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Missouri Botanical Garden

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This large geodesic dome maintains an average temperature of 85 degrees Fahrenheit with 85 percent humidity. The interior mimics a tropical rainforest, complete with a waterfall, tropical fish and a bridge where visitors can view the forest canopy. See orchids, banana trees, cacao and various medicinal plants. Also, look for renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly’s Sunset Herons, one of many glass sculptures found throughout the botanical garden.
Children’s Garden
The Doris I. Schnuck Children’s Garden offers two acres of fun educational experiences. A cave, tree house, waterfall and rope bridges create plenty of opportunities to play and learn. From the central Adventure Plaza, children can choose multiple paths to explore and discover more about prairie life, native wetland creatures and other topics. This seasonal garden is open April through October, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Additional admission cost is $5 per child.
Japanese Garden
This garden is inspired by multiple Japanese styles. The minimalist layout showcases the Zen Buddhist and Shinto veneration of nature. The Japanese name for the garden, Seiwa-en, means “garden of pure, clear harmony and peace.”
Chinese Garden
This enclosed garden represents the style most commonly found in the south of China. The marble bridge and the pavilion were constructed in Nanjing, China, and were then brought to St. Louis and reconstructed. Many of the plants, including the plum trees, lotuses and gardenias, were grown from seeds of Chinese origin.
Ottoman Garden
The Ottoman Empire (now modern day Turkey) had a rich history of gardening and made its gardens practical and beautiful. Gardens were constructed around existing water sources. Fruit and vegetable gardens were also planted in addition to the flowers. In keeping with that tradition, this garden fit for a sultan has fruit trees, such as pomegranates and grape vines, that are native to Turkey. Rose bushes and Turkish tulips are some of the plants that would also have been found in this kind of garden during the rule of the Ottoman Empire.
Rose Gardens
The Gladney Rose Garden and the Lehmann Rose Garden house more than 259 species of roses in 2,700+ plants. The Gladney Garden is more formal than Lehmann Garden, where the roses grow a bit wilder.
Orchid Collection
The first orchid at the botanical garden was brought from Brazil in 1876 as a gift to the founder, Henry Shaw. Now, the Missouri Botanical Garden boasts one of the nation’s largest orchid collections. See the garden’s orchid plants in the Climatron, the Ridgway Visitor Center and at the annual Orchid Show in late January.
Water Lilies
Water lilies can be viewed July through October in one of the six reflecting pools located throughout the property. Caretakers dye the reflecting pools black to keep the algae growth to a minimum. It also creates a striking contrast with the water lilies brightly colored blossoms. Some of the Giant Victoria water lilies have an impressive six-foot leaf span. Peak viewing time for these aquatic blooms is August.
Linnean House
Built in 1882, the Linnean House is the only remaining greenhouse on the property constructed during Henry Shaw’s time. The building was a former “orangerie,” a place where citrus trees and palm trees were kept for the winter. Unlike the Climatron’s tropical temperatures, the Linnean House is kept at a cooler temperature. This is an ideal environment for the camellia plants that have a peak blooming period from late January to mid April.
Tower Grove House
The Tower Grove House was the former home of Henry Shaw. The residence also has a history as a school, dormitory and office. It is located in the garden’s Victorian District and is open Wednesday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Victorian District
View a collection of Victorian-style gardens and buildings, such as the Tower Grove House and the mausoleum of Henry Shaw. The Kaeser Memorial Maze (pictured) is a representation of a maze that was planted by Shaw during the 1800s. In Europe, mazes were originally built for the private amusement of royalty, but became less exclusive during the industrial revolution. The labyrinths began popping up on the estates of the wealthy as well as in public parks.

Henry Shaw founded the Missouri Botanical Garden in 1859 as a way to recreate the beauty of the gardens in England. Today, the ornately styled garden boasts one of the top research and conservation centers in the world and is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the United States.

The garden hosts educational opportunities for children as well as events year-round. If you get hungry, dine at the Terrace Café or Sassafras, Missouri’s first green restaurant. Both eateries are on site, and nearby is The Little Shop Around The Corner with a selection of gifts, antiques and other vintage items. Proceeds from the shop help support the garden.

4344 Shaw Blvd., St. Louis
Hours: Daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Admission: Adults $8, Children (12 and under) Free

Text by Christa Connell
Photos courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden

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