Holiday Exhibit Celebrates Milestone

Gardenland Express, a new exhibit at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, celebrates 150 years of the garden’s history.


| November 6, 2009



Families enjoy the fresh flowers and moving trains in the Gardenland Express display at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis.

Families enjoy the fresh flowers and moving trains in the Gardenland Express display at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis.

courtesy Leslie Wallace/Missouri Botanical Garden

St. Louis – For 150 years, the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis has been a top destination for visitors seeking a scenic respite among bountiful blooms. Winter is no exception. Since 1915, the garden has blended plants with seasonal décor in an indoor holiday spectacle enjoyed by all ages.

In 2009, the “Gardenland Express” holiday flower and train show celebrates 150 Years of the Garden through a vibrant spectrum of bold botanicals. See the festive showcase on display Wednesday, November 25, through Sunday, January 3, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (closes at 4 p.m. Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve; closed Christmas Day).

“This year’s show is a departure from the traditional notion of our holiday flower show,” says Pat Scace, floral display designer. “For our sesquicentennial, we really wanted to ‘wow’ visitors with something they’ve never seen. This year’s display is truly a celebration of the botanical diversity of the garden.”

Eight G-scale model garden trains will travel along 800 feet of railway track in the Orthwein Floral Display Hall, through a colorful palette of oranges, purples, reds, lime greens and more. A few of the holiday show’s traditional inclusions will be given a trendy twist, from the poinsettia ‘Orange Spice’to the hot hue of ‘Polly’s Pink.’ Others will highlight the opposite spectrum of time, such as the amaryllis Hippeastrum x johnsonii, which dates back to the Victorian era. Unexpected tropicals and large palms will deck the hall in a botanical bonanza. See blue-grey triangle palms, Oxalis ‘Charmed Wine’ and deep ‘Charmed Velvet,’ Chrysanthemum ‘Green Valley’ and ‘Ivory Eugene,’ Begonia ‘Black Coffee,’ Hibiscus acetosella ‘Maple Sugar,’ Syngonium ‘Golden Illusion,’ lime green coleus and more.

A diamond-shaped criss-cross floor plan outlines four perimeter display areas, each showcasing Missouri Botanical Garden landmarks in miniature. Look for the historic Linnean House conservatory, Museum Building, Chinese Garden pagoda, Piper Observatory, Tower Grove House (founder Henry Shaw’s original country estate) and more, replicated through models with some botanical surface treatments. Archival images highlighting the institution’s 150-year history will line the walls in a tribute timeline.

At the show’s center, a water feature is accented by regal stone columns in a style similar to the garden’s entrance. Urns and wrought iron garden décor add to the Victorian scene. Winding in and out of the landscape, finely detailed foot-long locomotives chug along railway tracks, tooting their horns and delivering faux freight and passengers to their holiday destinations. Trains have been a nostalgic addition to the garden’s holiday flower show since 2003, harkening back to the seasonal storefront window displays of yester-year.





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