by Jennifer Adele
Almost everyone in St. Louis has at least heard of the Missouri Botanical Garden, and a great many people have been there at some point, either to just peruse and enjoy the beauty at leisure or to indulge in a specific event or educational endeavor. There is no denying this place has drawn magnitude of visitors with the kind of energy all well-preserved and truly cared for natural settings tend to have for those willing to take a moment and visit… and sense…
Founded in 1859, the Missouri Botanical Garden is the nation’s oldest botanical gardens in continuous operation and a National Historic Landmark. The Garden itself is a center for botanical research and science education, as well as an oasis in the city of St. Louis. As a native of St. Louis, I can tell you there always seems to be something to do or discover there. The Garden offers 79 luscious acres of fantastic horticultural displays, including a 14-acre Japanese strolling garden, Henry Shaw’s original 1850 estate home (an absolute favorite of mine), and one of the world’s largest collections of rare and endangered orchids! For over 150+ years, the Missouri Botanical Garden has been a haven and green space for nature lovers in the city, a place of beauty and family fun, as well as a center for knowledge and conservation efforts.
I think as a writer, the most intriguing aspects about this location are not only the plants themselves but the wide variety of structures. Statuary can be found dispersed all throughout the scenic grounds, denoting wildly different styles and influences. You can summon forth almost any storyline or inspirational spark just from the sheer natural beauty alone, but the Gardens offer so much more. There is a continual feeling of discovery – a new and interesting design amid nature’s beauty and bounty is manifest at every turn.
Of course, along with inspirational nature and Statuary, the Shaw Estate Home is nothing short of amazing. Built with such majesty and attention to detail, a tour through the house is sure to conjure up all sorts of romantic, mysterious, and historical possibilities for writers and media artists alike. The plant life, mazes, masses of greenery, and the floral outbursts which surround the estate bring out flights of fancy as well, if the estate itself is not enough.
The Missouri Botanical Garden is certainly a spot where artists and authors can summon the muse for any genre or style for any and all means and media. I go there to find my own sense of adventure and to create story lines that have fantastic details and facets, facets that can twist and turn all throughout the writer’s own individual process. Why not get out there, and maybe even pay a small entrance fee if need be, and see what the historically significant and incredibly diverse Missouri Botanical Garden can call forth from within you?