Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Springtime at Missouri Botanical Garden

This garden has been the subject of at least a couple of other postings which I have written in the past several years.  We visited the garden again yesterday and I must say that this is the best time of the year to view the garden.  Many different wonderful flowers are presently blooming- some are at the end of that time and others just at their peak of beauty.  I was surprised to see that there are amaryllis still in bloom.
The Linnean House was our first stop, where I took the above picture.  The building was built in 1882 and is the oldest continuously operated public greenhouse west of the Mississippi.  The building was originally designed as an orangery to over winter citrus trees and other plant specimens.   As an aside here, and for those of you not familiar with the garden, it was built in 1859 by Henry Shaw a 19th century businessman who lived in St.Louis most of his life.  Not only is the garden's greenhouse  the oldest in the nation, but that can be said also for the Missouri Botanical Garden- that it is the oldest in continuous operation.
I think that the biggest attraction right now in the garden is the Iris patch.  An interpretive sign in the vicinity noted that the "Fleur-de-lis" is a term and symbol associated with a hybrid German iris.  According to legend the flower helped save the French army in the sixth century from a hostile army that had cornered them in a bend of the Rhine River.  The French king spotted a potential ford in the river by the presence of an iris in the water.  He deduced that it indicated a shallow area where it was possible for his army to cross and escape from the enemy.  The grateful king then choose the flower as a symbol for the royal family of France.
A wonderful floral smell was in the air as we approached the flowering bush pictured above.  I mistakenly identified it as a lilac bush.  It is instead a beauty bush from China, a member of the honeysuckle family.
Some of the charm of this garden can be found in its buildings which Henry Shaw constructed.  Pictured above is the neoclassic structure which is one of only five of  the original buildings left on the grounds.  It was constructed between 1859 and 1860.  The building serves as a natural history museum, a library, as well as a herbarium.  A sign in front of the building states that it (the building) "was a visible reminder to all visitors that this Garden is not just a pretty park, but also a scientific institution".
I just could not cover everything we saw in the Garden in one posting- so I will continue this later.

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