Iowa State University student butterfly research outdoors in summer at Reiman Gardens

Plant and Insect Exploration

As part of Iowa State University, one of Reiman Gardens’ core purposes is to encourage plant and insect exploration that furthers general knowledge and offers students valuable opportunities for hands-on, scientific inquiry.

Plant Research

Reiman Gardens plays an important role as a partner and site location for the All American Selection (AAS) trials. These trials are dedicated to the promotion of great annual flowers and vegetables. AAS test sites evaluate new plants that may eventually be named as a prestigious AAS winner. As plants in our AAS trial beds grow, our horticulturists evaluate plant performance and report their findings to the AAS.

Reiman Gardens also participates in Project BudBurst. This is a national field campaign designed to engage the public to collect important ecological data such as the timing of leafing, flowering, and fruiting of plants, traits that are called plant phenophases. The data is collected from participants across the country and used to help scientists learn more about the responsiveness of individual plant species to changes in climate.

Reiman Gardens has a rich history of promoting the care and culture of roses. This tradition started when the All-American Rose Selections (AARS) trials were moved to the garden from the Iowa State University Horticulture Farm. For more than 10 years, the AARS trial and winning roses were a popular draw of the Trial Gardens. This program ended in 2011 due to a restructuring of AARS, leaving a void in the Reiman Gardens Trial Garden.

In 2013, Reiman Gardens is pleased to be one of 12 flagship gardens selected to be an inaugural American Garden Rose Selection (AGRS) trial and display site. The new AGRS program aims to fill the void left by AARS as well as build a reputation as a dynamic testing entity that consumers, professional growers, botanical gardens and rose enthusiasts can trust to reflect modern rose culture. Roses submitted to the trial will be evaluated seven times during the growing season on attributes such as disease resistance, vigor and flower effect. AGRS will employ a regional scoring and reporting system, whereby information on roses’ good performance in particular areas and climates will be emphasized.

Student Experience and Exploration

Students have participated in many research projects conducted at the Gardens, including the development of captive rearing protocols for butterflies and moths, the study of butterfly development rates, the documentation of host plant preferences, and the control of insect populations using artificial nests.

Reiman Gardens accepts proposals from Iowa State University students for research to be tested at the Gardens.

Reiman Gardens also offers summer internships to provide college students with valuable and varied work and career experiences.