Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens

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Coordinates: 42°25′50″N 92°19′30″W / 42.430663°N 92.325025°W / 42.430663; -92.325025

Community Gardens

The Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens (the Arboretum) is situated on 74 acres directly east of Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo, Iowa. The Arboretum is open April through October, dawn to dusk, and admission is free to the public.

The Arboretum is an official site of the Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area.


The Arboretum was started in the mid nineties by a group of community members wanting a green space in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls metropolitan area. The firm of Buettner and Associates, Inc. from Fox Point, Wisconsin, teamed with local architect Craig Ritland, from Craig Ritland Landscape Architects to complete the Arboretum’s master plan. The first trees were planted in the spring of 1996 and was named “Sesquicentennial Forest” in honor of Iowa’s 150th anniversary.[citation needed]

The Arboretum is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, independent organization and depends heavily on its volunteer base and community support.

Gardens and Grounds[edit]

About half of the original 74 acres is still in corn and soybeans planted by the neighboring college's agriculture department. With an emphasis on the natural world, the buildings, gardens, and artwork have a strong organic theme, tied to Iowa's agriculture roots.[citation needed]

The main areas of the Arboretum include:

  • Labyrinth
  • Rose Garden - Filled with shrub roses hardy to Northeast Iowa.
  • Community Gardens - Each 10 by 10-foot display bed is adopted by individuals, community organizations and civic groups who plant and nurture their plots throughout the season.
  • Enabling Gardens - Situated between the Community and Display Gardens, the flower beds are raised.
  • Children's Gardens - with a Railway Garden, Dinosaur Dig, Garden Prairie, and the Peek-a-Boo Forest filled with dwarf conifers.
  • Shade Garden - Nestled under a grove of Locust trees, the Shade Garden provides shade on a warm day and showcases the array of sizes and color variations of the Hosta family.
  • Walking Paths and Prairie - sun-drenched prairie that encompasses a great diversity of native forbs and grasses. The one-mile walking path through the grounds of the Arboretum.
  • Head House & R.J. McElroy Education Center - Located on the north end of the parking lot, the Head House serves as volunteer central and as the summer staff offices. Adjacent to the Children’s Garden, the R.J. McElroy Education Center hosts all children’s programming as well as Arboretum summer events.

Photo Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]