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A Day at the Missouri Botanical Gardens
It was a hot day for June in Missouri, so a trip to the Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis seemed in order. The Gardens are glorious. Located in the heart of the city, the Missouri Botanical Gardens is 79 acres of diverse ecosystems.
We arrived at the Gardens about 10 am, right as the sun was really starting to heat things up. We met our friend Alice who had the unique privilege of growing up in the Gardens. Her father, Dr. Peter Raven, was the director who later became president, and then became president emeritus. He was the head of the Gardens from 1971 to 2010. Because Alice had lived on the Garden grounds as a child, we were lucky to have a personal tour guide.
At our first stop, we gazed up at the huge Dale Chihuly glass piece hanging from the ceiling of Ridgeway Center. Then we went through the Linnean House. Built in 1882, it is the "oldest continuously operating display greenhouse west of the Missouri River.
And then there they were. The roses. We had arrived at peak blooming for the roses and the daylilies. The perfume of the roses filled the air. Two more Chihuly pieces bracket the rose garden. To me they represent the rising and setting sun. The next stop brought the Ottoman Gardens, a recently built garden. The centerpiece is a lovely fountain and a cool “throne.”
At this point we were pretty hot, so we wandered up to the English Woodlands. Shade trees and curved walkways slowed our pace. Then we made a quick stop in the air-conditioned Interpretation Center, which links the Climatron and the Temperate House, to cool off and grab chilled lemonade. The walk through the Climatron was filled with orchids, banana trees, and about a gazillion amazing tropical forest plants. See if you can spot the Chihuly pieces!
At the Japanese Garden, feeding the koi is a must. This garden alone is worth the trip. Someday I want to visit in the winter. You could spend weeks visiting the Garden and still never see all of it. It is a jewel of a place.
For lunch, we drove a few blocks over to Rigazzi’s. Built in 1910, it is the oldest restaurant on the Historic Hill. We quenched our thirst with lots of water and a couple of peach mango Bellini’s. Fried mozzarella, toasted ravioli, house special salads, and plates of pasta conquered our hunger. Quenched and cooled off, we began our journey home. It was a lovely day filled with great friends, laughter, glorious gardens, and almost too much food.
Missouri Botanical Garden is located at 4344 Shaw Blvd., St. Louis. Visit www.mobot.org for more information and to see the special events they have going on.