Missouri Botanical Garden

1 decade 5 months 6 days ago July 03, 2006 Jul 3, 2006 Monday, July 03 2006 Monday, July 03, 2006 8:35:00 PM CDT in News

St. Louis businessman Henry Shaw once owned the property.

"He was a businessman from Sheffield, England," said Karen Hagenow of the botanical gardens. "And he came to St. Louis when he was about 18 years old, and he sold hardware and cutlery on the river. He amassed a nice fortune and spent some time traveling. And he was inspired by the great gardens of Europe and decided to found the Missouri Botanical Gardens as a gift to St. Louis."

Shaw's vision began in 1856 and, although he died more than 100 years ago, it continues today.

"He set things up very nicely in his will to ensure that the Missouri Botanical Garden would be operating for years to come," explained Hagenow. "You know, I think he would be pleased with the way things have turned out now. We've obviously expanded a lot since his time."

Hundreds of thousands of people file through the garden throughout the year, from children dashing playfully to adults strolling leisurely and every gait between.

"First it's daffodils, then it's tulips, and then it's, you know, the iris are blooming at Mother's Day, day lillies, roses and water lillies," added Hagenow. "And then, right on into fall, when we have some beautiful fall color with all the trees on the garden grounds."

Glass in the Garden sculptures are new this year, and will be displayed until Oct. 31. Visitors can also see sculptures outside, such as the Walla Walla Onions, but most of the exhibition is in the Climatron conservatory and temperate house.

And, Hagenow said, you can even get help with your green thumb.

"This is just a wonderful resource for home gardeners, whether you're an expert or you're just getting started," she added. "There are 23 residential-size display gardens, and you can get lots of ideas for what grows in the Missouri climate here and what you might have success with."

If you can't get to St. Louis, the Missouri Botanical Garden website has information about gardening and the conservatory.

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