Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
May 21, 1999

Butterflies, scarecrow highlight children's garden

by Anne Dolan

The new children's garden at the Reiman Gardens will be dedicated during a 10:30 a.m. celebration Saturday, June 5. The university community is invited.

The children's garden, about one-third acre in size, was created with several private gifts. Half of the amount is funding construction of the garden; the rest was put into a maintenance endowment for it.

Through an Iowa farm theme, the garden is intended to get children interested in plants -- "in a fun way," said Nick Howell, superintendent of the Reiman Gardens. The children's garden includes a corn crib pavilion with demonstration and teaching space inside; a limestone-terraced amphitheater for storytime and similar activities; a covered bridge over a stream and a pool with live fish; a tunnel "hideout" built of sod; and a prairie garden that includes a slightly elevated wood maze and a gazebo in the center.

Other components are a "corral" sculpture garden with horse and colt topiary plants, a butterfly garden and a scarecrow garden, featuring a 15-foot permanent scarecrow and an annual theme. The initial theme selected is "garden of curiosities"; Howell said it will include unusual plants such as 10-inch tomatoes, peanut plants, very tall and very small sunflowers, Brussels sprouts, Indian corn and other plants of interest or intrigue to children.

"This is a teaching facility first, rather than simply a playground, but we want kids to have fun learning about plants," he said. "We hope parents will help their kids develop an interest in what's here."

Roy and Bobbi Reiman, for whom the gardens are named, will attend the dedication, along with some of their children and grandchildren. President Martin Jischke also will speak briefly.

Howell said the annual planting in all areas of the Reiman Gardens will be done by June 5, but he said the gardens will become more colorful as the summer progresses.

With the completion of the children's garden, about 5.5 acres of the 14-acre Reiman Gardens now are developed.

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