Missouri Botanical Garden, part 4

Today I continue with my trip to Missouri Botanical Garden. I didn't expect it would take four days of posts to show the 3 hour visit, but it did. Well, five actually. There's one more post after today, so if you're tired of seeing the magic of MOBOT and want to see more posts about bamboo and raccoon damage in my yard, your wait is almost over.


Yesterday I ended mentioning the "Kemper Center for Home Gardening". This is a relatively new addition to the Garden, and on my last few visits here I always passed this by, thinking I didn't really have a need to see displays of vegetable beds or foundation plantings. Today I decided to take a look for the first time, and I'm so glad I did!


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This are does have a display vegetable garden, but it has so many other displays with fantastic ideas and so many different plants that are suitable for home gardens in the St. Louis area.

Have a shady area? Like ferns but don't know the differences between them? There's a large display here:


There are several walled rooms that have been created, each to illustrate a different type of home garden. This one is a courtyard garden that has features for somebody with limited mobility:


There are some raised beds and a raised water feature, bringing plants and the water up so bending or squatting is not required:


There's a vertical garden here too, although it's probably not at its peak this late in the season:


Another room is for a very small city garden:


With a water feature and bench hidden in the back corner. This was such a nice spot!


There was another room that shows a great way to provide an outdoor room that is usable even in the heat of summer:


It provides privacy, shade, some amount of shelter from the elements without taking you out of them completely -- again, some really nice ideas here!

For a complete list of all of the gardens in the Center for Home Gardening, click here.

There are other practical touches all over the place, from rain barrels (including explanations of their usage and benefits):


To cold frames -- which I keep thinking about building and may actually do this year:


There's a comparison of different types of lawn grasses:


They didn't have the clover, violets and pretty-much-every-other-lawn-weed lawn that I have on display. (It's a popular choice with me and my neighbors.)

It's not all just practical examples here -- there are flowering plants and color everywhere!


A nice example of foundation planting -- I love the multiple types of ornamental grasses here:


They even show what you can do with a fully-shaded corner to bring it alive:


Even the patio area here is arranged as a home patio might be, not as a commercial space would be:


There's good information all over the place here:


And such a beautiful variety of plants. I wish my oak-leaf hydrangeas hadn't died a few years back, and that deer didn't love them:


The star of the Center for Home Gardening though is this central lawn area, encircled by such an amazing display of perennials, grasses, shrubs, and trees:



This lawn area is so nice I wasn't sure if I could walk on it. Nobody else was. I noticed the plant tags though, so thought it would be fine. A passing employee confirmed this for me: "oh yeah, go right ahead! And let me know if you find my coffee cup, because I lost it out there somewhere this morning. It was a nice one too."

Click for larger version.

You really need to click this to see it full-size!

Many of these plants I was already familiar with, but it's so nice to see mature specimens, and to see them in a landscape setting combined with other plants.

There were a few that I didn't know that caught my eye though. This one for sure:



Its ID tag -- which every single one of these plants has -- was not easily visible, and I had to step into the bed in order to see it:


Tamarisk. Also known as "salt cedar", which I researched as soon as I got home and found out it is highly invasive in the western parts of the country. Hmm. I may have to contact MOBOT and see what they say about this. They don't usually recommend "problem" plants, so perhaps this plant is not an issue in our climate? I need to know more, as this would look good in my garden.

Another plant that caught my eye is this little bluestem grass:



It's a particularly attractive cultivar 'Blue Heaven' which I haven't seen before. The 'Blaze' that I grow is nice, but this one is very nice too. I wonder if I can find it locally and get a late-season discount too?

Note: I kept an eye out but didn't see the coffee cup.

My last stop in this area of the Garden was the building that appears to be a large, modern house, but is actually an information center, gift shop, and little restaurant. (This building was in some of the previous photos too.) In front of it is a small fountain with some raccoon sculptures:


I wonder if I had these in my yard, would the raccoons damage them in some way?

The most interesting feature inside the building (besides the drinking fountain) was a bee hive:



What a fantastic idea! There are so many plants nearby that are producing pollen and nectar, it makes sense to give the bees somewhere to live.

It made so much sense that they had a few more hives just outside the Center as well:



These were on the path that leads from the Center for Home Gardening to the Chinese garden, which I'll have to talk about tomorrow.

I'm so glad that I decided to see what this Center for Home Gardening was all about. It was probably my favorite part of the Garden today -- but probably because it was brand-new to me.


If you didn't already know, the Missouri Botanical Garden has a great plant database online, called their "plant finder".  For example, here's the entry for the Tamarisk I mentioned before. I often use Google to get to these pages, for example searching "mobot tamarisk". It's a great resource.

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Liz  – (October 16, 2011 at 3:50 PM)  

I've enjoyed your posts. I'm really surprised they planted tamarisk. I thought it was chilopsis at first (similar look, but not so ecological destructive.) Oh and I love weedy violet/clover/dandelion lawns. Sometimes I think I should spray mine a bit, but then spots with clover do better anyway, and the spring violets are too stunning. Plus I'm lazy.

Gerhard Bock  – (October 16, 2011 at 9:26 PM)  

Alan, I must say, this is my favorite of your MOBOT posts because, as you said, it shows what people can do at home. Awesome photographs. I'm really enjoying this series.

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