I thought it was about time someone did something for the ol’ town. So many take so much from Dubuque, but leave so little behind.”
-JACKSON (MAC) MARSHALL
In 1975, “Mac” Marshall (1894-1977) donated 51 acres of land — 36 acres of meadow and about 15 acres of walnut timber — to the City of Dubuque with three stipulations:
In 1976, Jim Schwarz formed the Tri-State Garden Club with the purpose of establishing a botanical garden in Dubuque and learning about gardening together. Also, at that time, Frank Hardie had an interest in establishing an arboretum. A collaboration began.
City leases 16 acres of land
The Dubuque Parks Department initially leased 16 acres of Marshall Park to seven Tri-State Garden Club members (Jim Schwarz, Gene Heinemann, Mel Gottschalk, Ambrose Hoeger, Marlyn Bausman, Jack Frick, Frank Hardie) with each member contributing $20. These visionary volunteers started it all by planting the trees, bushes and plants, and erecting fences and arbors.
The first officers of the association:
At the time, there were just two structures on the property:
The Dubuque Arboretum & Botanical Gardens had begun.
Nurseries donated plants + barn renovation
Volunteers began to build and plant
Frank Hardie, first Dubuque Arboretum Association President.
Leadership + Greenhouse + Plantings
New officers were elected:
Membership grew to 144.
A greenhouse was added on the south wall of the Visitor Center. Jim Schwarz (in charge of growing) donated the greenhouse.
More plantings were added:
Volunteers + More Plants + A Wedding
Volunteers Ambrose Hoeger and Mel Gottschalk were spending about 60 hours per week (each) tending the rose garden.
We were designated by AARS as an All-American Rose Garden Selections Public Display Garden.
Hard-core volunteers came to work sessions twice a week, doing what was needed indoors and out.
The McAleece Center was built.
Donations from local businessmen and others were published in the newsletter under the “Good Guys Directory” as givers of good gifts.
Some members planted special gardens:
The first wedding was held in the Arboretum.
Visitor Center created
After completely renovating an old barn into a visitor center for guests, a new foundation was poured in 1985, and a porch, offices, restrooms, and a meeting room were created. Ron Jungers designed and spearheaded this construction and went on to build the wedding gazebo and round shade structure in the Hosta Garden.
In June, the third annual Tri-State Lawn & Garden Expo was held featuring mini-workshops, live music, and food.
A recognition dinner honoring volunteers had to go to two sessions (Noon + 5:30p) because there were so many!
The Fall Festival brought out visitors for demonstrations, tours, entertainment, artists, children’s activities, goodies to eat, and garden produce to purchase.
GARDENER magazine features the DABG
The cover of THE GARDENER magazine was a full-color photo of the Botanical Gardens. Ambrose Hoeger wrote the cover story, a 2-page article with many black-and-white photos promoting the Dubuque Arboretum.
A map of the gardens was produced for visitors with ads on the back for 26 different Dubuque businesses.
The fourth annual Tri-State Arboretum Expo featured four different musical groups playing in the Gazebo on each of two days, 9 different educational programs, food, and fun.
Below: Gottschalk Tri-Level Water Feature (left); Rose Garden in Summer (right).
First burnoff + more plantings
The first prairie burn-off of the Jodi Bausman Memorial Prairie Garden (pictured just below) took place in April.
The DABG Library received 50 books in memory of Larry Taylor.
250 Oriental and Asiatic lilies were planted.
Jim Schwarz donated more than 300 new hostas.
In September, we celebrated “Arboretum Days” with food, a raffle, a Sundown Mountain ski pass, a bake-and-craft sale, a magician, and face painting.
In November, “Ambrose and Dotty Days” brought volunteers out to help winterize roses (pictured below at left). Aerial view of Roses in Summer (pictured below at right).
Waterfall + more plantings + technology
Many woodland wildflowers were planted by John and Cheryl Schwind.
New Perennial Gardens (above the Rose Garden) were created.
A new scented Geranium Collection was planted between the parking lot and roses.
Volunteers began construction of the Waterfall Gardens, a 9-foot waterfall (Marlyn’s Falls). The amount of rock is amazing.
Several Scout projects cleared trails and constructed bridges. The Sea Scout Cadet League and several parents helped clear brush, trees, and branches for a new service road at the top of the gardens.
New Perennial Gardens were planted above the Rose Garden.
The office acquired a computer, requiring better heating and air conditioning in the building. Mary Coffee was then-secretary to Gene Heinemann.
The Arboretum is growing: we recorded 150 volunteers, 35,000 visitors, and 28 weddings.
Greenhouse + trellises + deck + porch
A greenhouse was added to the side of the McAleece Building.
Trellises were added at entrances to the Hosta Shade Garden and the Jodi Bausman Memorial Garden.
The Visitor Center deck and Hafeman Veranda were completed.
Amphitheater + Music in the Gardens + Veterans Memorial
The Packard Pavilion Amphitheater was built by Ron Jungers.
Music in the Gardens (our free Sunday concerts) began.
The All Veterans Memorial was dedicated.
Sounds + an Herb Garden + pools + water lines + a greenhouse
Japanese Garden planning + a Butterfly Garden + the Herb Society of Dubuque
Jim Grady spearheaded this garden.
Japanese Garden construction began
Two “firsts”: a conifer collection + HerbFest
A second Conifer Collection was added + more construction
Another storage building was constructed
The Tri-State Garden Club erected a 24’ x 24’ storage building in the northeast corner of the grounds.
Roses + McKay Memorial Plaza
The Visitor Center was renamed
First Children’s Party + Koi Pond filled
A bridge + roads + a garden
The Formal English Garden was created
The concept of the English Garden was developed in 2001 as a tribute and memorial by the children of Georgette (1913-1989) and Frank Hardie (1911-2000), first president of the Dubuque Arboretum. The English Garden was completed and dedicated in July 2004.
The Memorial Walkway was created
A new memorial brick walk was extended from the parking lot to the Herb Garden.
English Garden completed + new president
The entrance gate received a makeover
The stone pillars and metal arboretum sign were erected at the entrance gate.
The Garden of Eat’n was created
Some call it a “food forest,” this aptly-named garden (Garden of Eat’n) is an educational display of a sustainable garden … demonstrating foods we can grow beautifully in our own backyards.
The Heinemann Center was remodeled
With the most recent Heinemann Center remodeling, the building (which houses the the Visitor Center, the administrative offices, and the Gardens Gift Shop):
Conifer Collections + Garden added