Gardening on the Great Plains
The Dyck Arboretum of the Plains, established in 1981, affords visitors the rare opportunity to experience the wildflowers of the Great Plains in cultivation. At the edge of the buffalo grass meadow encircling the lake, beds of tallgrass, shortgrass and mixed grass prairie plants are alive with seasonal rhythms of architecture, color, texture and pollinators. For the gardener attempting to forge a new landscape aesthetic, the hundreds of labeled varieties of native and adaptable wildflowers, grasses, shrubs and trees are a lexicon of the promise and possibilities of native plant gardening.
The ever-changing nature of the garden is a fertile backdrop for the process of reflection and meditation. Add the songbirds, beneficial insects and butterflies, the dome of Kansas skies and clouds, and cooling or warming breezes and you have the ingredients for healing, creating, playing, discovering, exercising heart, mind, and soul. The half mile walking path with benches provides new discoveries in all four seasons.
The Visitor and Education Center with stone and wood exterior was designed to convey an image of the ridge and valley topography reminiscent of the Flint Hills of Kansas. The natural world is the focus of arboretum seminars and workshops. Connecting with the natural world and with each other is the reason families, civic clubs, and business organizations enjoy renting the building and the grounds. Seasonal art exhibits in the gallery add a visual reference connecting the artist’s point of view and the viewer.
Seminars, workshops and activities for children and adults are a forum for conservation issues, prairie ecology, and rediscovering the rich horticultural heritage of the Great Plains. Scientific, art, literary, and musical programs help unveil the magnificent complexities of our natural world.