Yesterday morning after a great breakfast in downtown St. Louis my wife and I drove past Citygarden. Sitting at the stoplight with the highway onramp visible directly in front of us, we decided that a stroll around a garden that neither of us had set foot in before would be a good thing.

We both knew that Citygarden was only a few years old, contained sculptures, fountains, and plants, but that's about it. Sure we had seen photos of some of its features, but that's not the same thing, is it?


Most of the parks in the city are historic (like the one in Lafayette Square that we visited a month ago, or Tower Grove Park, or Forest Park), so a modern one would be a nice change.

We entered from the side toward the west end and the first thing you notice from that angle are the plants:

Everything is planted in masses, which fits perfectly with the scale of the large walkways:

There are lots of curves too...

...and a mix of materials including lush lawn:

I wonder how it looks later in the heat of the summer? We've had a good amount of rain so far this year so perhaps they haven't needed to water much.

The fountains had kids and dogs playing in them already...

...but that's not surprising I guess since it was forecast to be the hottest day of the year so far (93ºF/34ºC).

The plantings are interspersed with sculpture and hardscape and lawn...

There are apparently 24 sculptures in the garden, but I'm not sure that we saw them all. There is an app that will guide you, but I was already using my phone as my camera so we just discovered unassisted.

The sculptures represent a wide range of styles, and if you can't find something here that appeals to you then you're probably very difficult to please:

There is some great hardscape here too, including a large wall that contains seating areas and a camera/LED screen combination:

I love gardens that are surrounded by tall things like trees or buildings, and even though St. Louis can't compete with the skyline of larger cities, the buildings here work quite well as a backdrop.

Plus we have what nobody else does: the Arch! You've already seen it in those first few photos, adding a unique sculptural element to the otherwise average STL skyline.

Speaking of sculptural...

More sculpture in a moment.

Citygarden covers two city blocks, and they left the dividing street intact with colorful but moveable barriers blocking it off:

I wonder if this was done for emergency and maintenance vehicle access?

I told you this garden was quite new...

...but not so new that the plantings haven't had time to mature a bit:

So much oakleaf hydrangea -- clearly deer are not a problem in downtown St. Louis.

As we made our way to the northeast corner of the garden where the cafe is located, I focused almost entirely on the sculpture...

This one is animated by electricity
This one is animated by the wind

This one's subject is animated -- the sculpture itself was not

I especially liked this one:

"Kindly Geppetto" by Tom Otterness. I wish the lighting would have been better!

The pools were undergoing maintenance so were not functional, but there was enough water to make things interesting:

Even the cafe roof added artistic shadows!

This is the creepiest sculpture here in my opinion:

Creepy but compelling. If I worked downtown I'd love to sit and contemplate this fellow while I ate my lunch.

I found Citygarden to be a wonderful space, a perfect combination of natural and manmade. Sculpture is better when it's in a garden, and plants look better when they're complemented by the geometric lines of manmade objects. So nice!


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outlawgardener  – (June 8, 2015 at 9:28 AM)  

Thanks for the tour of Citygarden! I really enjoyed the sculpture especially the pink suit and the severed head. Looks like a great place to linger and think (not that I ever do that sort of thing of course.)

Mark and Gaz  – (June 8, 2015 at 11:03 AM)  

What a fabulous outdoor space! And I even recognised one of the works, by one of our favourite artists Julian Opie :)

Denise  – (June 8, 2015 at 11:54 AM)  

The Pink Suit reminds me of David Byrne's big suit days. What a great City Garden you have! The massed natives really bring out the regionalism, which anchors a park with so many different styles of sculpture.

Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (June 8, 2015 at 12:12 PM)  

You can tell that Missouri is NOT in the middle of a drought, LOL. This looks to be a great space. I actually liked many of the sculptures, including--and especially!--the pink suit. Is it a reference to Elvis?

Alan  – (June 8, 2015 at 1:50 PM)  

Three of four INWIG commenters mentioned that pink suit -- it's "Big Suit" by Erwin Wurm.

Mark/Gaz: I just looked at some of Julian Opie's other works, and I really like his style too!

Denise: The designer notes about Citygarden (you can read them here) are really interesting too -- nice job picking up on the regionalism!

Gerhard: No, we're certainly not. Luckily that band of storms last night was mainly to the north of us, or we would have gotten inches and inches of rain, instead of just one or two.

danger garden  – (June 9, 2015 at 12:02 AM)  

I missed the arch in the early photos and had to go back and find it! And Gerhard is right. It's so green...

Barbara  – (June 9, 2015 at 6:13 AM)  

Hi Alan - refreshing post and enjoyed the sculptures - great mix.

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