What’s Growing

outdoors in summer with the Buck Rose Collection that is fenced in with the campanile behind

There are over 6,000 types of plants growing 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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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 in our outdoor gardens. We plant host plants as well as nectar plants in all areas of the Gardens to encourage diversity in species and to avoid 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.

In addition to Collections, there are several programs that the Gardens participate in which has a dedicated space. These areas include the Trial and Display Garden and parts of the Edible Garden.

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.

American Rose Trials for Sustainability (ARTS) – 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.

Plant-a-Row (PAR) – Our Edible Garden produce is donated to Plant-a-Row (also known as Plant a Row for the Hungry), a public service program which provides food to food banks, soup kitchens, and other programs to get food to those in need. See more about how to get involved with PAR here.