On June 11, 2009 we took a tour with June Hutson, Supervisor of the Kemper Home Demonstration Gardens at Missouri Botanical Garden. Five staff and 30 volunteers maintain this area.
The Missouri Botanical Garden is celebrating their 150th anniversary so the Kemper Center entry features a Victorian theme. Everything had been especially cleaned up to welcome the Perennial Plant Association and the American Public Garden Association. As always, the planning and the plant selections of annuals are made a year ahead of time.
We continued on to the Terrace Garden, a very people place with a gold and purple color theme. It's near the bee hive which can be viewed from inside the building and when the bees are swarming this area gets roped off even though the mason bees are harmless. The mason bee is a solitary native bee that should be encouraged into the garden to replace and supplement the honey bee. It looks like a cross between a small bumble bee and a large honey bee.
We moved on to the Ground Cover Garden where you could decide if the fine brown foliage plant that at first glance looks like mulch, would be something you like as a ground cover.
The Circle Garden (not sure if this is the official name, but it's in the shape of a circle, so that's what I named it) featured tea roses. This year they are trying a new variety with a pink bloom, Polar Joy, to determine its hardiness in this area.
The Backyard Garden is another people place showcasing plants that are good for winter interest.
Passing by the Little Bog Garden made with gravel and peat moss, we learned it must be watered with rain or distilled water.
The City Garden, as expected is private and small.
Backed by a variety of twig dogwoods, the Grass Plots had intermingled with each other and had to be replanted. With our challenging climate, it's interesting to see when cool and warm weather turf grasses look their best.
The Garden For All shows handicapped or challenged persons how to garden with raised beds and ergonomic garden tools.
The Vegetable Garden is ever change of course and features lots of heirloom plants. They discovered an 1887 seed bill to Henry Shaw and were able to locate the same plants. The harvest is donated to a food pantry, is used in other places in the Garden, or lucky volunteers.
A new space is the Carver Garden, a low-key place to stroll through showing off new varities. Carver was a plant breeder and "inventor" of crop rotation.
The Pleached Hedge showcases Foster hollies. We also saw the Culinary Herb Garden, the Plants of Merit bed, Foliage Bed, Cut Flower Garden and the blueberries ready to pick.
The Trial Garden has all donated material to be tested and evaluated. The results are posted on the web.
The Experimental-Earth Kind Bed survives on its own.
The Mailbox Garden has 39 cultivars of vinca.
The Perennial Border is always changing, moving. Clematis grew on the all posts and in reply to how/when they are cut--all the same. This border is lush because bare ground equals weeds.
We delighted in the scents of the Fragrance Garden. Unfortunately, a deadly virus as attacked many of the roses at the Garden and elsewhere in the area. Be aware if your roses develop rubbery thorns and tight growth.
Growing up green is the theme at the Children's Garden with a growing green roof, solar panels and wind mill. It's a charming spot enjoyed by all ages.
The Bird Garden is the largest of the demonstration gardens at Kemper, but you won't find any bird feeders. All flying guests feed naturally on the plants.
The Prairie Garden, despite being cut three times already was still four feet tall.
The Boxwood Garden has a new entry allowing visitors a choice of routes.
After passing the Fruit Garden and the Ornamental Shade Garden, we concluded our tour at the Overlook.
The beauty of the gardens were enhanced by June's tremendous knowledge, humor and patience. We enjoyed every minute.