An Ecological State of Mind

When I first interviewed for my role at the Garden a year and a half ago, I was thrilled to hear about the ecologically sound practices the horticulture team deploys. With my background in ecology, I felt right at home. As I got to know this place, I started wondering if our guests are privy to this ecological narrative.

Maybe you’ve been here on a smelly Monday when Horticulturist Leslie Hunter and dedicated volunteers apply the organic fish emulsion fertilizer in the Gardeners Show House. Or perhaps you admire the sedges that serve as living mulch in the Lauridsen Savanna.

If you’re like me, you’ve patiently awaited the arrival of spring ephemerals in the hillside garden and the summer blooms in the parking lot garden. These are just a few of the many examples of how we’ve embraced natural management techniques and the ecology of Iowa to create and care for our garden.

As we move forward, our education team aims to share our ecologically minded philosophy more frequently and in more ways. To start, you can attend one of our HortEcology™ series, where you’ll learn how to use Iowa’s natural ecosystems as a guide to your own garden design and plant selection. You can also look forward to courses with field visits, more hikes exploring Iowa’s natural habitats, and interpretive signage explaining the “how” behind the plants.

With these efforts we invite you to take part in the ecological conversation permeating our management, design, and educational decisions. Join us as we build a garden grounded in ecology that serves as an example for the community and beyond.