2012 Intern Blog - Reiman Gardens
2012 Intern Blog
Posted on Jul 6, 2012
at 4:45 PM
As Kathleen Miller mentioned a few posts ago, our intern team gets together every Thursday to explore another aspect of Reiman Gardens. A few weeks ago we spent time with Aaron Steil talking about how our collection of plants is organized and managed. Creating signs like the one in the picture below for the ‘Pearlie Mae’ Buck Rose helps our visitors know what they’re looking at, but having that data also means that we know what problems to look for and how rare a plant is. Here at the Gardens we only have four employees trained in plant collections, but most of the responsibility falls on Aaron. I was trained to make signs during the second week of my internship and have slowly been chipping away at getting our annuals labeled for your convenience! Often, signs get damaged and are removed, but if you ask around we would be glad to help you out with any questions you might have. I hope you all find these signs useful!
By Lindsey Smith
Posted on Jul 2, 2012
at 10:47 AM
It is summer time in the gardens, and you know what that means, beautiful blooms, warm weather, and, much to our disgust, Japanese Beetles. Even without being an avid gardener, almost anyone can identify these plant-destroying pests by their iridescent bodies, clinging together in groups on your favorite plants. You probably have seen them the most on your precious roses, eating away until there is nothing left but a skeleton of a leaf. Rest assured, they’re affecting our garden just as much as yours.
Japanese Beetles feed on over 300 different plant species. We’ve done our best to remove some of the worst offenders, such as dahlias, cannas, sweet potato vine, etc., but even this won’t keep the belligerent bugs away from tearing up a new plant or bloom. Our initial and most common approach is to have our crews go out with buckets of soapy water and knock the unassuming bugs in them to their death. In the past day, we have applied our first round of knockdown spray which is naturally derived and plant based, to inhibit their molting cycle and hopefully limit the damage done. We usually wait until late-July to apply this, but with our unseasonably warm winter, the beetles have been way ahead of schedule.
The unfortunate news is that, for now, Japanese Beetles are here to stay. We will dream of a day when there’s an organic spray targeted specifically for those annoying insects. Until then, we’re doing everything we can to limit their carnage in the garden, even if it means killing them one by one!
By Carrington Flatness
Posted on Jun 26, 2012
at 10:18 AM
As part of the internship program, all of the interns meet together once a week on Thursday mornings to discuss our experiences and other aspects of Reiman Gardens. Sometimes we even go on field trips! Most of the meetings, however, are spent observing the different tasks that keep the Reiman Gardens running smoothly.
Last week was special in that we spent the whole morning with the entomology department observing and taking part in a few daily activities. One job we participated in is the release of the newly emerged butterflies into their home of the Butterfly Wing. While butterflies are beautiful insects, touching them is a whole different story. Another job we helped with was to replace the butterflies that were released with new chrysalis. I hope you take a visit to the emergence window in the lobby soon to witness the new butterflies emerge!
By Kathleen Miller
Posted on Jun 22, 2012
at 4:57 PM
There has been a lot of talk this summer about the funky contraption set up in the Conservatory at Reiman Gardens. As part of the theme year Some Assembly Required, a Rube Goldberg inspired machine was created by Iowa State University design students to be displayed at Reiman Gardens. This machine has it all: water elements, flying softballs, pinwheels of all sizes and colors, and an overall wacky appearance.
It took a little time to finish and get the final kinks out of the Goldberg inspired machine, but once it was completed it was a hit! Visitors are completely captivated by its quirky appearance and surprising features. Once the first softball is sent flying across the Conservatory, visitors are overwhelmed with excitement and wonder. Then, once the water elements are turned on, visitors get to experience water flowing through pinwheels, a giant rain cloud, and a water course that lies overhead.
The Rube Goldberg inspired machine at Reiman Gardens is quite imaginative and fun for all ages. It is not only enjoyable to watch and interact with, but it is great to learn more about Rube Goldberg with the interpretation provided in the Conservatory. Come visit soon and see what all this hype is about!
By Kelsey Carlson
Posted on Jun 20, 2012
at 8:22 AM
Knitting and crocheting have previously been recognized by the public as a pastime for older generations. Hold that thought, though, because a revolutionized form of this intricate artwork is making its way into the mainstream of our society and the Butterfly Wing at Reiman Gardens: yarn bombing. Yarn bombing, or urban knitting, is a new and sometimes more accepted form of graffiti and has been quite the conversation piece to the visitors at Reiman Gardens.
Yarn bombing has been gaining popularity since it first appeared in the Netherlands in 2004, but the participants remain anonymous due to the illegality of the graffiti. The artists choose a specific area in their city and knit or crochet pieces that interact and conform to that area. After the knitting is done, the display is created in the middle of the night where participants hope to inspire others and add color and humor to an otherwise normal city.
In the Butterfly Wing at Reiman Gardens it’s hard to miss this new art form as it takes its role by adding color and variety to the plants and stimulating pride with the Iowa State University themed bench!
By Carly Lepic
Posted on Jun 15, 2012
at 8:37 AM
Some of the wildlife at Reiman Gardens has found a new home in the Stafford Garden. Birdhouses of all shapes, sizes, and colors have been popping up this week and will be on display until October. The variety includes traditional and eclectic creations, made of wood, glass, license plates, and even some sporting school mascots (Go Cyclones!) All of the birdhouses featured in the Gardens are top entries from the Our Iowa magazine challenge. Designs either fit in a “Most Creative” or “Most Unique, Functional Feeder” category.
Birdhouses originated in ancient Turkey as a place of refuge for the animals. They were designed to resemble architecture of that period. The birdhouses on display at Reiman Gardens serve the same purpose, as a home for the birds, although they are a bit more extravagant than their Turkish ancestors. Next time you visit be sure to stop in the Stafford Garden and pick out your favorites!
By Lauren Ehlers
Posted on Jun 13, 2012
at 4:54 PM
In the past month all the interns and I got together every week and discussed various aspects of Reiman Gardens and public gardens in general. We compare and contrast the different jobs that make the Gardens run and what goes on behind the scenes. We have the chance to talk with all the full time staff to see how their experience has been and how they have grown.
Another component of being an intern is going on various field trips that relate in some form to Reiman Gardens. It has been important for us to see how places in the areas are similar and different to our mission. This past week we had the chance to go to Des Monies and visit Better Homes & Gardens Test Gardens, Terrace Hill Gardens & Home, Pappajohn Sculpture Park, the Science Center of Iowa, and the Des Moines Botanical Center. While going to each place it was great to see what is different from our garden and how size can make a big difference. Each place we visited had an interesting story and concept, which added interest.
By Carleigh Rose
Posted on Jun 11, 2012
at 1:37 PM
One of the best things about working at Reiman Gardens this summer is seeing the faces of our visitors light up whenever they find a new LEGO® sculpture. Working outside around Lake Helen, which contains several giant lily pad sculptures and a koi fish sculpture is especially rewarding. Everyone from the age of three to ninety-three smiles and does their best to guess how many LEGO® bricks are in each sculpture. Seeing the guests so excited by the display makes the work day even more fun and enjoyable!
My favorite sculpture is the hummingbird, which is located in the South Field Display Garden. The way the hummingbird physically seems to hover perfectly demonstrates the idea of art imitating nature. As an added bonus, the flowers have LEGO® stamen and pistils, the reproductive parts of the flower, which incorporate the education component of Reiman Gardens mission statement!
I hope that everyone is able to come down to the Gardens and see the amazing LEGO® sculptures!
by Lindsey Smith
Posted on Jun 6, 2012
at 8:34 AM
We have finally made it to the month of June and what a beautiful month it has been thus far! Last Monday, our outdoor work crew was split up into three teams and was placed in a specific location within the Gardens. This is where they will remain for the rest of the season so that every detail of each area may be brought into focus, and we can work to make the Gardens a wonderful place for all our visitors! I was ecstatic to find out that my spot for the remainder of the summer would be in the Events Plaza and Children’s Garden. Going along with our theme year “Some Assembly Required”, our Children’s Garden has been transformed into an animal hotel, showcasing the many unique homes that can be created by animals. Along with our LEGO® building station for the kids, our flower beds have been transformed into specific regions to display different kind of animal homes. The LEGO® rabbit and fox are residing in our “prairie” bed. The bugs and birds find safety in the “forest” next to it, and the waterfall speaks softly for our “under the sea” inspired bed. Come out to Reiman Gardens soon and see it yourself!
By Carrington Flatness
Posted on Jun 4, 2012
at 8:12 AM
While walking throughout the Reiman Gardens the beautiful and unique displays of plant life can be seen. Many of these displays actually begin in one of the three greenhouses out of site behind the main building. Various collections for the Conservatory and Butterfly Wing as well as items for containers are kept in stock and cared for throughout the year. Other types of plants are grown for a short time and then removed for the outdoor displays. Being surrounded by all these unique plants almost every day is truly fantastic!
Most plants are harmless to humans, but some do have an evolutionary advantage against enemies. The Agavae amnicana ‘Variegata’ is one such plant and is grown at Reiman Gardens. It is shown in the first photo growing in the greenhouse before being placed into the Conservatory, as shown in the second picture. I challenge you to find this plant, but be careful, it’s sharp!
By Kathleen Miller