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Missouri Botanical Garden - Welcome to My Garden

A Botany, Plant and Gardening podcast
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Founder Henry Shaw welcomes you to tour the Victorian elements of his country home and surroundings at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Opened to the public on June 15, 1859, the Missouri Botanical Garden is the oldest botanical garden in continuous operation in the United States. The Garden is an oasis of beauty in the city of St. Louis with 79 acres of horticultural display, as well as a center for botanical research and science education. Visit www.mobot.org!


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#10 – Welcome from Henry Shaw
Stop on Spoehrer Plaza Hello, and welcome to the Missouri Botanical Garden. My name is Henry Shaw, and this Garden was my gift to the city of St. Louis over 150 years ago, in fact the locals still refer to it as Shaw’s Garden. Since 1859, millions of visitors have delighted in the finest of horticultural displays. Not only is my Garden a place of beauty, it is also a leading center for scientific research about plants. Today, it is widely considered one of the top three botanical gardens in the world. Please join me for a journey through our history. Follow the prompts on signage throughout the grounds to learn more about my beloved Missouri Botanical Garden.
#11 – How old is this greenhouse?
Stop at Linnean House busts / Photo of original landscape Although Henry Shaw owned expansive property, he planned the Missouri Botanical Garden for a relatively narrow strip of land stretching north from his country home. A fruticetum, or collection of shrubs, grew in what is the present-day parking lot. Just south of this area was the Main Conservatory, built in 1868 to house exotic plants. Shaw completed this small brick greenhouse in 1882. He wanted it to complement the original main conservatory pictured on the sign. He named it the Linnean House to honor Carl Linnaeus, the botanist who created our standard scientific system of naming plants and animals. The Linnean House originally housed palms, citrus trees, and other plants that could not withstand St. Louis winters. The original plants were all in pots; there were no permanent plantings. After World War I, the house was renovated: the roof was converted to all glass, and many loads of soil were brought in to create landscape beds. Rare conifers, rhododendrons, azaleas and heaths were planted, along with a handful of camellias. A central water feature was added and fashioned to look like a natural spring along the Meramec River. In the late 1930s, the conservatory was converted to house mainly camellias, which still grow here year-round. The Linnean House remains the oldest continually operating greenhouse west of the Mississippi River.
#12 – How did Henry Shaw use this building?
Stop at Spink Pavilion / Photo old entrance gate From the start, founder Henry Shaw had planned for his garden to be a place of public enjoyment. In March of 1859, the Missouri legislature passed the official charter, and on June 15, 1859, the Missouri Botanical Garden opened its doors to the public. Shaw welcomed visitors in grand fashion, they entered his Garden through the pillars of an impressive stone structure, in fact it was this building – well – more or less! Originally the Main Gate aligned with Flora Avenue, which at that time was a small tree-lined path leading to the Garden from the edge of the city at Grand Ave. Over the years, Flora expanded and the street was no longer in alignment with the entrance. By 1920 the original entrance was torn down and the materials reused to build this larger entrance structure, which is once again in alignment with Flora Ave. Today, this building is known as the Spink Pavilion and represents a fun bit of Garden Trivia. On the exterior of the building, is inscribed “Missouri Botanical Garden, 1858.” It remains a mystery as to why the actual 1859 opening year was not used. No matter the cause of the delayed opening; the earlier date is a permanent reminder of Mr. Shaw’s optimistic nature. In 1982, the Garden built a new visitor center entrance at 4344 Shaw Boulevard and the original Main Gate was closed and repurposed as a private event space.

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    Podcast Details
    Mar 24th, 2009
    Latest Episode
    Mar 24th, 2009
    No. of Episodes
    Avg. Episode Length
    1 minute

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