Field Trip Fridays: Missouri Botanical Garden

8, August 2014
Lily padWoman playing violin on lily pad in front of the Linnean House. Photographer unknown, 1905. Swekosky Notre Dame College Collection. Missouri History Museum.
Henry ShawHenry Shaw at Shaw House at Missouri Botanical Garden. Photograph of a painting by Piaget. Missouri History Museum.

On Field Trip Fridays, an occasional series, we’ll suggest places to visit that have some connection to the exhibit 250 in 250. They can relate to any of the 50 People, 50 Places, 50 Moments, 50 Images, or 50 Objects in the show.

This week’s Field Trip destination is the Missouri Botanical Garden. Henry Shaw, one of our 50 People in the 250 in 250 exhibit, established the garden in 1859. He’d fallen in love with the grounds, considered out in “the country” in that era, and tried to design them like the great gardens he’d seen in Europe. When he decided to give the acreage as a gift to the City of St. Louis, he was encouraged by botanist George Engelmann to create an educational and scientific garden rather than just a park. (Tower Grove Park, also donated to the city by Shaw, satisfies that need.)

In the Swift Family Garden just outside the Linnean House, you can see pools filled with water lilies. The 50 Images section of 250 in 250 features a 1905 photo of a woman playing violin on a large lily pad in a pool there. Now is the perfect time to visit the Garden because the water lilies are in peak bloom in early August. You’re not allowed to stand on the lily pads anymore, but go take a look while they’re at their finest!

—Lauren Mitchell, Senior Editor