Bloom Where You are Planted


Reiman Gardens isn’t getting bigger, but it is getting better.

The Gardens’ staff recently announced the completion of a 20-year master plan that has been in the works for almost two years. The plan doesn’t increase the acreage of the Gardens, but rather makes better use of the current space.

The 20-year plan incorporates several new gardens, a small lake, and water features such as cascades and falls. New hardscape additions include terraces, boardwalks, courtyards, arbors, a stone amphitheater, and a new visitor center.

Ed Lyon, director of Reiman Gardens, said master plans are dreams of the ideal and aspirations of how to make the best of every available space. He said that many components of the new plan reflect Reiman Gardens’ Iowa roots, including the use of limestone and edible plants, a nod to Iowa’s contribution to food production.

The Reiman Gardens site plan does not encompass future plans for the south side of Jack Trice Stadium, but both plans will complement one another.

“They are two separate spaces, but not disparate,” Lyon said. Despite the changes and additions, the Gardens’ educational mission remains unchanged.

“The Gardens won’t be just beautiful, they will be educational,” Lyon said. “There’s not a garden we’re developing that doesn’t include an educational component.”

Many favorite aspects of Reiman Gardens are staying put.

“A lot of elements will remain,” Lyon said. “The Hughes Conservatory won’t change, and the Butterfly Wing will remain but be expanded. All the changes that we’re making elevate dramatically what we already have.”

Lyon emphasized that two directives for the Gardens have been embraced by the staff and incorporated by the design team.


Reiman Gardens director Ed Lyon and Sarah Rummery, manager of horticulture, walk through the area that will become the ISU Family Bulb Meadow beginning this fall.

“The first was easy,” he said, “because it was part of the original master plan: maintaining
the Gardens’ sense of place. It’s the sense that visitors are in a garden that reflects its heritage and the fact that it is in central Iowa and a part of the Midwest.”

The second directive was to make sure the Gardens is one of the leaders in the sustainability movement, with a focus on restoring eroding natural systems of plant diversity.

Another primary goal of the 20-year master plan is to enhance Reiman Gardens’ presence throughout Iowa and the nation. Lyon said that by enhancing the Gardens and offering grander exhibits, he anticipates that Reiman Gardens will become a destination stop, increasing tourism revenue for the city of Ames.

Lyon estimates the cost to implement the 20-year plan is at least $25 million.

The second phase of the Jack Trice Stadium expansion, an $11.5 million development of about 10 acres between the south end of the stadium and Reiman Gardens, began this spring. One part of the project involves removing the parking lot (S3) immediately south of the new End Zone Club facility, shortening the lot on either side of it and replacing the entry road to Reiman Gardens off of University Boulevard.

Reiman Gardens’ primary entrance will close for a time in early summer while crews reconfigure the intersection. During this time, visitors will access the Gardens and parking lot from the Beach Avenue driveway.

The other part of the project, for which the design isn’t yet finalized, will create a landscaped green space and plaza on the S3 parking lot site as a visual link between the stadium and Gardens. The plaza is expected to include a water feature and formal and informal gathering spaces. The landscaping component will likely begin sometime this fall, with final plantings installed in spring 2017.


During the planning process, Roy Reiman (L)(’57 ag journalism), the Gardens’ primary benefactor and namesake, suggested a project that could easily involve the entire Iowa State family: its alumni, students, faculty, staff , and friends.

The idea came from one of Reiman’s earlier successful projects to make the city of Greendale, Wis., where he currently resides, the “Daffodale Capital of the Country.” He started the process by donating the first 2,000 daffodil bulbs and then asked readers of his Birds & Blooms magazine to send a few bulbs from their gardens so they could say that they had contributed to the mission.

Readers exceeded his expectations, sending more than 54,000 daffodil bulbs. The daffodils were planted in 50 sunrays around a red tulip center, representing every state.

“They truly made Greendale a daffodale center,” Reiman said.

His idea for Reiman Gardens is another “bulbs from home” project, but with a twist for alumni and friends who don’t have bulbs of their own. Lyon explained that a site adjacent to a planned hillside garden overlooking the Outdoor Living Room area on the west side of the Gardens is fairly steep – so it’s not traversed by visitors, but it’s highly visible.

“There’s a trend toward planting ‘meadows’ in place of unnecessary turf or in difficult sites, utilizing native fescues or other short-growing native grasses with bulbs for seasonal interest,” Lyon said. “This meadow would provide ample viewing of bulbs without the need to walk through the beds, and demonstrate to a homeowner a form of gardening with low impact on both environment and maintenance. Mixing in additional late spring, summer, and fall blooming bulbs would extend the color and interest all season.”

Here’s how you can help: The Gardens invites alumni, students, and friends, no matter where they are, to contribute daffodil or other bulbs from their own gardens to the ISU Family Bulb Meadow. You can mail the bulbs or drop them off in person at Reiman Gardens between now and the end of September.

“It would be special for alums to know a part of their home is now a part of the campus,” Reiman says. “For alums who can’t afford huge gifts, this offers a chance to give something of themselves they can afford…in a small, meaningful way.”

Alumni who don’t have a garden or a daffodil bed can still get involved. The ISU Alumni Association has partnered with Reiman Gardens to allow alumni and friends to order flower bulbs online at Order by September and the bulbs will be sent directly to the Gardens for fall planting.

Whether the bulbs are some of your own or ordered from the website, Reiman Gardens will match each gift, providing site preparation, labor, meadow grasses, and future maintenance.

Lyon says that the hope is to create a beautiful bulb meadow that alumni and students can visit with family and friends for many years, with the knowledge that within the mix, some of their bulbs are part of the floral “family” display.

Be a part of Reiman Gardens’ ISU Family Bulb Meadow
Here’s how you can be part of this campus beautification project! Simply send your flower bulbs to Reiman Gardens or order bulbs online.

How to send flower bulbs from your own garden:

  • Dig daffodil or other bulbs from your yard
  • Package and mail the bulbs to Reiman Gardens, 1407 University Blvd., Ames, IA 50011
  • Or drop them off in person at Reiman Gardens, located at the south entrance to
    Iowa State University

How to order new flower bulb packages to be sent directly to Reiman Gardens:

  • Visit the ISU Alumni Association’s Reiman Gardens Bulb Gift section of its online store
  • Choose bulb packages and add to cart. Choose as many as you’d like!
  • Check out by providing your name and credit card information
  • Bulbs will be delivered directly to Reiman Gardens in your name

Bulbs should be received no later than Sept. 30. Planting will take place this fall. Note that online orders are tax-deductible; however, shipping is not tax-deductible.


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