Entrance GardenOur arbor structure at the arboretum’s main entrance was completed in 1998. It was designed by Kate Paul who was with the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum at the time, and the builder was Houska Construction of Pierce. The cost of the structure was paid, in large part, by friends and relatives of the late Buck Walmsley in his memory.
With built-in benches completely around the inside of the structure, it functions very well as a meeting place for arboretum tours. Trail guides are available for a donation of $1 from a brochure box inside the entrance.
The entrance area was landscaped using shrubs, perennials and ornamental grasses in 1999 and this provided the finishing touch to the project. Twenty-eight varieties of perennials and eleven different kinds of trees and shrubs comprise the garden. This includes a wonderful colony of over 60 Quaking Aspens which has grown up from five parent trees planted in 1993.
Historic Bridge Garden
During the early autumn on 1997, 415 perennials and 92 shrubs were planted on the approaches of the arboretum’s historic bridge. Funding for the landscaping project came from an 80% cost-share grant from the Nebraska Community Enhancement Program and generous memorial donations from Clint and LaVern Heyer in memory of Esther Lowry Childs and from Bill and Joan Chilvers in memory of Bob Chilvers.
The refreshing landscape, together with the view from the deck of the bridge, has made this a popular rest stop for people using the arboretum path.
Planted in mid-summer of 1998, this garden has become one of the best demonstration plots in the arboretum. The Xeriscape garden is comprised of 25 varieties of perennials and grasses and 15 different woody plants, all of which exhibit extreme drought tolerance. This garden was watered with a fire truck on planting day, and once more during the summer. Since then it has not received a single drop of supplemental water and no plant in the garden has ever been observed to show any drought stress. Although grasshoppers have been a bit of a problem, this garden shows that it doesn’t take a lot of water to have a colorful, refreshing summer garden in the landscape.
Funding for the garden was provided through a 70% cost-share grant from the Nebraska Greenspace Stewardship Initiative. This grant is funded by Nebraska Environmental Trust lottery money to aid Nebraska Communities in planting sustainable, environmentally sound landscapes on public land. Much of the remainder of the cost of the garden was donated in honor of Dorothy Fogle who was able to see the garden before her death several weeks after it was planted.
Wildflower and Ornamental Grass Garden
This garden was also planted during the summer of 1998 with the volunteer help of several local gardening enthusiasts. It is made up of 26 different perennial wildflowers and 8 native and ornamental grasses.
Also funded by the Nebraska Greenspace Stewardship Initiative, the grant match was met with donations in honor of Doc & Agnes Schleppenbach’s 50th wedding anniversary and with a memorial for Margaret Lunz.
One of the most popular gardens in Gilman Park Arboretum is a small butterfly garden located in the southwest corner of the area near Pierce Manor. It was planted in 1999 and is home for 20 varieties of perennials and 6 different kinds of shrubs. The butterfly garden contains plants for food, shelter, and wind protection to attract butterflies and it has been very successful in this function. Many different kinds of butterflies have been seen and photographed in the garden over the past few years.
Funding for the garden came from the Gus Buss family in his memory. A bench, placed in memory of Elsie Hartman, is also present.
With the addition of the handicapped accessible sidewalk, and a new water line buried to the area, this portion of the arboretum has been designated for development of future theme gardens for the arboretum.