THE BOTANICAL BLOG: Botanical Garden Update July 6, 2012
By Peter Longley, July 6 2012
Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center and Gardens
Work has been progressing on completing the Winter Garden at Close Memorial Park. It will be one of our larger gardens and within easy reach of the west side of the Botanical Center. There are not too many Botanical Gardens that feature a Winter Garden, so this could become an important garden for us featuring shrubs and plants that berry , blossom, and bloom during the latter winter months, or provide interesting stems in reds and russets. The garden will also feature mass plantings of early spring bulbs and should be at its best in late February and March. The area has been designed so that it will continue interest during the later spring and summer months including a delightful waterfall and pond area. This makes our third water feature in the park along with the waterfalls and ponds at the Hosta Garden and Dwarf Conifer Garden.
I would also like to point out our trial bed on the West Plaza of the Botanical Center building on your way down to the Winter Garden. We are experimenting with new varieties of cherry tomatoes in this raised bed and it looks like they are flourishing! The program through Missouri State University’s School of Agriculture is featuring the new varieties of Lycopericon esculentum Gardeners Delight, Solar Power and Cherry Punch and they are planted with new companion varieties of Tagetes patula found in Bonanza Harmony Marigolds and Disco Red French Marigolds. The companion plants assist with controlling bugs and diseases on the tomatoes. On our East Plaza raised beds are found trial annuals in new varieties of Celosia, Hibiscus, Coleas, Petunias, Peppers, Lantana and Treasure Flowers Gazania rigens. Further experimental new annuals can be found in beds between the Iris and the Day Lily collections south of the Butterfly House. These trial plants have been grown from Benary and Burpee seeds and they can give you an idea of what may be coming on the market next season. This is an important program for a Botanical Center and we appreciate Missouri State University sharing their program with us.
A Botanical Center with Gardens is many things. We are an educational institution, we feature botanical collections, we interpret aspects of design in attractive display gardens and we provide leisure facilities for play and social life within our grounds. That is what makes us now a focus for Springfield.