FRIENDS OF THE GARDEN/SPRINGFIELD BOTANICAL GARDENS
- The mission of the Friends of the Garden, a local volunteer organization with more than 1,000 members, is to inspire the discovery, understanding and appreciation of nature. The organization meets its mission by creating and maintaining the Springfield Botanical Gardens and by supporting the Springfield/Greene County Park Board.
- The Springfield Botanical Gardens is located at 2400 S. Scenic Ave. in the Park Board-operated Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park. The gardens surround the two-year-old Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center, the focus and centerpiece of the 114-acre expanse of green space.
- The Springfield Botanical Gardens include 20 themed gardens, 15 collection gardens, five natural areas and three play areas.
- A themed garden is defined as one that reflects a culture, a period in time, tells a story, changes seasonally and contains more than one of the main garden elements of plants, water, stone, wood, seating, structures, statuary, light or reflection. Themed gardens include: The White Garden; English Garden; Mizumoto Japanese Stroll and Meditation Gardens; Winter Garden; Federated Garden Club Perennial Garden; Heritage Garden at the Gray-Campbell Farmstead; Roof Garden Plaza; Woodland Garden; Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park entrance garden; Butterfly Garden; Bill Roston Native Butterfly House; “Windrider,” the Planted Butterfly; MSU Trial Gardens; Dwarf Conifer Garden. Themed gardens also include vegetable potager, herb, trial, turf demonstrations, shrub and perennial border and native plant gardens created and maintained by the Master Gardeners of Greene County.
- Collection gardens, one type or one genus of plants, highlight roses, hostas, ornamental grasses, viburnum, redbuds, dogwoods, azaleas, columbines, iris, daylilies, lilies, peonies, flowering shrubs, the Ethnic Trail of Trees and Arboretum.
- The five natural areas are restored or re-created landscapes that reflect the beauty of the Ozarks and contain plants indigenous to this region before the 1860s. They are the Kickapoo Edge Prairie, Native Wildflower Garden, Native Shrub Garden, Rain Garden, Wetlands, South Creek Waterway and Lake Drummond. The three recreational areas include a one-mile nature trail and separate playgrounds for pre-schoolers and older children.
- Fundraising efforts are underway for the Sensory Garden featuring an Edible Garden and Outdoor Kitchen. The barrier-free project is planned as a working and teaching garden to stimulate the senses of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch as well as provide horticulture therapy programs, youth education and culinary classes.
- Tax-deductible $25 annual memberships to the nonprofit Friends of the Garden, which include admission to the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden, 10% discount on merchandise at the Botanical Boutique and Marketplace and a one-year subscription to Greene Magazine, can be purchased at the Botanical Center.
- For information or interviews, contact President Nancy Hopkins at 417.425.9859. The website is FriendsoftheGarden.org. Contributions to the Growth and Maintenance Fund can be sent to P.O.Box 8566, Springfield, Missouri 65801.
1975 The initial 60-acre Nathanael Greene Park was created from property donated by the U.S. Department of Interior and Bureau of Prisons.
1984 The oldest house in Springfield, the circa 1856 Gray-Campbell Farmstead, is re-located to the park.
1985 The Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden is created on 7.5 acres, and, in 1986, the Springfield Sister City Association forms a relationship with Isesaki, Japan.
1994 Master Gardeners of Greene County develop the original demonstration garden.
1998 With a donation by the C.M. Close family, an additional 54 acres was added and the name changed to Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park. Friends of the Garden is organized to support the park.
2000 Friends of the Garden incorporates as a 501C(3) to help raise funds for the Botanical Center.
2003 A Missouri Department of Conservation grant helps to expand the park and clear it to create open space. Each year since, thanks to funds from the Close family and the work of volunteers, more gardens have been added and existing gardens expanded.
2006 Greene County voters approve $3 million to build the Botanical Center.
2009 Construction begins on the energy-efficient LEEDS-certified building. The Bill Roston Native Butterfly House opens featuring host and nectar plants to attract Missouri butterflies.
2010 The Botanical Center, owned, operated and maintained by the Springfield-Greene County Park Board, opens to rave reviews from the public.
2011 Friends of the Garden begins construction on the azalea and winter gardens and the Kay Cummins Finnie Memorial Dogwood Garden. Efforts to catalog and create signage for all the plants in the park are initiated.
Talking Points & Added Information
- Each garden has a history and an ongoing dialog. On any given day year around, an army of volunteers plant, weed and mulch a garden they have adopted. For instance, the Missouri Prairie Foundation recently adopted the Prairie Garden and named it after the Kickapoo Edge Prairie in reference to its proximity to its historical location.
- The Friends of the Garden is spearheading the drive to provide signage for all the plants in the park. Find out why this is important to visitors and for the national status of the Springfield Botanical Gardens.
- The natural areas of the park, including the rain garden adjacent to the Botanical Center, the native shrub garden east of the Butterfly House and the South Creek waterway, Lake Drummond and wetlands provide important wildlife viewing areas. Find out what animals and birds call these areas ‘home.’
- The one-mile Nature Trail includes interpretive signs and activities for families about butterflies, leaves, trees and mushrooms. Start at the Botanical Center, walk toward the Butterfly House and around Lake Drummond. There’s a dragon teeter-totter along the way.
- Horticultural therapy, locally sourced food and culinary knowledge are important to Americans right now. Learn how the Friends of the Garden and the Park Board’s plans for the Sensory Garden featuring an Edible Garden and Kitchen Classroom are on track with these trends.
- Stroll through the popular Springfield Botanical Gardens and find out about the wide range of visitors. They come to play, learn, relax and experience the great Ozarks outdoors.
- More and more couples are getting married in venues around the Springfield Botanical Gardens. The pavilions, flowers and scenic views make wonderful backdrops for pictures.
- The late Ann Drummond sits and reads peacefully on a concrete bench overlooking Lake Drummond. Visitors to the park are drawn to sit next to her statue and meditate on the beautiful view
- Find out what’s blooming weekly. Subscribe to the Friends of the Garden newsletter at on the link HERE.
NOTE: For question call President Nancy Hopkins at 417.425.9859 or e-mail email@example.com