,000 different species and cultivars of tropical, subtropical, and arid region plants. Two noteworthy plant collections are the orchid and bonsai collections. The building also houses meeting rooms, a gift shop, and cafe. Outdoor garden areas feature annuals, perennials, and herbs. The center is open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
The Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens is located in Marshall Park at 3800 Arboretum Drive. The gardens include a large collection of roses (consisting of hybrid tea, miniature, shrub, and old garden roses) and over 700 species or varieties of hostas. The hosta collection is one of the largest in a public garden in the United States. Other features include a Japanese garden, English garden, conifer collection, plus various perennial collections. The Dubuque Arboretum and Botanical Gardens is maintained/operated by over 300 volunteers. Open daily 7:00 am to dusk from May through October, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm November to May.
The Iowa Arboretum is located on 378 acres in rural Boone County near Madrid. The arboretum contains over 348 acres of forest, prairie, and meadow. The “cultivated” 30 acres contain hundreds of species of trees and shrubs, plus herbs, roses, ornamental grasses, Siberian irises, daylilies, and hostas in 19 different plant collections. Facilities include the Hughes Education Center (information and educational facility), the Cafferty multi-purpose building, a gazebo and pavilion. 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 2½ miles west on Boone County Road E-57. Turn south onto Peach Street and follow the signs to the arboretum.
Other attractive gardens in Iowa include Vander Veer Botanical Park in Davenport, Noelridge Park in Cedar Rapids, Central Gardens of North Iowa in Clear Lake, the Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens in Waterloo, Brenton Arboretum in Dallas Center, and Brucemore Gardens in Cedar Rapids.
In our fast-paced, modern world, individuals occasionally need to relax and “smell the roses.” The gardens and arboreta of Iowa are perfect places to enjoy the beauty of nature.