Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis: A National Historic Landmark

I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).

The Climatron Conservatory at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis

The Climatron Conservatory at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis

The Missouri Botanical Garden is a national historic landmark in St. Louis. Our friend Mary, an avid gardener, was happy to show my mother and me this amazing garden in October of 1998.

The garden was developed by Mr. Henry Shaw, who came to St. Louis in 1819. As an Englishman, he loved the gardens that he had known in Chatsworth and Kew and was greatly inspired by them. Mr. Shaw was able to retire at the age of 40. He had made a great amount of money outfitting settlers with necessities prior to their trek out west.

He opened his garden to the public in 1859. To this day it is utilized for research and education as well as a glorious place to leisurely spend time wandering among the collection of diverse plantings.

Mr. Shaw generously donated his home and garden to the City of St. Louis, and everyone is now able to enjoy the fruits of his love and labor.

The Climatron Conservatory

When first entering the garden, one's attention is drawn to viewing a long rectangular reflecting pool filled with water lilies. It is also the perfect display site for many sculptures. Numerous additional sculptures are discovered as one walks throughout the spacious grounds.

Many different types of blooming water lilies are seen anchored in this water. One large type of water lily has a diameter of 4–6 feet across! You can see this in one of the photos that I took.

At one end of this pool is the entrance from which one enters the garden. Opposite it, is the Climatron Conservatory, which was one of the first geodesic domed conservatories built in the United States.

Inside this domed structure is a tropical forest complete with flowing water and even a waterfall. Numerous plants that thrive in this warm and humid environment are to be seen and enjoyed. Blooming orchids and bromeliads punctuate the masses of lush green and speckled tropical plants of every type description.

Mixed among this collection is a surprising collection of brightly colored birds that call this environment their home. Butterflies complete this snapshot of what might be found in nature.

Moorish Garden

Inside what is called the Temperate House is a garden featuring plants that grow in warm and dry regions. Some of these plants include carnivorous varieties.

Moorish in design, orange, blue and white tiles were utilized to form an eye-pleasing pattern of creation around a central fountain. Blooming begonias in pots add color to the other lush surroundings.

Our friend and guide Mary is seen looking through the doorway into this portion of the temperate garden. It was a bright and sunny day.

Henry Shaw's Legacy

Henry Shaw enjoyed residing in his "country" home surrounded by his gardens. Now they are all a part of the Missouri Botanical Gardens which all visitors to this lovely place can enjoy. What a beautiful legacy Mr. Shaw left behind him!

His home is called the Tower Grove House, and it is furnished with Victorian furniture authentic to the time. The house is open for tours.

Henry Shaw so loved this spot on earth that he made provisions for it to be his final resting spot. A mausoleum was constructed with glass windows and the sculpture sitting atop his coffin makes it look as if Henry is comfortably looking outside at his beloved garden. Mr. Shaw died in 1889.

Japanese Garden

The Japanese Garden consists of 14 acres including a 4½ acre lake.

Among other things to be found here are the following:

  • Wooden walkways and other paths
  • Traditional plants
  • Waterfalls
  • Bridges
  • Koi (also known as carp)
  • Ducks

It is a peaceful and serene place within the botanical garden in which to spend time.

The Japanese Garden - St. Louis Botanical Gardens

The Japanese Garden - St. Louis Botanical Gardens

Distinct Areas Within the Garden Environs

There were many different areas in which one could spend time within this garden. There is even a tram that can be taken through parts of these recreational grounds.

  • Seasonal festivals add to the excitement and fun of visiting these gardens.
  • A Maze has been created where one can wander through the designed and trimmed hedges.
  • There is the English Woodland Garden. Imagine walking on shaded paths beneath tall and medium-sized trees with a babbling brook accompanying one. Wildflowers and other shade-loving plants are dispersed throughout this natural setting.
  • There is the Chinese Garden. Just like one would expect to see, the bridge, moon gate, pavilion, rocks, and water do not disappoint one's expectations.
  • The Lehmann Rose Garden consists of a profusion of colorful beauties showing every color and hue imaginable. It is actually an award-winning test garden.
  • Sculptures are interwoven throughout the Missouri Botanical Garden. They add interest to the natural features of this impressive garden.

We spent many hours there and could not begin to see it all. The total area to be seen consists of 79 acres! If you like gardening and enjoy visiting different gardens as you travel, my suggestion would be to allow an entire day or even more to see all of this historic one in St. Louis.

The Missouri Botanical Garden is well worth all the time you can spare to stroll through the magnificent grounds absorbing some of the well-planned beauty that excites all of the senses.

Wonderful video showing many areas of the garden and its mission.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2009 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed.

Robert Sacchi on March 12, 2018:

Thank you.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 12, 2018:

Hi Robert,

We all seem to have multiple things to do these days. I am also juggling several things at once. Will look forward to your future travel articles.

Robert Sacchi on March 11, 2018:

I'll have to put it on my list. I have many projects I'm working on.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 11, 2018:

Hi Robert,

I would enjoy that and I am sure others would as well.

Robert Sacchi on March 10, 2018:

Maybe I should think of another travel log from the present or the past.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 10, 2018:

Hi Robert,

Happy to be able to introduce you to the spectacular Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis. You introduce me regularly to things in your part of the country. Nice exchange!

Robert Sacchi on March 09, 2018:

Great pictures. This is another hub about an interesting place I didn't know existed. Thank you.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 22, 2017:

Hi Patricia,

Wish you could spend some soothing hours in that beautiful St. Louis garden right now. So sorry to hear that things are not going well for your precious family. Sending prayers your way!

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on April 22, 2017:

The next time I visit there I will know what to look for :D

Just want to let you know you are precious and so very much appreciated.

New things going on with my girl and my boys both of them....I posted a short update...so much is going on I have little time to come here to visit Angels are on the way to you and yours. ps

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 09, 2015:

Hello esmonaco,

I hope you get to visit the Missouri Botanical Garden someday also. It is a gem! Glad to know that you enjoyed this hub.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 09, 2015:

Greetings Ruth Cox,

In many of the gardens that I have visited, pieces of art are often mixed into the arrangements of plants. Some have more than others. The combination mix of artistry is really nice.

Eugene Samuel Monaco from Lakewood New York on January 09, 2015:

Thanks so much for the tour. This looks like a beautiful place to visit, I hope I can make there someday.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 08, 2015:

Hi Audrey,

This botanical garden is huge! We only had about a half day to spend there and did not see it all. If you ever get a chance to visit, plan a full day. You will not be disappointed. It is a beauty!

Ruth Cox on January 08, 2015:

Your photos of the Missouri Botanical Garden confirm a thought I've always had about botanical gardens just about anywhere... The art work is as appealing as and so complementary to the plant life.

Audrey Howitt from California on January 08, 2015:

This looks like a fun outing!! I love botanical gardens!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 11, 2013:

Hello Lastheart,

Hope your travels take you to St. Louis someday so that you can see the lovely Missouri Botanical Garden in person. Thanks for your comment.

Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord on February 10, 2013:

Peggy W This is an interesting article. I love these places. I will have this one in my agenda if it is in God's will my visit there. Thanks!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 04, 2013:

Hi Deborah,

If we lived closer, we would definitely like spending more time in the Missouri Botanical Garden. It is so large that one could linger in favorite spots such as you do and just absorb some of the beauty. Nice! Thanks for your comment.

Deborah Neyens from Iowa on February 04, 2013:

I love the Missouri Botanical Gardens! I try to visit every time I'm in St. Louis. My favorites are the Japanese Garden and the English Woodland Garden.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 25, 2012:

Hello girishpuri,

The Missouri Botanical Gardens cover so much ground that despite spending about half of a day there, we did not see it all. So if you ever plan a visit there, be sure and allow more time to see this spectacular site. Thanks for your comment and vote.

Girish puri from NCR , INDIA on August 24, 2012:

Hope to see Missouri gardens someday, but your presentation is so real, i m almost there, thanks, voded awesome.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 03, 2011:

Hello RedElf,

You are most welcome! The Missouri Botanical Gardens are so gorgeous. Hope you get to see them in person someday. Thanks for your comment.

RedElf from Canada on December 03, 2011:

Such beautiful pictures. I have read of these gardens, and now your photos make me feel as if I have actually been there. Thanks so much.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 02, 2011:

Hello Little Nell,

I've never visited Kew Gardens but obviously to gain national historic landmark status, the botanical garden in St. Louis is truly special. All I can add is that it is spectacular and beautiful and we did not even get to see every nook and cranny of it as it is so large. I would definitely like to revisit it someday. Thanks for your comment.

Little Nell from Somerset, UK on October 02, 2011:

This looks like a garden to rival Kew Gardens in London and the new Eden Project in Cornwall.

wonderful, thank you for sharing this.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 01, 2011:

Hello Deborah-Diane,

So glad that this hub about the Botanical Garden in St. Louis could bring back happy childhood memories for you. I'd love to spend more time there someday as it is so large and so beautiful. Thanks for your comment.

Deborah-Diane from Orange County, California on October 01, 2011:

Wonderful Hub. I grew up in St. Louis and remember going to the Botanical Garden as a child. This Hub brought back many memories.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 08, 2010:

Hello 2patricias,

Always happy to have links being shared between fellow hubbers. I do it all the time. Will go to take a look at your hub now and see if I can't do the same. Thanks!

2patricias from Sussex by the Sea on June 08, 2010:

I've just added a link from our Hub on the National Botanic Garden of Wales.

Your hub is so beautiful - I love all the photos. Next week I will take a look to see if there are other relevant hubs to link to ours - if that is okay with you.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 05, 2010:

Hello Lady_E,

Happy to hear that you enjoyed this hub about the beautiful and historic Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis, Missouri. If you ever get a chance to visit it, let me know what you think. Thanks!

Elena from London, UK on June 05, 2010:

Great Hub. Thanks for the info.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 16, 2010:

Hello Vacation Rentals at Lake Ozark,

You definitely MUST put the Missouri Botanical Garden on your "to do" list of places to see. Getting National Historic Landmark status tells you something, but seeing it in person is such an enjoyable experience that if you like gardens you will want to spend much of one entire day there. Our hostess wanted to also show us Grant's Farm the same day so we got a sense of both, but could have spent much more time in each attraction. Thanks for the comment.

Vacation Rentals at Lake Ozark on January 16, 2010:

This is the second hub I have read about the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis. Having lived here most of my life and not been to visit them, they are a high priority on my list. Living at Lake of the Ozarks, which is just a few short hours away, this is a must see for me. My next trip will be to see the beautiful Botanical Garden!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 21, 2009:

Hello loveroflife,

You've got that right! Besides that, the Missouri Botanical Garden is also a national historic landmark...so definitely worth seeing. Thanks for your comment.

loveroflife on July 21, 2009:

The Missouri Botanical Garden is another wonder in the "Show Me" State.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 02, 2009:

Hello Paper Moon, It truly is a gorgeous place. Nice that you got to see it in person. Thanks for commenting.

Paper Moon from In the clouds on May 02, 2009:

Oh my...I just returned from the botanical garden. It is truly a gorgeous place to loose ones self in. Nice hub!

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