ISU's Reiman Gardens to celebrate 10 years of growth

AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University's Reiman Gardens celebrates a decade of growth with its Best Blooming Birthday 10-Year Celebration Sept. 17-18.

The celebration will kick off with free admission all day Saturday, Sept. 17. Donations will be accepted and all money collected will go to the United Way of Story County. The day includes a barbecue fundraiser and social at 5 p.m. honoring Roy and Bobbi Reiman, who donated money for phase one of the Gardens. Members of the staff, long-time Gardens volunteers, and event sponsor First National Bank, Ames, also will be honored. The barbecue dinner is $35 and is open to the public.

"It's always great when Bobbi and Roy Reiman are here. They give a wonderful perspective on why the Gardens are so important," said Teresa McLaughlin, director of Reiman Gardens.

The celebration also will feature the Best Blooming Birthday Cake conservatory display, a nine-foot, cake-shaped custom planter filled with thousands of plants including verbena, lobelia, chrysanthemums and grasses. Reiman Gardens' 10-year commemorative book, a pictorial view of the Gardens' history, also will be released for sale to the public.

The weekend will continue 1-4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18, with a family day complete with children's games, crafts, jugglers, music and cotton candy. Regular admission will be charged; members are free.

The 10-year history of Reiman Gardens is as colorful as the plants that blossom there. What began as a four-acre plot south of Jack Trice Stadium has grown into a 14-acre, world-class botanical garden that includes an award-winning rose garden, a children's garden and the Conservatory Complex. The complex features the 2,500-square foot Christina Reiman Butterfly Wing that is home to butterflies from six continents, and an indoor conservatory, gift shop and cafC). Original plans called for the Gardens to be complete in 25 years, but it was finished in just seven.

The mission of the Gardens continues to evolve, said McLaughlin. "We are getting more involved in education, environmental issues and conservation of native Iowa species," she said. "We will also continue to strengthen our relationships with the academic departments at Iowa State, our peer gardens and other local non-profit organizations."