I love springtime with its landscape of greens, yellows, pinks, oranges, purples and reds, not to mention the fragrant whiffs of fresh springtime air greeting me each time I venture outside. Warm breezes, bright sunshine and vibrant pops of color rejuvenate my senses. Yes, one of my favorite times of year has finally sprung!
Take it from me, a stroll through one, or more, of Missouri’s spectacular gardens and parks is sure to leave you refreshed and energized. What better time to visit than in April when tulips are dancing in the breeze and hyacinths are filling the air with their sweet fragrance?
Consistently ranked as one of the nation’s premier public gardens, the Missouri Botanical Garden is also the nation’s oldest botanical garden in continuous operation (since 1859) and a National Historic Landmark. Home to gorgeous horticultural displays, the Missouri Botanical Garden is one of the world’s major centers for botanical research and education, and a welcome oasis in the city of St. Louis.
The garden’s 79 acres are filled with lush plants, trees and flowers (including one of the world’s largest collections of rare and endangered orchids), as well as beautiful water features and permanent structures.
Enjoy botanical treasures from across the globe in the English Woodland Garden (visit in mid-April for a spectacular show of dogwood, wildflowers and other spring blooms). The Japanese Garden is one of North America’s largest strolling gardens and home to hundreds of ornamental flowering cherry, peach, nectarine, plum, apricot and almond trees (the fragrance is heavenly during their March and April bloomfest), as well as the sacred lotus (Nelumbo nucifera), the beautiful and symbolic aquatic plant whose summer-opening blossoms open as wide as 12 inches. Experience the tropics as you tour the Climatron (the first geodesic dome used as a conservatory) and admire more than 2,800 plants from 1,400 different tropical species. The architecturally-rich Chinese Garden, modeled on the “scholar gardens” of southern China, offers a place for solitude and study, as well as social interaction. In addition to these and many other stunning horticultural displays, the Missouri Botanical Garden features year-round flower shows, classes and other educational resources, special events and live music.
A relative newcomer in comparison, Powell Gardens is located across the state in Kingsville, near Kansas City. Some of the more notable collections you’ll see here are its nationally recognized collections of magnolias and conifers, as well as the largest “living” wall of its type in North America.
Among Powell Gardens nearly 1,000 acres you’ll find several distinctive displays. Residents of the Island Garden include beautiful pools with more than 200 varieties of water plants; the aforementioned “living” wall and its rock-loving plants and herbs; a secret garden filled with roses and seasonal annuals surrounding a waterfall and pool; as well as masses of perennials and ornamental shrubs and prairie plantings. America’s largest edible landscape is found in the Heartland Harvest Garden, 12 acres filled with fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains and so much more. It tells the story of where our food comes from. The Terrace Gardens surrounding the Visitor Education Center change plantings three times a year, displaying spring, summer and fall favorites. The conservatory, the crown jewel of the Visitor Education Center, changes its displays six times each year showcasing seasonal flowers and offering visitors an indoor garden experience no matter the season.
Powell Gardens offers a beautiful, natural setting and fun, imaginative activities for children and adults alike. Their classes, workshops, special events, seminars and demonstrations foster learning and creativity for the entire family.
No matter where your Missouri travels take you, you’ll find spectacular gardens and outdoor spaces to enjoy her spring show. So get outside and enjoy nature’s feast for your senses at one of the Show-Me State’s top-notch gardens. After all, April is National Garden Month.
Find more of Missouri’s outdoor treasures in the list below, and at VisitMO.com.
Capaha Park Rose Garden, Cape Girardeau
Precious Moments Chapel and Gardens, Carthage
Chance Gardens, Centralia
Mizzou Botanic Garden, Columbia
Shelter Gardens, Columbia
Deutschheim Demonstration Gardens, Hermann
Prairie Garden Trust, New Bloomfield
Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center, New Franklin
Pinecrest Azalea Gardens, Oak Ridge
Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden, Kansas City
Linda Hall Library Arboretum, Kansas City
Laura Conyers Smith Memorial Rose Garden, Kansas City
Missouri Arboretum, NW Missouri State University, Maryville
Krug Park, St. Joseph
Forest Park, St. Louis
Jewel Box, St. Louis
Lafayette Park, St. Louis
Tower Grove Park, St. Louis
St. Charles County Extension Center Demonstration Gardens, St. Peters
Springfield Botanical Gardens, Springfield
Unity Village Rose Garden, Unity Village
University City Gardens, University City
Written by Mary Oberreither from the Missouri Divison of Tourism.