Missouri Botanical Garden, part 5

We've finally made it to the last post about my visit last week to Missouri Botanical Garden. I knew I took a lot of photos and saw so much cool stuff, but never thought that a 3-hour visit would result in five posts about it! If you missed the earlier parts, they're here: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4.


After leaving the Kemper Center for Home Gardening I made my way to the Chinese garden. This is a rather small garden, especially when compared to the gigantic Japanese garden. It contains a high density of cool plants though.

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This garden seems very private, as you  enter through what appears to be a gate in a wall:


I'm pretty sure the wall does not completely surround this garden, but it seems like it due to bordering plantings. In any case once you're in this private area you see some beautiful structures like the bridge in the first photo, the gate, the wall, and this pergola:


(Again, a bench with a solitary reader on it. I'll have to come back when the weather is less than perfect and see if the benches remain occupied.)

The Japanese garden has the lake, but there is water here too, flowing down a waterfall into a pond:


It's quite nice, and the smaller scale of this garden makes it feel "secret", as if you've just discovered some magical spot in a forest somewhere.


The surrounding "forest" contains trees and some bamboo:


Again the bamboo is just the common "Yellow Groove", but I expect they use that species because it is one of the most cold-hardy for our climate. Even a common bamboo is better than no bamboo, right?

The edges of the pond are planted with a wide variety of plants providing color and textural contrast:


The huge rock fits the scene so well, and since it's not a type of rock that we typically see in Missouri, it helps the illusion that we're in a faraway land, not in urban St. Louis.

As I said, the Chinese garden is small, but packed with cool plants. I like this textural groundcover:


I'm not sure if bananas grow in China, but they make a nice canopy here:


This plant I must have:


It's a dwarf mondo grass, and is so cool! I'm not a big fan of normal mondo grass, but this tiny version is worth checking into I think. Seeing it growing here gives me hope that I'll be able to grow it in my own garden too. (Alas, I researched this when I got home and found that it's not cold-hardy enough for our climate. They must dig this up and overwinter in a greenhouse, or provide protection in some other way. I wonder who there I could ask about this?)

Exiting the Chinese garden (or entering if you're coming from the other direction) you get another taste of bamboo, again "Yellow Groove":


It looks so good next to that wall. Someday maybe I'll have a garden with walls -- they're such nice structural elements!


In this last photo you can see a couple of more bamboos. The large-leaved one is listed as Indocalamus latifolius but the tag is in the wrong place: in front of the Yellow Groove. From a previous trip I remember that's where it used to be, but now it's only growing mixed in with the Yellow Groove. The area in front of that contains a small variegated bamboo that could be Pleioblastus fortunei or Sasaella masamuneana 'Albostriata' -- there's no tag for it and it's still quite small (it's just below the rock at the bottom edge of the photo).

I need to talk to somebody here about their bamboo collection I think.

After leaving the Chinese garden I caught this amazing view of fall-colored plants with the Climatron in the background:



The Coleus is the star of these beds, as its rusty red color really grabs your attention. What fantastic placement and combination of these plants. Just beautiful!

This next photo contains something that I really want for my garden:


Can you guess what it is? If you said "bench" you'd be wrong. Well, you'd be right, but there's something else in this photo that I want more. It's the little figure standing in the background in the upper right of the photo, watering the newly-seeded lawn. A helper like this would be oh-so-useful around my place.

As I went around the corner, I noticed a few more elephant ears:


Well, more than just a few. There must be at least 500 elephant ear plants here -- maybe much more than that! Plus bananas, palms, caladium -- so much to see!


These are planted in a bed that arcs around, so if you stand in the right spot you'll be surrounded by at least 180º of tropical lushness:

You must experience this large size: click it!


I saw many of the species and cultivars that I've collected this year, and I'm hoping I'll be able to create something like this but on a smaller scale next year in my garden. Wow.

As I continued past the Climatron heading toward the Garden exit -- as I said before, I'm not going into it on this visit, but will wait for a colder day for its dose of the tropics -- I also passed by the rock garden:


That reminded me that there's also a "temperate house" next to the Climatron that used to contain cactus and other succulents, but I don't know what's in there now. It's been years since I've seen it. I'll hit all of those on another trip, although the rock garden may not be much to look at this winter.

So three hours in one of this country's best botanical gardens: what a way to spend a warm fall afternoon!

I hope you've enjoyed this longer-than-expected tour, and that you'll add MOBOT to your list of places to see next time you're in St. Louis. I also hope you'll utilize their website, especially the plant finder. It's a great resourse!

Some helpful links:

Missouri Botanical Garden website
Membership information
The Garden on Google Maps
The MOBOT Plant Finder
Kemper Center for Home Gardening

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Gerhard Bock  – (October 17, 2011 at 12:14 PM)  

Wow, the Chinese garden is fantastic. In fact, I like it even more than the Japanese garden. It's more intimate, as you said, and it has a larger variety of plants, it seems.

TheGardeningBlog  – (October 25, 2011 at 6:34 PM)  

Alan, I'm busy catching up on posts I missed whilst I was in Missouri for two weeks and now I really wish I had been in the right head space to go to MOBOT. my brother and I are going back next year and I'll have to drag him along - this looks really beautiful!!

PS I have that miniature mondo grass. it's super hardy here. and lovely!

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