Explore Reiman Gardens

Reiman Gardens covers 17 acres with 26 distinct garden areas and several structures including the Christina Reiman Butterfly Wing, the Conservatory, and Gift Shop. There are many areas within the Gardens, each with its own mission and notable features. Many of the Gardens’ buildings and structures are designed in the Prairie School of architecture made famous by Frank Lloyd Wright. The Prairie School is most common in the Midwest usually marked by horizontal lines, flat or hipped roofs, broad overhanging eaves, and use of natural materials.

  •  Bald Cypress Allee sunlit

    Bald Cypress Allée

    A formal allée, one of the original design axis of the garden. A popular place for weddings and quiet moments. 

    Garden features: an open lawn

    Prominent plants: Bald Cypress

  •  Butterfly Wing outside during fall with sculpture

    Christina Reiman Butterfly Wing

    An indoor glasshouse with plants for nectar and habitat as a backdrop to tropical and native Lepidoptera adhering to all standards set by USDA APHIS-PPQ. Features up to 800 live butterflies representing up to 80 different species. 

    Garden features: Butterflies, Tropical Border, Waterfall

    Prominent plants: Lipstick Palm, Sweet Almond

    Learn more about our butterflies and insects.
  •  Buck Rose collection with pink, red, and white roses on green leaves

    Dr. Griffith J. Buck Rose Collection

    This garden features the hardy roses developed by Dr. Griffith Buck. Dr. Buck, a professor at Iowa State University, bred many beautiful, hardy landscape roses between 1962 and 1985. Buck roses are recognized worldwide for their winter hardiness, attractiveness and low maintenance. They can survive Iowa’s winter temperatures while remaining resistant to most common rose diseases such as black spot.

    Garden features: Buck Rose Collection, Rose Garden

    Prominent plants: Carefree Beauty, Distant Drums, Quietness

    Learn about our nationally recognized Buck Rose Collection.

    Dunlap Entry Courtyard

    A popular gathering space that also affords scenic views of the Gardens, this area is framed by a pair of sculptures called, “Dikotomia” and “Pods” and benefits from the shade of several Catalpa (Catalpa speciosa) trees.

    Garden features: Dikhotomia, Pods, seating, shaded area, annual plants

    Prominent plants: Catalpa

  •  East Entry Garden with grasses

    East Entry Garden

    The east entrance to Reiman Gardens is flanked by the East Entry Garden and North Lawn. The East Entry Garden showcases native prairie perennial with a mixed shrub border.

    Garden features: native plants, Old Bridge

    Prominent plants: Maney Juniper, Ohio Buckeye

  •  Heirloom Garden yellow roses and green leaves

    ISU Heritage Garden

    The Heritage Garden displays Iowa State University plant introductions, including roses from the original 1910 Horticulture Garden with a backdrop of old-fashioned plants to extend seasonal interest. 

    Garden features Historic Collection, Rose Garden

    Prominent plants: Ames Rose, Princeton Sentry Ginkgo

  •  Helen Latch Jones Rose Garden witth bright colorful plants and a wisteria arbor

    Helen Latch Jones Rose Garden

    The Jones Rose Garden incorporates a sustainable focus in its design and maintenance practices. Rose cultivars are selected for disease-resistance and winter-hardiness. The rose palette includes a mix of Buck roses, EarthKind roses, Easy Elegance® and Proven Winners® roses. Pairing these roses with perennials and other flowering shrubs results in a garden with four season appeal. The water feature in the center of the garden lines up with the Campanile to create a formal design axis.

    Garden features: Pediment, water feature, annual containers, Rose Garden

    Prominent plants: Wisteria ‘Blue Moon’, Arborvitae ‘Emerald Green’, Magnolia ‘Butterflies, Boxwood ‘Wilson’, Rose Mischief

  •  Hillside Garden with hybiscus in bloom and people walking

    Hillside Water-wise Garden

    The Hillside Water-wise Garden is the only one of its kind in Iowa for its unique planting method and style. A path casually winds up the hill through four different planting themes, planted in 4-6″ of gravel, and bordered by impressive limestone walls. The plantings reflect a sustainability initiative of being beautiful but requiring little or no water once established.

    Garden features: Bulb collection, gravel garden, borrowed views

    Prominent plants: Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’, Joe-Pye Weed, Achillea ‘coronation gold’

  • Home Demonstration Gardens

    Home Demonstration Gardens

    The Home Demonstration is broken into several small district gardens which provide homeowners with landscaping ideas for their own property by displaying different garden situations.

  • CoHorts Patio Garden with concrete pavers and containers with plants

    Home Demonstration - CoHort's Patio Garden

    Part of the Home Demonstration Gardens. The Patio Garden displays colorful annual plants in containers in a contemporary green oasis on impermeable surfaced similar to an urban patio or rooftop space.

    Garden features: annual containers

    Prominent plants: Sweetgum ‘Slender Silhouette’

  • DeeAnn Drew Shade Garden

    Home Demonstration - DeeAnn Drew Shade Garden

    The Home Demonstration is broken into several small district gardens which contain ideas to be incorporated into home and business garden spaces. The Shade Garden showcases plants that grow in deep shade conditions. Elwood, the World’s Largest Concrete Gnome, helps us cast some shade on these plants.

    Garden features: Elwood, Volunteer Memorial Bench, shaded area

    Prominent plants: Redbud, Red Maple

  •  Edible Garden with veggies and red frame

    Home Demonstration - Edible Garden

    Part of the Home Demonstration Gardens. The Edible Garden showcases a raised bed garden for vegetables and flowers with edible parts.

    Garden features: Potting Shed, apple trellis, raised beds

    Learn about Plant a Row for the Hungry initiative.
  • Ross Formal Lawn Garden with turf grass, tall trees and contianers

    Home Demonstration - Formal Lawn Garden

    Part of The Home Demonstration Gardens. The Formal Lawn Garden highlights an open lawn plan with symmetrical plantings suitable for wet shade and a strong focal point.

    Garden features: Frank Lloyd Wright urns and sculpture casts, open lawn, annual containers

    Prominent plants: Weeping White Spruce

  •  Front Yard Garden with a fence, building, green plants and blue flowers

    Home Demonstration - Front Yard Garden

    Part of the Home Demonstration Gardens. The Front Yard Garden showcases new plant introductions, trialing both perennial and woody cultivars, in a three-year rotating display.

    Garden features: mixed beds, annual containers

    Prominent plants: State Street Maple, Gwen’s Rose Delight Japanese Maple

  •  Naturalist Garden with wood table and chairs

    Home Demonstration - Naturalist Garden

    Part of the Home Demonstration Gardens. The Naturalist Garden showcases a natural-style planting of native perennials and shrubs around a small water feature.

    Garden features: water feature

  • Outdoor Living Room with turf grass, pavers, a waterfall, trees and containers

    Home Demonstration - Outdoor Living Room

    Part of The Home Demonstration Gardens. The Outdoor Living Room provides space to sit outdoors, an open lawn for activities and demonstrations, and mixed plantings common to Midwest suburban backyards. A small waterfall adds to the inviting atmosphere.

    Garden features: water feature, open lawn, bulb collection, annual containers

  • Prairie Vista Garden with gravel, limestone blocks, wood structure with hanging baskets

    Home Demonstration - Prairie Vista Garden

    Part of The Home Demonstration Gardens. Prairie Vista provides borrowed views of Sycamore Falls among Iowa native prairie-style plantings, complete with bee-friendly lawn alternative. 

    Garden features: Rabbit Hill sculptures, hanging baskets, borrowed views

    Prominent plants: European Hornbeam

  • Reflection Garden with a wood deck with a wood pergola and a water feature with colorful plants

    Home Demonstration - Reflection Garden

    Parf of The Home Demonstration Gardens. The Reflection Garden displays shade-tolerant plants around a central water feature.

    Garden features: water feature, shaded area, gazebo, annual containers

    Prominent plants: Dawn Redwood, Birch ‘Renaissance Reflection’

  • Sunny Side Garden

    Home Demonstration - Sunny Side Garden

    Part of The Home Demonstration Gardens. The Sunny Side Garden provides an example of a small space, like a side yard, with a lot of character.

    Prominent plants: Chamaecyparis ‘King’s Gold’

  • Walled Courtyard with Totem

    Home Demonstration - Walled Court

    Part of The Home Demonstration Gardens. The Walled Court creates a microclimate, allowing plants that are usually too tender for Iowa winters to thrive.

    Prominent plants: Maple ‘Bloodgood’, Ilex ‘Sky Pencil’

  •  Hughes Conservatory with orchids and people

    Hughes Conservatory

    This glass house features a lush, tropical collection of familiar and unfamiliar plants set among seasonal, artistic creations meant to inspire visitors through conventional and novel displays. Be sure to see the palms, cycads, and tranquil waterfall and pond.

    Garden features: tropical border, annual display, water feature, annual containers

  •  Herb Garden with tall trees, pergola, and colorful flowers

    Joey and Jesse’s Herb Garden

    The sundial in the center of Herb Garden was a gift to the old horticulture garden on Iowa State University’s campus. This formal garden features raised beds with a mix of annual and perennial plants. Each bed corresponds with a theme – including Fragrance, Tea and Drinks, and Dye plants. Be sure to slow down and give yourself a chance to detect the interesting aromas that float through the Herb Garden.

    Garden features: Sundial, annual plantings

    Prominent plants: Magnolia ‘Royal star’, Oak ‘Crimson Spire’

  •  Lake Helen with pink and whit waterliliies on lilypads

    Lake Helen

    Lake Helen anchors the central garden area with several planting shelves supporting aquatic wildlife, plants, and fish. In summer, Lake Helen is home to many Victoria water platters, hardy water lilies, and lotus.

    Garden features: Purple Martin House, Look-out, water feature, open lawn, aquatic plants

    Prominent plants: Lotus

  • Campanile Garden with campanile statue and multi-colored tulips surrounding it.

    Margaret E. Penkhus Campanile Garden

    This garden serves as a visual link to Iowa State University’s Central Campus while providing an open lawn gathering space. This area is a striking entrance to the City of Ames and Iowa State University as the Gardens creates innovative displays of rotating bulb and annual plantings against a backdrop of woody and perennial plants. The Campanile in the Gardens regularly plays tunes that correspond to the annual theme or season of the year.

    Garden features: Garden Campanile, open lawn, annual beds

    Prominent plants: Japanese Tree Lilac

  • North Lawn Peonies

    North Lawn

    The east entrance to Reiman Gardens is flanked by the East Entry Garden and North Lawn. The North Lawn is an open lawn space with some of Reiman Gardens’ most mature trees.

    Garden features: open lawn

    Prominent plants: Cornus mas, Peony collection

  • Patty Jischke Children’s Garden with an orange sign, tall trees and colorful flowers

    Patty Jischke Children's Garden

    With agriculture as its theme, the Children’s Garden contains elements reminiscent of Iowa’s agricultural heritage. Features include a hideout, a maze, tumbling mounds, a butterfly bench, and a splash pad with hand pumps to squirt water at unsuspecting friends. Hang out in the amphitheater that often features youth programs, or walk through the covered bridge and say, “Hello” to the bronzed sculpture “Shep”, the barnyard dog. Remember to rub Shep’s nose for good luck!

  • Roy & Mary Amos Smith Hardwood Forest with tall green trees and a wood pergola

    Roy and Mary Amos Smith Hardwood Forest

    The Hardwood Forest features some of Reiman Gardens’ most mature trees. Walk the open lawn, sit under the secluded pergola, and enjoy the view of the Campanile Garden.

    Garden features: Totems, pergola, open lawn, shaded area

    Prominent plants: Red Oak, Blue Spruce ‘Fat Albert’

  •  Rust Events Plaza with concrete and tables and chairs

    Rust Events Plaza

    This open plaza, nestled between the Conservatory Complex and the Mahlstede Building, is ideal for relaxing or hosting your next event. Take a seat in the shade or look around and enjoy the mixed planting beds and containers that provide four seasons of interest. Additional points of interest include “Joy II," a working water fountain designed by Christian Petersen, and the sculpture titled “Expand.” 

    Garden features: Joy II, Expand, seating, annual containers

    Prominent plants: Aspen ‘Mountain Sentinal’, Yellowood, Bear’s Breeches, Magnolias

  • South Lawn July 2023

    South Field

    The South Field, located just south of the Mahlstead Building, is often used to display a sculpture for our annual theme year. 

    Garden features: open lawn, annual plantings

    Prominent plants: Feather Reed Grass ‘Karl Foerster’

  • South Mixed Border with concrete, bushes, shrubs and tall trees

    South Mixed Border

    A mixed border combines herbaceous and woody plants in an interesting and attractive way to provide four seasons of interest. The South Mixed Border contains many interesting evergreen trees.

    Garden features: Dancing Chimes

    Prominent plants: Ginkgo ‘Autumn Gold’, Norway Spruce ‘Acrocona’

  • An exterior shot of the South Patio and Mahlstede Building.

    South Patio

    The South Patio of the Mahlstede Building is surround by garden beds that showcase specimen trees – a trio of river birch, a weeping larch, and a pair of yellow buckeyes. The beds around these trees serve to highlight these trees and provide additional seasons of interest.

     Garden features: annual containers

    Prominent plants: Yellow Buckeye, Larch ‘Varied Directions’, River Birch ‘Heritage’

  • Sycamore Falls July 2023-2

    Sycamore Falls

    A series of water pools cascade over a native limestone wall to collect in a circular pool surrounded by a walkway. A grassy meadow and bright perennial plantings will enhance the water feature’s path. An additional feature of the garden is a tower structure that adds an iconic landmark and destination to the gardens.

    Garden features: Water Feature, Tower, boardwalk, annual plantings

    Prominent plants: Sycamores

  • Trial and Display Garden with raised garden beds filled with bright plants and flowers and raised planters

    Trial and Display Gardens

    The Trial and Display Garden is the home to our yearly All-American Selections (AAS) Trials of annual and perennial plants and the American Rose Trials for Sustainability (ARTS), where new cultivars of roses are trialed for two years.

      Garden features: Raised beds, annual plantings, annual containers, trial garden

  • West Entry

    West Entry Garden

    The West Entry Garden frames the entrance of the Conservatory Complex. A mixture of shade and ornamental trees, as well as large shrubs provide four seasons of interest.

    Garden features: open lawn, Reiman Rock

    Prominent plants: Euonymus ‘Verona’, Sumac ‘Morton’