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Pond Garden Will Be Added in 2015

The Pond Garden will be completed in 2015, thanks to a generous gift from the Museum of Visual Materials. On September 11th, 2014, the Arboretum received a gift of $120,000 from the Museum of Visual Materials, which will make possible the construction of the new Pond Garden.
Grace Tidball, chair of the board for the Museum of Visual Materials, presents a check to Judy Jasper, representing the Mary Jo Wegner Arboretum & East Sioux Falls Historic Site
The Museum of Visual Materials sees a synergy between their mission to encourage hands-on learning using all of the senses and the Arboretum’s mission to nurture connections between plants and people, past and present, in an inspiring natural setting that invites discovery.

The privately owned Museum of Visual Materials provides the Sioux Falls community with leadership in green innovations through tours, classes, and hands-on experiences. The museum, founded by Dr. Rose Faithe, is housed in one of the oldest buildings in town and one of the greenest buildings in the state: the building is South Dakota’s first LEED platinum certified green building. The hands-on museum invites visitors to learn with all five senses in classes or while exploring its exhibits, which include many artifacts from the Faithe family’s travels.
The Pond Garden will include a second pond, waterfalls, further enhancement of the existing pond, a boardwalk crossing between the two ponds, expanded landscape plantings, and a donor sign.

Archaeological Dig Uncovers the History of East Sioux Falls

Augustana College archaeologist Adrien Hannus has received grants from the Mary Chilton Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the SD Archaeological Society to dig into the past of East Sioux Falls. His work will bring him and a cadre of students out to the Arboretum this October to excavate several sites, including the remains of what Hannus believes were a hotel, a boarding house, an ice house, and two residences with accompanying outhouses.

Hannus’s work will add to our knowledge of life in early East Sioux Falls, an important part of our mission at the Mary Jo Wegner Arboretum & East Sioux Falls Historic Site.

East Sioux Falls was a quarry town that rose and fell with the quartzite boom of the late 19th century. Visitors to the East Sioux Falls Historic Site can learn more as they explore remnants of the Sioux Falls Granite Company's quarry, the Illinois Central Railroad line, and a re-creation of East Sioux Falls' unmistakable L-shaped schoolhouse. Arboretum gardens also show how early settlers used native and imported plants to sustain life in their community.

Tree Planting in the Fall

By Duane Stall, Forestry Supervisor, Sioux Falls

Summer blew by and now it is fall, but I haven’t gotten around to planting those trees in my yard. When is it too late to plant a tree in the fall?

Actually, fall is an excellent time to add a few trees to your landscape. About the only disadvantage to planting a tree in the fall is the availability of planting stock. However, if you are fortunate enough to locate your desired tree species, then plant away.

In fact, you can plant trees in the fall up to the time the ground is frozen. So if you can get a spade in the soil, you can plant a tree. 

It is very possible that when you plant in the fall, the tree will be dormant. It is easier to tell if a deciduous tree is dormant by the lack of leaves. Coniferous trees will have uniformed coloring and hardening of needles. A rule of thumb for evergreens is that conifer trees are dormant when deciduous trees have lost their leaves.

To say a tree is dormant is a little misleading. When something is dormant, you infer there is no activity. What you don’t see in the fall is the tree’s root system is still growing. Tree roots continue to grow in the fall until soil temperatures fall below 40 degrees. So even if your tree has no leaves, it is still growing underground. Therefore, a big advantage to planting in the fall is that your tree will have a head start when warm weather arrives in the spring. 

It is recommended to water all newly planted trees until the ground freezes. But there is a difference between keeping the soil moist and keeping the soil saturated. Remember a deciduous tree without leaves is not transpiring anymore, so excessive moisture can damage the root system. The goal here is to keep the roots from drying out as they go into winter.

There is something about working in the yard on a cool autumn day that lifts your spirits. These cool temperatures are also easier on the newly planted trees in your landscape. The physiological demands are less for a tree in the fall, and all they need to do is settle in for a long winter’s nap. 

So when is it too late to plant a tree in the fall? Answer: When the ground is frozen.

Contact the Forestry Division at (605) 367-8150 if you have any questions.

New Tree Commemorates Statehood

This summer, the Arboretum took part in a state-wide art project as part of South Dakota’s celebration of 125 years of statehood.

South Dakota artist Altman Studeny commemorated 125 years of statehood with his installation “Grow: 66/125.” For this installation, Studeny planted 66 bur oaks across the state.

Studeny collected soil from sites in each of South Dakota’s 66 counties. He combined these soil samples, then returned some of the soil mixture with a new tree to each site. Come visit the Minnehaha County tree at the Mary Jo Wegner Arboretum!
This bur oak sapling was planted to commemorate South Dakota’s 125th year of statehood. Just behind it stands one of the oldest bur oaks in the state. At over 200 years old, it is older than the state itself!

Education at the Arboretum

With grant support from the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation, the Arboretum has developed an environmental education curriculum for visiting school children. Spring lessons were debuted this April, and fall lessons were field tested with 1st and 3rd graders this September.

To date this year, over 1,000 students have visited the Arboretum with their classes, and more field trips are planned for the coming weeks.
The Arboretum offers a variety of educational opportunities for visitors of all ages. Explore the Educational Garden, whose displays and demonstration trees help children understand tree growth. Visit the Jasper Educational Center’s historical classroom. Or sign up for a tour, hike, or class!

Teaching Garden Unveiled at Ribbon Cutting

On August 14th, 2014, a ribbon cutting was held to celebrate the completion of the new teaching garden. 

The garden, which features four raised beds and a rainwater harvest system, was constructed in cooperation with Ground Works, a non-profit organization that trains teachers to integrate school gardens into instruction. Ground Works and SDSU Extension will use the teaching garden to train teachers and demonstrate innovative gardening practices.

The teaching gardens were built through a cooperative effort. Volunteers from Koch Hazard Architects designed and built the raised beds. Groundwater, Inc. installed the rainwater harvest system, which can store 500 gallons. The garden is maintained by Ground Works, SDSU Extension, and volunteers from the Master Gardeners.

Winter Hours

The Educational Center will be closed from October until the end of April, except for field trips and special events or by appointment.

The Arboretum and its gardens remain open year-round from sunrise to sunset.

Reserve Space Now

Whether you are planning a wedding, reunion, or business retreat, the Arboretum offers a beautiful venue for you and your guests. Reserve a garden for a one-of-a-kind outdoor event. Indoor space is also available.

To schedule your event, contact us.

Memorial Gifts

"After joining the Arboretum board in 2012, I learned of the option to purchase a tree as a memorial. My parents, Phyllis and Philip McKinley, were both nature lovers. We spent many hours during our childhood in the woods along the Cedar River near St. Ansgar, Iowa. Our family farm that ran along the river was Acorn Park Farms. It seems only fitting that I honor the memory of my parents with an oak tree. This tree will form part of a beautiful landscape where I can go and walk or just sit and reminisce. I think this opportunity will appeal to many people who want to pay tribute to a family member or friend who had a special connection to nature."
- Ann Randall

Naming Opportunities: Knot Garden and Wedding Garden

In 2017, the Arboretum will begin Phase 3 of construction, finishing the formal garden area and a driveway and turnaround for access to the area. The formal garden area includes the Knot Garden and Wedding Lawn.

The Knot Garden ($100,000) will be a traditional, formal garden, with paths and plantings artfully laid out to resemble the threads of an ancient Celtic knot to reflect the heritage of the inhabitants of early East Sioux Falls. Knot Garden plans include a formal water feature, sculpture bases, intersecting pathways, and perennial and shrub collections.

The Wedding Garden ($150,000) will provide a beautiful outdoor setting for wedding ceremonies. Improvements will include a pergola, quartzite stone retaining walls with a stage, and perennial and shrub plantings.

For more information about these or other naming opportunities, visit or contact Lori Kiesow.

Thank You!

Quarterly Report of Donors
July 1 - September 30, 2014

Paul & Mary Ellen Connelly
Trent & Laurie Dowell
Larry & Suzanne Fuller
Dennis & Mary Lu Green
Mike Crane & Candy Hanson
Marilyn & Leland Hult
V.L. Chuck & Sharon McCarthy
Keith Perkins III
Ray & May Schaefer
Sea Chiropractic

Gifts in Memory & Honor
In memory of June Daly (Candy Hanson & Mike Crane)

Become a Member

Founding Friends of the Arboretum receive reciprocal privileges (free admission) at nearly 300 botanic gardens, arboreta, and conservatories nationwide through the American Horticultural Society's Reciprocal Admissions Program. Members also enjoy discounted fees and early registration for classes, plus invitations to member-only events.

Membership contributions are tax-deductible. Gift memberships are available.
Help Us Grow

Wish List

Can you help grant a wish? We are seeking contributions toward or in-kind donations of the following items:
  • Landscaping service to build quartzite steps to the lower Perry garden to improve access for weddings and other events
  • Video camera to set up a live feed of Arboretum wildlife
  • Spotting scope for bird watchers and other curious visitors
  • Golf cart to improve accessibility at events
  • Trellis backdrop on the northern edge of the formal gardens
 To learn more, contact Lori Kiesow.

Volunteer: Teachers Needed

Interested in teaching a class or workshop at the Arboretum? We’re seeking volunteer instructors for the upcoming year. Volunteer to assist with a scheduled class or propose your own course and share your expertise in environmental education or local history.

Please contact us to submit a course proposal or to learn more.
Sign up to Volunteer
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Copyright © 2014 Mary Jo Wegner Arboretum & East Sioux Falls Historic Site, All rights reserved.

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