News Column

Cedar Valley 50: Arboretum hidden gem in Cedar Valley

August 4, 2014

By Melody Parker, Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, Iowa

Aug. 04--We're defining the Cedar Valley in 50 places, events and things. The daily series began July 6. Follow along at

WATERLOO -- The Cedar Valley Arboretum and Botanic Garden has been described as one of the community's hidden gems, but the secret is getting out.

Last year, more than 15,000 visitors strolled through the 34-acre oasis located just east of Hawkeye Community College on Orange Road.

There are numerous gardens featuring perennials, annuals, succulents, ornamental grasses and shrubs, as well as an extensive collection of trees of all sizes and varieties. Several ponds and a children's garden with a silo and scavenger hunt are are among attractions.

Educational horticulture, workshops and special events such as Moonlight and Roses and the annual Fall Harvest Festival and scarecrow contest. A grand pergola has become a frequent setting for weddings, and the welcome center has been recently remodeled.

The late Dick Meyerhoff is credited with seeding the idea for a garden and aborteum, later joined by Tom Lawler and the late Fred Button in the late 1980s.

In 1995, a 74-acre plot was leased from HCC on a 99-year lease and groundbreaking took place in October 1995.

In 1996, the design team of Buettner and Associates from Fox Point, Wis., and Waterloo landscape architect Craig Ritland developed a master plan for the grounds. Craig Gibleon and the late Arnold Webster also planted the first group of trees in 1996 known as the Sesquicentennial Forest in honor of the 150th anniversary of Iowa's statehood.

Today the arboretum and gardens are home to Griffith Buck rose and award-winning Stout day lily collections, and alpine and shade gardens. It is open from sunrise to sunset.

The non-profit arboretum receives no city, state or federal funding, instead receiving support through grants, donations and memorials.


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Source: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (IA)

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