DOWNERS GROVE, IL – October 27, 2015 – In 2012, All-America Selections (AAS) launched a contest for its nearly 200 Display Gardens to encourage new and exciting landscaping ideas using AAS Winners. Five years in, enthusiasm for the contest has continued to grow, helping bring more inspiration and excitement for gardening to the general public.

This contest is a landscape design contest using AAS Winners announced in the last five years with the option to incorporate more than 80 years worth of past AAS Winners. AAS Winners offer gardeners reliable new varieties of flowers and vegetables that have proved their superior garden performance in Trial Grounds across North America. Each display garden is responsible for creating and executing the design and generating publicity surrounding the contest. The gardens must then submit proof of publicity for the designed garden and AAS Winners, as well as an overall description of their design. All-America Selections is pleased that such a broad range of garden types have participated in the contest for 2015: large and small public gardens, seed companies, community gardens, master gardener programs and university gardens. All-America Selections sends kudos to all the participating gardens and their creative efforts to produce an attractive display of AAS Winners.

The rules for the 2015 Landscape Design Contest were the following:

  1. The 2015 contest theme was: “Geometry in the Garden.”
  2. The entry form must list the AAS Winners incorporated into the design.
  3. A minimum of 50% of the total landscaped area must be AAS Winners and labeled with the variety name, AAS Winner designation and if possible, use the AAS logo.
  4. The entry form must include a written description of the design in 200 words or less.
  5. Eight photographs of each garden must be submitted in digital form.
  6. Local publicity is expected and will be part of the criteria for judging.
  7. The contest is open to current year plantings only, not previous year displays.


The criteria and final score weighting were:


  • 20% on the overall attractiveness of garden design
  • 20% on the creative use of AAS Winners
  • 20% on the promotion of AAS and this contest
  • 20% on the photos and descriptions
  • 20% on the total number of AAS Winners used in the garden explanation


There were three categories, based on number of visitors to that garden in one year:


Category I: fewer than 10,000 visitors per year

Category II: 10,001 – 100,000 visitors per year

Category III: Over 100,000 visitors per year

Honorable Mention, “Best First-Time Entry” Garden: Idaho Botanical Garden, Boise, Idaho. Proving that a big budget isn’t required to build raised beds, this garden employed straw bales as its method to contain soil and grow gardens. They did a fabulous job at it, too! If the mission of a botanical garden is to inspire creativity in its visitors, this garden certainly hit the mark.

Read full press release…


What’s Blooming 9/14/2015


Summers in the Treasure Valley are bookended by the yellow flowers of two of our most abundant native shrubs. In late spring, bitterbrush bursts into bloom and gives the foothills a creamy yellow hue. As summer comes to a close, the foothills turn yellow-gold with the flowers of rabbitbrush. With the rabbitbrush now beginning to bloom, it is clear that fall is imminent.

rabbitbrush1The two most common species of rabbitbrush in our region are gray rabbitbrush and green rabbitbrush. Both are in the sunflower family (Asteraceae) and are related to a couple of other well-known late summer/fall flowering genera, Aster and Chrysanthemum. Gray rabbitbrush (Ericameria nauseosa), also known as rubber rabbitbrush, is a densely branched shrub that reaches an average height of 3 feet. Leaves are narrow and numerous, and stems and leaves are covered in short, white, felt-like hairs giving the plant a gray appearance.

Many plants in the sunflower family have inflorescences that are a combination of ray and disk flowers clustered tightly together and arranged in such a way that the inflorescence appears as a single flower. Consider sunflowers, for example. What appear as petals around the outside of a sunflower are actually a series of individual flowers called ray flowers. In the center of a sunflower are dozens of disk flowers. The flowers of gray rabbitbrush lack ray flowers, and instead are clusters of 5 or so disc flowers. The flower clusters form at the tips of each branch. When the plant is in full bloom, the flowers create a sheet of yellow-gold atop white-gray foliage – a sight to behold.

Native Americans used the flexible branches of gray rabbitbrush to weave baskets and the flowers to make dyes. The stems contain a latex sap (which explains the common name, rubber rabbitbrush). Native Americans would occasionally chew the stems to help relieve hunger and thirst. A tea was made from the stems to treat coughs, colds, chest pains, and toothaches, and bundles of branches were burned to smoke animal hides.

rabbitbrush2Green rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus viscidiflorus) is typically smaller than gray rabbitbrush, reaching a maximum height of about 3 feet. Its stems and leaves appear similar to gray rabbitbrush except they lack the dense, white hairs. The stems and leaves also have a stickiness to them, and the leaves are often twisted or curled. The flowers are clusters of 5 or so disc flowers (again, no ray flowers) that form at the tips of the branches. Both species of rabbitbrush are commonly found together in nature, and so growing together in a garden setting they look right at home.

All of our native shrubs have ornamental potential, but rabbitbrush is particularly high on that list. It provides year-round interest and can be easily maintained in an attractive form simply by cutting it back by a third or more each spring. If it becomes too large and gangly, it can be cut back nearly to the ground and will regenerate, quickly returning to a more manageable form. Its vibrant, yellow, late summer flowers complement those of goldenrod and help ring in the harvest season.

You can witness both species of rabbitbrush in full bloom this fall by visiting Idaho Botanical Garden and strolling through both the Idaho Native Plant Garden and the Lewis and Clark Native Plant Garden.


Idaho Botanical Garden Announces New Executive Director

May 5, 2014 (Boise, ID) –The Idaho Botanical Garden Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Chris Wiersema as Executive Director. Wiersema was selected following a nationwide search and brings with her leadership experience in both the corporate and nonprofit arenas. She has established a record of achievement in leadership with local, regional and national charitable organizations.

Wiersema began her involvement with the Idaho Botanical Garden as a board member. In that role, she helped shape the current strategic plan which included defining the role of the Garden in the Treasure Valley, addressing sustainability and refocusing the vision for future growth.
Wiersema’s work as a board member and passion for the Garden led to her appointment in April 2013 as the Idaho Botanical Garden’s Development Lead, assisting the Garden in building a foundation and cohesive approach for effective fundraising.
Her extensive leadership skills and development background with nonprofit organizations make Wiersema ideally suited to lead the Garden into the next phases of growth. She has demonstrated the ability to work together with volunteers, staff , board members and our membership toward the realization of the Garden’s mission: To provide a full garden
experience for all ages that enhances community quality of life through plant collections, our education programs, and our entertainment, cultural and community events.
Wiersema’s passion can be seen as she talks about the Idaho Botanical Garden. “To me, the Garden represents an ever-changing, ever-growing community resource that is much more than ‘just a garden’, says Wiersema. “The Garden reflects the seasons of our lives as a place to
celebrate, and cultivate learning; a place to stimulate our mind and senses.”


2014 April Showers Bring May Flowers, a Plant Sale and a Free Day at the Idaho Botanical Garden

April 5, 2014 (Boise, ID) – The Idaho Botanical Garden is celebrating the start of spring by helping the community prepare.  Eager gardeners can attend hands-on classes, visit with local experts during National Public Gardens Day or purchase the perfect plant during the annual Garden fundraiser – Plant Sale.


Idaho Botanical Garden Plant Sale

Friday, May 2, 2014; 4:00 – 8:00 pm for Members only; Free admission.

Saturday, May 3, 2014; 9:00 am – 2:00 pm; Everyone welcome.

Half price admission: Garden members are free; General admission is $3.50; Youth 5-12 are $2.50; Children ages 4 and younger are free.


Local gardeners celebrate the first signs of spring by shopping for new plants at the annual Idaho Botanical Garden Plant Sale.   The horticulture team, with assistance from College of Western Idaho Horticulture Students, offers a variety of annuals, perennials and vegetables both new and old, that thrive in the Intermountain growing climates.  Guests are invited to take advantage of Garden’s horticulture staff to help select the right plant for specific areas.   Revenues support the year round operations of the Garden.


National Public Gardens Day

Friday, May 9, 2014; 9:00 am to dusk.

Free admission

The Idaho Botanical Garden continues its tradition of participating in National Public Gardens Day by offering free Garden admission – all day long.  The event is a national day of celebration to raise awareness of America’s public gardens and the role they play in promoting environmental stewardship and awareness, plant and water conversation and education.  Local partners will share information and resources regarding sustainable practices, garden design and tips that support conservation strategies.   Organizations that will be onsite from noon – 5 pm include:

Boise WaterShed

United Water

Madeline George Garden Design Nursery

National Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides

Cottage Gardeners

Willowglenn Landscape

Silver Creek Supply


Educational carts will also explain how carnivorous plants capture live food and why it’s important to plant pollinating plants for a healthy insect and eco system. As part of the Tomato Independence Project, we will offer a list of different tomato varieties and their best uses: canning, drying, sauces, juicing  and fresh eating.


Vendors Bel Cibo, brewery Crooked Fence and winery Indian Creek will be onsite from 11:00 am – 7:00 pm to satisfy hungry and thirsty Garden wanderers.  Free cake will be offered at 1:00 pm in celebration of the Garden’s 30th Year Anniversary. A small ceremony will take place to thank departing executive director Julia Rundberg for her vision, dedication and service to the Idaho Botanical Garden.


Old Penitentiary Historic District Neighbors, the Idaho Department of Mining and Geology, are hosting a free open house featuring guided tours, hillside geo-hikes, and a lecture by historian Troy Lambert titled, “ Out of the Deep Dark Lessons Learned from the Sunshine Mine Disaster.”    Visit idahomuseum.org for full details.


Continuing Education Classes:

The Idaho Botanical Garden offers more than 40 classes annually for amateur gardeners. These educational opportunities are perfect for do-it-yourself gardeners eager to learn best practices for lovely gardens that thrive in Idaho’s unique climate.  Classes celebrate healthy activities to connect with nature, to get active and unplug from daily stress.


Fairy Gardens: Adult and Child Workshop

Saturday, May 10, at 10:00 am in the Idaho Botanical Garden Cottage

Garden member pair is $15, Non-member pair is $20. Pre-registration required.


Create an imaginative fairy-sized outdoor container garden sure to entice any pixies wondering though your neighborhood. Plant a container with fairy-scale plants and construct fairy furniture using willow twigs and hot glue.


Free Wildflower Walks

Thursday, May 8, 6:30 p.m. and Thursday, May 15, 6:30 p.m.

Free. Pre-registration required.


Come join a celebration of wildflowers in Boise’s Foothills.  Guides will lead participants on a 1.5-2 hour leisurely walk on trails behind the Old Idaho Penitentiary. Native and not-so native species will be identified and discussed during the session. Attend one or both walks.


Tai Chi in the Garden

Saturdays, starting May 10, 9:30 a.m. in the Meditation Garden.

Free with regularly priced Garden admission – per session. Garden members are free; General admission is $7; Seniors and youth (ages 5-12) are $5.


Become centered within the invigorating morning sounds and scents of the Idaho Botanical Garden. Tai Chi, a meditative practice incorporating slow movement, has been described as magical and as poetry in motion. This popular class is suitable for beginners. The series will be held through September. No class on 8/23 & 9/13.


Paper Making Workshop

Saturday, May 17, from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. am at the Idaho Botanical Garden Cottage

Garden member are $30; non-member are $35. Pre-registration required.


All plant life is made of cellulose which is the main ingredient of paper. The paper making class, taught by master paper maker – Tom Bennick, will include handouts, examples of paper as an art medium, tools used, demonstration and the making of hand-made paper from various fibers.


The Science of Plant Color

Saturday, May 24, 10 a.m. in the Idaho Botanical Garden Cottage

Garden member $10; non-member $15. Pre-registration required.


Increase your appreciation of a garden’s beautiful colors through a basic understanding of how (and why) chemicals in plants interact with light to create color. We’ll also cover a few considerations for choosing and siting plants in ways that maximize enjoyment of their colors. Class includes a walk through the grounds to find examples of topics discussed.




Seasonal Hours and New Admission Rates:

The Idaho Botanical Garden welcomes spring by adding seasonal admission hours.  Visitors can explore the Idaho Botanical Garden 7 days a week from 9 a.m. – dusk, or 9 p.m.   Admission prices are Adults: $7, seniors and youth (ages 5-12) $5.  Members receive general Garden free admission year-round.



About the Idaho Botanical Garden:


The Idaho Botanical Garden began in 1984 and leases 33 acres from the state of Idaho with approximately 14 acres currently cultivated.  The Garden is located on land once known as #2 Yard of what were once Idaho’s Territorial Prison and later the first Idaho State Penitentiary.

The Idaho Botanical Garden is a private, non-profit corporation existing without state or federal funding. The Garden is completely dependent on tax-deductible contributions from community-minded citizens, corporations, foundations, and site rentals. The mission of the Idaho Botanical Garden is to provide a full garden experience for all ages that enhances community quality of life through plant collections, our education programs, and our entertainment, cultural and community events.

For more information call (208)343-8649 or visit www.idahobotanicalgarden.org