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Plant and Preserve: our English Formal Garden

The English Formal Garden and Woodlands Preserve

[August 18, 2017] The English Formal Garden and Woodlands Preserve lies tucked into a quiet, peaceful grove of deciduous trees, bushes, and shrubbery upon the easternmost perimeter of the Dubuque Arboretum & Botanical Gardens.

A tribute to Georgette and Frank Hardie

Commissioned by the children of the late Frank Hardie (the first president of the Arboretum in the 1980s), the gardens serve as a lasting tribute and memorial to parents Georgette and Frank Hardie. The symmetrical design, a very intentional arrangement of carefully selected plants and shrubs, showcases more than 600 perennials and 220 varieties. 

English couple instrumental in design and development

Dedicated in the summer of 2004, Chris and Donna Dumbell, from Shropshire, England, were instrumental in guiding the original design and development of the 3,600-square-foot Dubuque Arboretum & Botanical Gardens English Garden and Woodlands Preserve.  Since its inception, the Hardie children (Michael, Kathleen, Carolyn, Stephen, and Mary) have covered the expense of the English Garden, except for the Viburnum collection, donated by Dr. Eugene Coffman.

A timeline slideshow

A timeline slideshow of The English Formal Garden creation. [Click on any image to start the slideshow below. Click outside an image to stop the show.]

A gardener resembling that of an accomplished artist

Volunteer Stephen Hardie has also given his time and talents as a gardener, lovingly tending the landscape of The English Formal Garden and Woodlands Preserve over the past 13 years and providing on-going maintenance. Steve’s work as a gardener resembles that of an accomplished artist. The lush, growing gardens require regular sculpting, manicuring and weeding to prevent wild overgrowth and assure their signature beauty and vibrancy. Steve especially enjoys enhancing the color palettes of pink/silver, white/silver, blue/yellow, and purple/cerise hues found in the border plantings. The fruit of his labor is delightful. Steve relishes the tranquility of The English Garden sanctuary.

He who has planted will preserve.”

A small bronze plaque, placed near the top of the main pergola bears contemplation. It reads “Qui Plantavit Curabit” which translates, “He who has planted will preserve.” (This plaque brings to mind the Family Motto that hung over the main door of Teddy Roosevelt’s Sagamore Hill home.)

We are grateful for Stephen’s dedication and generosity as both volunteer and donor. The English Garden and The Woodland Preserve is one of the DABG’s most beautiful and treasured gardens. Thank you, Steve!

For more information about this garden, please visit our web page dedicated to the English Formal Garden

— Sue Lemon, Volunteer & Event Coordinator




[This article was originally published in the Spring 2017 edition of the Dubuque Arboretum’s quarterly publication, Ground Cover.]

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