Last summer we had a great time in St. Louis visiting family and friends. One thing that wasn’t originally on our to-do list was the Missouri Botanical Garden. However, after I read that it was the second largest garden in North America, behind only that of the New York Botanical Garden, we decided to visit. So glad we did. I took so many pictures that I couldn't possibly share on here, thus I created a short 2 min video below with some of the pictures we took during our visit.
There are over 79 acres of splendid horticultural on display at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Also known informally as Shaw's Garden for founder and philanthropist Henry Shaw, it contains more than 6.6 million specimens. There are also more than 4,800 trees live on the grounds, including some unusual varieties and a few stately specimens dating back to the 19th century.
The first thing I really wanted to see was the rose garden. I love the smell of roses and was drawn to check out the Gladney Rose Garden. It was beautiful and smelled wonderful. There is also a beautiful little fountain and a cute little fence around the garden.
It was still quite warm in September so we decided to take their little tram around the garden as it was so huge. The tram stops at some of the more popular attractions such as the Kemper Center for Home Gardening, the Japanese Garden, and the Victorian District and Tower Grove House. It runs April through October and only cost $4. Not a bad deal and you get to learn a little about the garden as you go along the path. It was enjoyable, and I am glad with did it.
After the tram tour we decided to check out the Climatron. It is a huge geodesic dome and is very interesting. Apparently the term “Climatron” was coined to emphasize the climate-control technology of the greenhouse dome. It rises 70 feet in the center, spans 175 feet in diameter at the base, has 1.3 million cubic feet, and encloses approximately 24,000 square feet. It is a work of art in itself. Inside temperatures range from 64 at night to a high of 85 during the day. The average humidity is 85 percent.
Even though it was hot and humid, we spent a lot of time walking through the Climatron. I took many pictures of the more than 2,800 plants, including 1,400 different tropical species, growing inside. They include banana, cacao, coffee, many wild-collected plants, orchids, and exotic, rare plants such as the double coconut. I also loved the many waterfalls. Shocking, I know, lol.
- Tower Grove House (1849) and Herb Garden - Shaw's Victorian country house designed by prominent local architect George I. Barnettin the Italianate
- Victory of Science Over Ignorance - Marble statue by Carlo Nicoli; a copy of the original (1859) by Vincenzo Consaniin the Pitti Palace, Florence.
- Linnean House (1882) - Said to be the oldest continually operated greenhouse west of the Mississippi River. Originally Shaw's orangery, in the late 1930s it was converted to house mostly camellias.
- English Woodland Garden (1976) - aconite, azaleas, bluebells, dogwoods, hosta, trillium, and others beneath the tree canopy.
- Seiwa-enJapanese Garden (1977) - is a 14-acre (5.7 ha) chisen kaiyu-shiki (wet strolling garden) with lawns and path set around a 4-acre (1.6 ha) central lake. It was designed by Koichi Kawana and is the largest Japanese Garden in North America.
- Grigg Nanjing Friendship Chinese Garden (1995) - Designed by architect Yong Pan; major features were gifts from sister city Nanjing, and include a moon gate, lotus gate, pavilion, and Chinese scholar's rocks from Lake Tai.
- Blanke Boxwood Garden (1996) - walled parterre with a fine boxwood
- Strassenfest German Garden (2000) - flora native to Germany and Central Europe; bust of botanist and Henry Shaw's scientific advisor George Engelmann(sculpted by Paul Granlund)
- Biblical garden featuring Date palm, pomegranate, fig and olive trees, caper, mint, citron and other plants mentioned in the Bible.
- Ottoman garden with water features and xeriscape.
We had a great time exploring the Missouri Botanical Garden and it should definitely be on your to-do list while visiting the St. Louis area. Here is a link to their website with hours, prices, etc. Hope you get to visit and explore on your own one day. If flowers aren't your thing, but you like gardens, feel free to check out the other gardens we visited while in St Louis. They are the Laumeier Sculpture Park and the Ellen Clark Sculpture Park. Both are also very interesting.