Plants: Aesthetically Pleasing, Life Sustaining

Have you ever considered how we owe our lives to plants? It is because plants remove the carbon dioxide that’s toxic to humans from the air and emit life-sustaining oxygen. Plants are also the foundation of the global food web. Beyond these life-sustaining qualities, many of us also appreciate plants’ aesthetic qualities, bringing beauty to both indoor and outdoor spaces.

Reiman Gardens is dedicated to sharing the beauty of plants, and to the art and appplied science of garden and plant cultivation - known collectively as "horticulture." View our Plant Collections Policy here

What's Growing at Reiman Gardens

There are over 6,000 types of plants grown at Reiman Gardens. 

Often these plants are chosen for their appeal as a landscape plant, but Reiman Gardens has several collections highlighting a specific characteristic or genus of plant. These collections are spread throughout the Gardens and include Iowa State University Introductions, the Buck Rose Collection, Viburnum Collection, Bulb Collection, and Pollinator Plant Collection.

  • Chinese Juniper

    Iowa State University Introductions

    The Iowa Agricultural Experiment Station and the North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station have assisted Iowa State University employees with creating and introducing new cultivars of plants. These plants include, among others, Chinese Junipers, Apples, Roses, and Weigelas. While many of these plants are difficult to find in cultivation, it is part of our mission to display them. These plants are located throughout the Gardens.

  •  Buck Roses Spanish Rhapsody with pink and yellow coloration

    Dr. Griffith Buck Roses

    The most famous of the Iowa State University Introductions is the large number of roses created by Dr. Griffith Buck during his time as a professor of Horticulture at ISU. His roses are still used in rose breeding today, with even The Knock Out Rose® having Carefree Beauty in its pedigree. Dr. Buck released over 100 cultivars of shrub rose, focusing on winter hardiness in Iowa, disease resistance, and repeated blooms. Popular cultivars include ‘Carefree Beauty’, ‘Quietness’, ‘Distant Drums’, ‘Folksinger’, and ‘Country Dancer’. Many of the Buck Roses are located in a dedicated bed north of the Jones Rose Garden, but there are several cultivars throughout the Gardens.

  • Viburnum nudum 'Bulk'

    Viburnum Collection

    Viburnums are shrubs with white (or pale pink) flowers and colorful berries in late summer. There are at least 112 species in the Viburnum genus, all with slightly different forms and traits, including leaf shape and texture. Not all these species are hardy in Iowa. Reiman Gardens contains nearly 30 species and cultivars of Viburnum spread throughout the Gardens.

  • Daffodil Bulbs

    Bulb Collection

    Spring bulbs like daffodils and snowdrops are often the first bits of green to appear in the Gardens after winter. Reiman Gardens contains a Bulb Meadow, located between the Outdoor Living Room and the Hillside Waterwise Garden, as well as a mix of bulbs throughout the Gardens. Bulbs include Daffodil, Tulip, Crocus, Hyacinth, Ornamental Onion, Fritillary, Squill, Winter Aconite, Snowdrop, Spanish Bluebell, Summer Snowflake, and more.

  • Bee Pollinating Plant

    Pollinator Plant Collection

     While the Christina Reiman Butterfly Wing is one of the best places to view butterflies in Iowa, we also support our outdoor butterfly population (as well as our moth, bee, wasp, and fly populations) with pollinator plants throughout the outdoor gardens. We plant host plants and nectar plants in all areas of the Gardens to encourage diversity in species and to minimize excessive competition for resources in one area. We have a wonderful selection of pollinator-friendly perennials in the Hillside Garden and near the stream bed in Sycamore Falls. Our master site plan includes a new garden space dedicated to pollinators and pollinator plants as well.


  •  Reiman Gardens Trial Gardens with bright colored flowers and plnts

    All-American Selections (AAS)

    In our Trial and Display Garden, you can find colorful blocks of annual plants and vegetables, a mix of new-to-market or unreleased plants with tried-and-true varieties. These are the All-American Selection Trials, which compares new with old to test bloom time, vigor, and other traits of new plants to see if they live up to the hype. Every year AAS releases a list of winners, new plants worth checking out.

  • Trial Garden roses

    American Rose Trials for Sustainability (ARTS)

    American Rose Trials for Sustainability (ARTS) evaluates new or unreleased roses on disease resistance, hardiness, and overall aesthetics, without the use of spraying, pruning, or winter protection. The ARTS trials are located on the east side of the Trial Garden.

  • Edible Garden

    Produce Donation Program

    Produce from our Edible Garden, AAS vegetable trial plots, and Plant a Row (PAR) donation plot is donated to local food pantries in partnership with Plant a Row for the Hungry and Growing Together Iowa. Both are public service programs which train and support volunteers to collect and distribute fresh produce to food pantries and soup kitchens, increasing access of fruits and vegetables by individuals who are food insecure.

More about Plants and Garden Spaces at Reiman Gardens