It’s November and it’s only just started getting cold here in Iowa. A couple of weekends back I visited the Dubuque Arboretum, hoping to catch it before the ‘end of the season’. There’s a public garden back in my home town in the UK and it’s one of my favourite places so I couldn’t wait to see how the Arboretum compared. But I was too late! The day I visited was the first volunteering day of the ‘winterisation process’. Basically they dig up all the plants and store them in a green house for the winter months so they don’t die!
I thought it wouldn’t matter so much, I’d still be able to see the Koi fish pond in the Japanese Gardens, I knew it even had a waterfall too! BUT. The lining in the bottom of the pond had started leaking so it had been drained and all the Koi had been moved to another temporary location while the pond gets repaired! I was gutted, I was really looking forward to seeing it and spending some time with my camera!
But when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. The gardens are free to enter so I still had a little wander round. The Arboretum covers 52 acres of ground which makes it the largest gardens in America to be run by volunteers. Along with the Japanese Gardens, there are: English Gardens (which I was particularly excited about!), Rose Gardens, Cactus Gardens, Herb Gardens and several others.
The leaves on the trees were all changing colours, one particular tree was SO orange it looked like it was on fire, I’ve never seen leaves quite so bright before! This was in the Japanese Gardens, my favourite area of the gardens, despite the lack of the fish pond! There were Japanese style concrete statues, little wooden bridges and benches hidden in quiet spaces.
I had heard that the Arboretum was popular for outdoor weddings and wedding photography (my wedding photos were taken in the public gardens in my hometown too!), despite the lack of flowers, there was still a family having their 2016 Christmas photos taken in front of a backdrop of multi coloured ‘autumn’ trees. Events are held in the summer months too.
There is also plenty to keep children entertained. As well as big open spaces, there’s playground equipment (away from all the delicate flowers and plants!) and the National River Museum in Dubuque had donated a giant lizard statue, painted with a bright ‘hide and seek’ mural. A card nearby has a big list of different animals and objects to try and find on the lizard, Where’s Wally/Waldo style! Of course I had a selfie with it because it was cute!
I can’t wait to go back and visit in the spring! I’ll make sure I leave it late enough though for the flowers to be replanted and the Koi to be back in their pond!
Have you ever visited the Dubuque Arboretum or do you have a favourite public garden? Let me know in the comments below!