Reiman Gardens

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Coordinates: 42°00′35″N 93°38′20″W / 42.00981°N 93.638809°W / 42.00981; -93.638809

Reiman Gardens is a 17- acre university-owned public garden located immediately south of Jack Trice Stadium on the Iowa State University (ISU) campus in Ames, Iowa. Reiman Gardens (pronounced Rye-Men) is a year-round garden with events, programs, lectures, tours and ISU student classes that has consistently been one of the top visited attractions in Central Iowa. It is open seven days per week; 9:00 am to 4:30 pm, with extended hours in the summer season and extended evening hours for its events. The Gardens are closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day.

The Christina Reiman Butterfly Wing

Reiman Gardens consists of a dozen distinct garden areas, an indoor conservatory and an indoor butterfly "wing", butterfly emergence cases, a gift shop, and several supporting greenhouses. ISU students and their classes are admitted free of charge, as are the Gardens' members. An admission fee is charged to the public. Many United Way of Story County agencies directors can receive free passes to distribute to their clients.

The Garden Campanile


Iowa State University has had a horticulture garden since 1914; Reiman Gardens is the third location for these gardens. Today's gardens began in 1993 with a gift from Bobbi and Roy Reiman. Construction began in 1994 and the Gardens' initial 5 acres (20,000 m2) were officially dedicated on September 16, 1995. The landscape design was created by Rodney Robinson Landscape Architects. The Mahlstede Horticulture Learning Center was the original building in the Gardens; the original maintenance building was torn down when the new conservatory was built and a new maintenance building was built in the an area of the S1 parking lot. The Gardens officially opened its 30,000-square-foot (2,800 m2) conservatory complex with an open house on November 2, 2002. The new building made the Gardens a year-round facility with an indoor plant conservatory (5,000 square feet), a glass house filled with tropical plants and exotic butterflies (2,500 square feet), an auditorium for classes and events, gift shop, a cafe an events hallway, greenhouses dedicated to the indoor glass house needs, a headhouse, staff offices, and two large areas housing all the heating and cooling and greenhouse systems equipment. In 2007, a construction project removed the cafe and mved the gift shop to the north of the conservatory building. The old gift shop and cafe space was converted into meeting space and became known as The Garden Room.

Architects Smith Metzger designed the Christina Reiman Butterfly Wing, the Mahlstede Learning Center, Conservatory Complex and Hunziker Garden House.

Annual themes[edit]

Reiman Gardens uses a process called Dimensional Design to create its annual theme. Using a holistic approach, Dimensional Design requires a team effort from all departments. Thus, the Gardens' staff develops educational programs, interpretation, communications, events and amenities that support one theme, which in turn, also supports the Gardens' mission. The theme encourages guests to view the garden and its mission from a different perspective each time they visit. The theme year planning also gives structure to displays and programs and generates innovative ideas that turn into horticulture displays.

Reiman Gardens' Theme Years:

  • 2003 - Year of the Butterfly
  • 2004 - Seasons of Agriculture
  • 2005 - Global Garden (Garden traditions from around the world)
  • 2006 - Art of Gardening (Gardening as art and art in the garden)
  • 2007 - Excellence in Bloom (Celebrating Iowa State University's 150th anniversary)
  • 2008 - The Novel Garden (Gardens inspired by literature)
  • 2009 - The Landscape Before Time (Plants and insects from pre-historic times)
  • 2010 - Celebration of the Garden Ornamentation (celebrating quirky garden decorations)
  • 2011 - Insects! (gardens inspired by those misunderstood and under-appreciated insects)
  • 2012 - Some Assembly Required (all about how things are put together)
  • 2013 - More than Meets the Iowa (celebrating the great state of Iowa)
  • 2014 - 2014: A Garden Odyssey (Space & Sci-fi)
  • 2015 - Celebrating Our Past and Future (celebrating the Gardens' 20th anniversary)


Primary facilities at Reiman Gardens currently include:

  • Christina Reiman Butterfly Wing - a 2,500-square-foot (230 m2) indoor tropical garden containing exotic and native butterflies from six continents. This is named for Roy Reiman's mother, Christina.
  • Conservatory Complex - a 5,000-square-foot (460 m2) conservatory of tropical plants and seasonal plant displays that change several times annually; a gift shop, restroom facilities and other guest amenities including free use of wheelchairs and an electric chair donated by the Town and County Kiwanis Club.
  • Hunziker Garden House - Named in honor of Marge Hunziker, the building dedication was a gift from her husband Erb and their six sons. This prairie-style building was designed by Architects Smith Metzger to represent a home and serve as a backdrop for the Town and Country Gardens surrounding it. Inside the building is a large workroom that serves as a program workspace, meeting facility, a storage room, and restrooms.
  • Dunlap Courtyard Garden - annual plantings and catalpa trees.
  • Helen Latch Jones Rose Gardens
  • Evelyn Stempel Maze Garden
  • Roy and Mary Amos Smith Hardwood Forest - maples, oaks and other trees that will over time form a dense grove in the Northeastern corner of the Gardens.
  • Mahlstede Horticulture Learning Center - Named for ISU horticultural professor John P. Mahlstede, this building originally housed staff and The Speer Room, where many classes and events are held. It is thought to be one of the most beautiful rooms in Iowa with sweeping views of the Gardens pictured from glass walls that extend from ceiling to floor. Staff offices were removed from this building in a renovation project of 2008.
  • Rose Gardens - over 2,000 rose plants, representing 254 different varieties. This garden received the All-America Rose Selections (AARS) President's Award, given annually to a single public garden. Iowa State University's own Buck Roses, that are disease resistant and winter hardy, are displayed and a central part of Reiman Gardens. There are also 300 varieties of heirloom, hybrid tea, and shrub roses on display. For 2007, the Gardens' staff has designed one of the country's first sustainable rose gardens installed in the spring and dedicated in the summer of 2007.
  • Class of 1955 Hillside Garden - This area has been named for the ISU Class of 1955 and planting plans call for this area to be planted upon completion of a new master plan. The footprint of this garden gives sweeping views of the entire outside areas as this garden climbs up against Beach Avenue.
  • Joey and Jesse’s Herb Garden - a geometric garden of herbs in raised beds, with tulips in spring and a summer display that changes each year.
  • Lake Helen - over 12 species of hybrid Victoria waterlilies and two Euryales.
  • Fr. Supple Courtyard and the CoHorts' Dancing Chimes Plaza - adjoining the herb garden to the Bald cypress Alee, this plaza has personalized pavers that lead to Dance Chimes that are tuned pentatonically and played by dancing upon each of the nine bronze tiles.
  • Margaret E. Penkhus Campanile Garden - a 50-foot (15 m) steel structure with an electronic carillon. This area has a spring tulip display and changes each year to reflect the Gardens' theme.
  • Patty Jischke Children's Garden - Iowa farmstead theme, including a stock tank, scarecrow garden, covered bridge, corn crib pavilion. Jonathan and Brenden's Knolls, and a stream garden.
  • South Field - Each year, this area changes to reflect the Gardens' annual theme. In the past, there have been fourteen 14’ by 14’ quilt patterns grown from bedding plants including vinca, coleus, curry, bugleweed[disambiguation needed], sweet potatoes, and ornamental peppers. The 2006 display featured the Special Olympics Cauldron; in 2005 there was a 9-foot (2.7 m) topiary globe planted to describe the "Global Garden" theme.
  • Stafford Garden - sycamore trees (planted circa 1920s), with wooden boardwalk and wetland bog garden. This area is planned to hold many species of native Iowa grasses and plants.
  • Town and Country Garden - 12 demonstration gardens for common gardening uses. This area is anchored by the Marge Hunziker Garden Home. The surrounding gardens include the Ross Formal Lawn Garden, the Outdoor Living Room, The Front Yard Garden, The Sunny Side Yard, The Naturalist Garden, The Reflection Garden, The CoHorts' Pattern Garden, The Walled Courtyard, The Paving Court, The Home Production Garden, Shade Garden, and the Prairie Vista Garden.

See also[edit]