Right away we noticed the glass art throughout the grounds, beginning with an enormous blue and white piece hanging from the ceiling as we entered the visitor's center. We found flaming colors in glass onions, herons, and sunbeams along with more traditional statues. Most botanical gardens we have visited elsewhere have a combination of formal and informal gardens, and Mobot follows the tradition with a boxwood garden, and gardens dedicated to iris, roses, and day lilies. Their Japanese garden centered on a large lake, serenely calm and relaxing. If koi are priced by the pound, the fish in this lake must be worth about $100,000. They were the biggest koi I've ever seen, as they waited open-mouthed for visitors to toss them fish nuggets from a vending machine. Tropical plants are housed in a geodeisic dome for a green house. Mobot's Children's Garden is much more than a garden though. Children gleefully splashed in a mobile fountain that exceeds anything Disney has. Swimsuits are not required, and most kids just ran into the water shouting before their parents could stop them. If they didn't play in the water, they climbed on rock walls, hay bales and tree houses. The town "jail" had wanted posters for those evil plants Garlic Mustard and the Honeysuckle Gang! Kids in St. Louis must love going to the botanical gardens.
In addition to the traditional gardens and exotic plants, the Kemper Center for Home Gardening focuses on the homeowner, no matter how much space they may have. We were pleased to recognize many of the plants they recommended and picked up several brochures to assist our ongoing backyard gardening projects.
My favorite part of the prairie reconstruction area. Instead of neat beds with labeled groups of plants, the native plants seem to grow on top of each other. Not a shred of mulch or dirt can be seen!
We were surprised at the limited numbers and species of birds and dragonflies we found however. This single Night Heron was the only non-backyard bird we saw. And only a few dragonflies darted among the water lilies in the Japanese Garden.