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Top ranked Botanical Garden and National Historic Landmark in St. Louis, Missouri

Updated on September 24, 2012

St. Louis Botanical Gardens

Japanese rock garden- St. Louis Botanical Gardens
Japanese rock garden- St. Louis Botanical Gardens

Missouri Botanical Gardens

A Must See When you visit St. Louis, one thing you must see is the Botanical Garden in the Tower Grove district. It is ranked as one of the top 3 botanical gardens, not just in the U.S., but in the world.

History and significance of the Gardens Henry Shaw was an Englishman who came to the little trading hub of St. Louis in 1819. He rode out of town into the country one day, up on a little hill overlooking beautiful trees and prairie grass rustling in the wind, and fell in love. As fate would have it, Shaw became a very successful businessman, selling cutlery and tools travelers heading out to the frontier. He bought the property that he had fallen in love with that day when he was 18, and decided to make it a garden like the ones he was familiar with in Europe. He also built his country house on the land, now called the Tower Grove house, which still stands and visitors can tour today.The Botanical Gardens is known not only for it's beautiful displays of plants, flowers, trees and horticulture specimens; but for it's renowned commitment to horticultural education, conservation and research.

The Climatron, the glass domed shape structure in the middle of the gardens, was named one of the top 100 significant achievements of architecture in the U.S. It has no internal structures and no floor to ceiling columns, so that there is more light per square foot than any other kind of structure, and it encloses 24,000 square feet of space. The Climatron's climate is that of the rain forest, with 2800 different kind of species of plants, 1400 species of tropical plants and trees.

Lily Ponds and Sculpture Garden The lily ponds in front of the east entrance, has huge lily pads that can actually support a human being! There are lots of pictures of guests in the 1800's and early 1900's standing on them in their best finery. The lily pads, lilies and reflections in the water make for wonderful photo opportunities today.

The Milles sculpture garden has seven bronze statues by Swedish sculptor Carl Milles. They stand in front of the reflecting pool looking toward the Climatron, and at twilight, the juxtaposition of light, reflection, and sculpture is at it's most breathtaking.

International Gardens One of the must-sees is the Japanese garden. Fourteen acres of understated beauty and peacefulness await at the Saiwa-en- , which means "garden of pure, clear, harmony and peace,". This garden invites quiet and reflection, with large wide open spaces, decorative trees, bridges, rock gardens and water. When the Japanese lanterns are lit at dusk and into the evening, there is nothing like it. The Japanese festival is held at the Botanical gardens every year, and is a fantastic two day event for the whole family.

Along the with the Japanese , other internation gardens include a German garden, Bavarian, Chinese, Ottoman, and a traditional English woodlands garden.

Formal Gardens Of course there are formal gardens of every kind imaginable.The Rose garden, Azalea garden, Iris garden and boxwood garden to name a few. The color and scent and beauty of walking in the midst of hundreds or thousands of the same species of flowers is one you won't forget.

Demonstration Gardens There are several demonstration gardens at the Botanical gardens where children and adults can go and learn about everything from planting bulbs, to learning about decorative trees, and how to grow a vegetable garden. These gardens are in self-contained spaces set on eight acres just for this purpose.

Finally, the authentic Victorian garden district, complete with a boxwood maze inspired by the one Henry Shaw made at Tower Grove Park, sits behind the Tower Grove house, ready for a race.

The Missouri Botanical Gardens in St.Louis is something to experience- there is nothing like it!

St. Louis Botanical Gardens
St. Louis Botanical Gardens


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    • Marie Flint profile image

      Marie Flint 4 years ago from Jacksonville, Florida USA


      This sounds like a wonderful place--I love gardens, and I like the fact that this particular botanical garden offers hands-on experiences.

      I only saw a few questionable punctuation usages (very minor). Overall, this is a nice write. Perhaps a few more pictures, especially on the specialized gardens would be desirable.

      You are very fortunate to have this botannical garden in your vicinity. I know if I were there, I be frequently visiting this place!

    • grinnin1 profile image

      grinnin1 5 years ago from st louis,mo

      Thank you for stopping by and reading!

    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 5 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      It sound like a wonderful place to visit. I love botanical gardens.