Events Calendar

Evergreen Wreaths
Dec 5 @ 9:00 am – 11:30 am
Evergreen Wreaths

Join us for wreath making before or after enjoying Dad’s Belgian Waffles.  We will give you everything you need including guidance to create a stunning wreath of fresh evergreens that will last well into the new year. Please preregister so we can gather adequate supplies.  No walk-ins.

$15 members
$20 nonmembers

Soup Supper
Mar 25 @ 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Warm up at the Arboretum with a hot bowl of soup, bread and fixings.  Finish with a warm slice of pie or cake.  A great way to connect with the Arboretum during the colder months.  Speaker TBD.

Fee:  $7 per person.

Spring Fever Symposium – Kevin Vaughn
Apr 2 @ 10:00 am – 3:00 pm


Morning Talk – “Not your Grandmother’s Irises”

Afternoon Talk – “Hybridizer on the Loose”


A native of Massachusetts, Kevin Vaughn started hybridizing at age 9 and quickly had success, introducing the Sempervivums ‘Silvertone’, Emerald Spring’ and ‘Greenwich Time’ from his first crosses.  Nearly 80 Sempervivum hybrids of his creation have been introduced with ‘Lipstick’ and ‘Jungle Shadows’ winning awards from the Royal Horticultural Society.  Iris hybridizing started shortly thereafter and his first iris introduction, ‘Soothsayer’ was in 1974.  Several Miniature Tall Bearded iris followed, the hybrids ‘Little Bluebeard’ and ‘Real Jazzy’ were both award winners with American Iris Society.  Hosta pioneer Frances Williams gave Kevin a number of very choice hosta with the advice “it would be really good if you started crossing these”. He did and produced many award-winning cultivars.  From this work, Kevin was awarded the Eunice Fisher Hybridizing and Alex J. Summers Distinguished Merit Award.
Kevin’s interest in the inheritance of variegation lead to a PhD in botany from Miami of Ohio and a career with the USDA in Mississippi, investigating weeds.  In Mississippi, Kevin started to work on Louisiana and spuria irises as well as daylilies.  All of these programs have been successful, with 20 Louisiana irises, 3 spuria irises and 9 daylilies finding their way to the market. Kevin’s first Louisiana iris cross gave the highly popular ‘Red Velvet Elvis’ that went on to win the DeBaillon Medal, Caillet Cup and Charles Arny Award.  Kevin became president of the Society for Louisiana Irises and won both their Service and Distinguished Merit Awards.  During this time, Kevin co-wrote the book “Louisiana Irises: Taming of a Native American Wildflower”.  Besides these horticultural efforts, Kevin produced 18 Tradescantia hybrids, 3 border bearded irises and started programs in hellebores and daffodils.
Retirement in 2010 saw a move to a nice piece of property in Salem, Oregon where the climate is perfect for growing all sorts of plants. Besides the projects started in Mississippi, the Sempervivum breeding has resumed at a rapid pace and the hybridizing of iris of all types, daylilies and daffodils increased ten-fold.  Pulmonaria, heleniums, asters and penstemon are recent additions to the hybridizing program.   Despite this recent move, Kevin’s Garden has been on the Pacific Regional daylily tour, the Tall Bearded Iris Society tour and the American Iris Society National Convention. 2015 saw the publication of his book, “Beardless Irises: a Plant for Every Garden Situation” that has drawn high praise in reviews. A book on Sempervivum is currently being written and scheduled for publication in early 2017.
There will be irises and other unique plants for sale during the symposium.  Lunch is included in the symposium price.

Early Bird:

$50 for members (before 3/18/16)

$60 for non-members (before 3/18/16)

After March 18:

$60 for members

$70 for non-members


Maple Syrup Celebration
Apr 9 @ 8:00 am – 11:30 am
Maple Syrup Celebration

Taste real maple syrup and learn about the art and science of maple syrup production. See how to tap and cook sap into delicious maple syrup.  The event will include timber sport demonstrations.  Iowa State University Forestry Honor Society Xi Sigma Pi members will be preparing a pancake breakfast to help support their honor society..


Arbor Day
Apr 23 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Arbor Day

The celebration of trees is scheduled from 10am to 12pm and is free to the public.  Free trees will be given away at the event.  Tree climbing for children will be the highlight of the morning. Children will put on a harness and helmet and be guided by Iowa Arborist  as they climb a tree.  Demonstrations and other activities are planned for the morning.  There will be a special appearance by Smokey the Bear.   Join us for a fun and educational day at the  Arboretum.