Murray Blackwelder, External Affairs, (515) 294-7730
Teresa McLaughlin, Reiman Gardens, (515) 294-4412
Steve Sullivan, News Service, (515) 294-3720


AMES, Iowa -- It's not unusual to see dirt being moved around gardens this time of year.
But, when the dirt is being moved by bulldozers and the gardens are named Reiman, it probably means more than petunias.

Huge equipment has been rumbling across the center area of Iowa State University's Reiman Gardens, digging a large pond and footings for a nearby garden house. The pond, a rubber-lined water feature with two waterfalls, is being installed by Country Landscapes, Ames. Country Landscapes was awarded the bid to construct a new Town and Country Garden and is donating the water feature to Reiman Gardens. It will be finished this month and operational when the Town and Country Garden area is completed in the fall. The garden will be dedicated next spring.

The garden house will be a 1,600 square-foot building with a single 40'x30' work room for teaching, demonstrations and other events year-round.

Construction is expected to start next month on an Arboretum Garden on four acres in the southwestern-most leg of Reiman Gardens. It will feature natural Iowa landscapes. The main feature will be an escarpment garden, which is an area similar to banks along major waterways where soil has eroded to expose rocky cliffs and crags. Crews will construct a limestone wall to simulate this; water will be positioned so it seeps through the limestone. This combination of water and rock produces unusual and beautiful plant and water elements. The Arboretum Garden also will feature a dry upland area and a mesic area, which is land that transitions between dry and wet conditions.

Existing trees and landscape features in the Arboretum Garden will be preserved. Some trees already have been fenced to protect them as work in the area proceeds.

"I've received several calls from long-time Ames residents asking about the fate of the Bull Ring, which was a hole at a golf course once in this area," said Teresa McLaughlin, Reiman Gardens public relations and development director. "The Bull Ring is still visible and will be preserved as part of the Arboretum Garden. We have been asked to host an event at which people can relive the past by chipping balls into the Bull Ring."

Another addition at Reiman Gardens, the Town and Country Garden, is in the middle of the southwest leg, between the pond and the Arboretum Garden. It will feature 12 "idea" gardens focusing on different types of flowers, trees and shrubs, as well as creative options for garden pathways, decks and walls. The 12 areas include a front yard garden, outdoor living room, suburban back yard, paving court, walled court and naturalist garden.

McLaughlin said Reiman Gardens has received "tremendous" support for the Town and Country Garden areas.

"We continue to raise funds for this feature of Reiman Gardens, and are now focusing on generating support for a pattern garden, which will be based on a Frank Lloyd Wright design," she said.

A lot of color will be making its seasonal appearance at the gardens in coming weeks, as more than 80 species of peony (some one-of-a-kind) and a variety of award-winning roses bloom. Also, Reiman Garden volunteers have been busy planting more than 25,000 annuals. Brown Bag lunches, with invited speakers and specific topics, have been scheduled on Thursdays throughout the summer.


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