Where in the world is Tim…the gnome? If you look close enough, you will find him in his garden at the Cedar Valley Arboretum and Botanic Gardens in Waterloo, Iowa. Tim the Gnome is one of 17 gnomes hiding in each of the arboretum’s gardens. The Waterloo arboretum provides a beautiful area for a stroll on a nice summer day.
The arboretum makes excellent use of its 40 acres. Flower gardens feature roses and daylilies, among others. Each garden’s presentation is magnificent.
It starts with the Welcome Garden with a waterfall, as well as a variety of flowers and plants. Its layout is impressive. A rabbit greeted us (or was trying to find an escape route).
As we started our walk around the gardens, we appreciated the thought and planning that went into creating an impressive attraction on the grounds of a community college. The Arrival Garden provided a beautiful view, featuring shrubs and bushes with flowers.
The center’s staff takes excellent care of the property and creates amazing art for visitors, including landscaped animals, such as a frog and peacock. These sculptures call the Mosaic Garden home.
Gnomes hide in each garden. It’s an annual program at the arboretum. We had to find my namesake, who happened to be hiding in the garden with my name. A volunteer named Tim maintains the garden, so the arboretum staff named it after him, Tim’s Garden. My favorite gnome lived in this area.
The arboretum focuses on more than flowers and shrubs, and dedicates three gardens to trees. The Sesquicentennial Forest celebrates Iowa’s 150 years as state (1846-1996) with trees native to the state. The Shade Garden hosts hostas among its shade trees. I thought the Shade Garden was beautiful, with a couple of benches for visitors to sit and take in the view. The Conifer Garden highlights a variety of trees.
Another garden I enjoyed honors foster children. The Forget-me-not Pond features koi fish among its shrubbery and flowers.
The Central Mall features plants and flowers on raised beds, which allow physically-challenged volunteers to garden obstacle-free. The area also is among the most attractive gardens. Flowers and plants surround a water fountain. At one end of the mall, a bison –covered with plants – hides among tall prairie grass and other wild grass and flowers.
The Rose Garden features a variety of roses and colors. The area is beautiful, with a brick entrance to greet visitors. The grounds crew maintains the area well. Apparently, the spot is popular for celebrations, including weddings. I liked that roses hug the walls of the garden.
Day lilies line a walking path in the Stout Day Lily Collection.
The Children’s Garden encourages a hands-on approach with the exhibits. From a house with a roof made from plants to playing with fish, kids of all ages can check out the attraction. Homemade musical instruments, such as cans and wind chimes, create unique sounds when they’re played. The garden includes a Hobbit house.
Other gardens featured at the Cedar Valley Arboretum and Botanic Garden include the Master Gardener Orchard (feature four fruit trees native to Iowa), Tall Grass Garden, Rock Garden, Herb Garden and the Display Garden (which resembles a flower when view from above).
We enjoyed our 90-minute walk through the arboretum and botanic garden. I think time spent there depends on a person’s interests, so you may spend more or less time there. It’s one of the most beautiful smaller botanical gardens we’ve visited. We recommend visiting it when in Waterloo.
Disclaimer: Thank you to Travel Waterloo for the complimentary tickets. However, all opinions and views are ours.