Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens
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The Cedar Valley Arboretum and Botanic Gardens was founded in 1966 and is located directly East of Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo, Iowa.
The Arboretum was started 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.
The Arboretum is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, independent organization and depends heavily on its volunteer base and community support.
Gardens and Grounds
The Arboretum sits on 35 acres that was previously used as farmland. With an emphasis on the natural world, the buildings, gardens, and artwork have a strong organic theme, tied to Iowa's agriculture roots.
The main areas of the Arboretum include:
- Welcome Center and Garden Entrance - At the North end of the parking lot sits the Welcome Center where visitors enter the garden. This building also houses staff offices and a small gift shop.
- Hillside Welcome Garden - This garden acts as a gateway into the Arboretum. Completed in 2014, the Hillside Welcome Garden has large patio space for eating, relaxing, spending time with family and friends, a 4-level water feature, and a cottage style garden beneath a pergola. A hand-crafted cedar arbor then leads guests into the Arboretum.
- Arrival Gardens - Varied in texture and form, shrubs in the garden include several varieties of viburnum, juniper, serviceberry and ninebark.
- Rose Garden - Filled with shrub roses hardy to Northeast Iowa.
- Mosaiculture Garden - A mosaiculture is a sculpture created from various plants. The Cedar Valley Arboretum & Botanic Gardens created what is believed the first ever mosaiculture in Iowa in 2014 in the form of a peacock.
- Display Gardens - Filled with a variety of annuals, perennials and spring-flowering bulbs.
- Enabling Gardens - Situated between the Rose and Display Gardens, the flower beds are raised so that people with disabilities are still able to garden.
- 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.
- R.J. McElroy Education Center - Adjacent to the Children’s Garden, the R.J. McElroy Education Center hosts all children’s programming as well as Arboretum summer events.
- Butterfly Conservation Meadow - This garden was planted in Fall 2014 and will take a few years to grow.
- Master Gardeners Orchard - This garden is currently in the planning stages, but will feature an orchard separated in quadrants that will be maintained by the Iowa State University Extension Master Gardeners.