Missouri Botanical Garden

Missouri Botanical Garden
Missouri Botanical Garden
A view of Seiwa-en, the largest Japanese garden in North America
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
Coordinates: 38°36′51″N 90°15′32″W / 38.6141°N 90.2589°W / 38.6141; -90.2589Coordinates: 38°36′51″N 90°15′32″W / 38.6141°N 90.2589°W / 38.6141; -90.2589
Built: 1859
Architect: Multiple
Architectural style: Late Victorian
Governing body: Private
NRHP Reference#: 71001065[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP: November 19, 1971
Designated NHLD: December 8, 1976[2]
A manicured garden of Victorian style plantings at the Missouri Botanical Garden
The Climatron greenhouse at the Missouri Botanical Garden, simulates the climate of a rainforest for conservational and educational purposes

The Missouri Botanical Garden is a botanical garden located in St. Louis, Missouri. It is also known informally as Shaw's Garden for founder Henry Shaw, a botanist and philanthropist.



Founded in 1859, the Missouri Botanical Garden is one of the oldest botanical institutions in the United States and a National Historic Landmark. The Garden is a center for botanical research and science education of international repute, as well as an oasis in the city of St. Louis, with 79 acres (32 ha) of horticultural display. It includes a 14-acre (5.7 ha) Japanese strolling garden named Seiwa-en; the Climatron geodesic dome conservatory; a children's garden, including a pioneer village; a playground; a fountain area and a water locking system, somewhat similar to the locking system at the Panama Canal; an Osage camp; and Henry Shaw’s original 1850 estate home. It is adjacent to Tower Grove Park, another of Shaw’s legacies.[3]

In 1983, the Botanical Garden was added as the fourth subdistrict of the Metropolitan Zoological Park and Museum District.

For part of 2006, the Missouri Botanical Garden featured "Glass in the Garden", with glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly placed throughout the garden. Four pieces were purchased to remain at the gardens. In 2008 sculptures of the French artist Niki de Saint Phalle were placed throughout the garden. In 2009, the 150th anniversary of the Garden was celebrated, including a floral clock display.

After 40 years of service to the Garden, Dr. Peter Raven will retire from his presidential post on September 1, 2010. Dr. Peter Wyse Jackson will replace him as acting President.[4]

The Gardens

The Garden is a place for many annual cultural festivals, including the Japanese Festival and the Chinese Culture Days by the St. Louis Chinese Culture Days Committee. During this time, there are showcases of the culture's botanics as well as cultural arts, crafts, music and food. The Japanese Festival recently began to include sumo wrestling, adding this sport to taiko drumming and kimono fashion shows. The Garden is known for its bonsai growing, which can be seen all year round, but is highlighted during the multiple Asian festivals.

Major garden features include:

Tower Grove House seen here behind a hedge maze
  • Tower Grove House (1849) and Herb Garden - Shaw's Victorian country house designed by prominent local architect George I. Barnett in the Italianate style.
  • Victory of Science Over Ignorance - Marble statue by Carlo Nicoli; a copy of the original (1859) by Vincenzo Consani in 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.
  • Gladney Rose Garden (1915) - Circular rose garden with arbors.
  • Climatron (1960) and Reflecting Pools - the world's first geodesic dome greenhouse; lowland rain forest with approximately 1500 plants.
  • English Woodland Garden (1976) - aconite, azaleas, bluebells, dogwoods, hosta, trillium, and others beneath the tree canopy.
  • Seiwa-en Japanese 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.
  • 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 Tai Hu.
  • Blanke Boxwood Garden (1996) - walled parterre with a fine boxwood collection.
  • 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.

Popular culture

Douglas Trumbull, director of the 1972 science fiction classic film Silent Running, stated that the geodesic domes on the spaceship Valley Forge were based on the Missouri Botanical Garden's Climatron dome.[5]

Butterfly House

Missouri Botanical Garden also operates the Butterfly House in Chesterfield. The Butterfly House includes an 8,000-square-foot (740 m2) indoor butterfly conservatory as well as an outdoor butterfly garden.

Earthways Center

Missouri Botanical Garden restored an old building as a showcase home for green technologies and, through the Earthways Center, has been active in promoting sustainable practices to homeowners throughout the region.[6]

Shaw Nature Reserve

The Shaw Nature Reserve was started by the Missouri Botanical Garden in 1925 as a place to store plants away from the pollution of the city. The air in St. Louis later cleared up and the reserve has continued to be open to the public and for enjoyment, research, and education ever since. The 2,400-acre (9.7 km2) reserve is located in Gray Summit, Missouri 35 miles (56 km) away from the city.[7]

The Plant List

The Plant List is an Internet encyclopedia project to compile a comprehensive list of botanical nomenclature,[8] created by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the Missouri Botanical Garden.[9] The Plant List has 1,040,426 scientific plant names of species rank of which 298,900 are accepted species names. In addition, the list has 620 plant families and 16,167 plant genera.[10]

See also


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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