The Missouri Botanical Garden is one of those local treasures that I sometimes forget is quite so special as it is. A short drive from my home, this National Historic Landmark is the oldest botanical garden in continuous operation in the country.
I am a member of the Garden, which means that I get free entry anytime, and free or reduced admission to most Garden events. I also get reciprocal free admission to many other gardens in the US. It’s a good value, $65 a year, I only wish that the hours were extended, since they close daily at 5 p.m., which means I (and most worker bees) can’t usually visit on a weekday.
Two of my favorite shows that the Garden puts on are the Succulent Show in the summer and the Orchid Show in the winter. This past Friday I had the day off work and finally got to see the Orchid Show. The Orchid Show kicks off in January, with a members-only preview night (I went to that a few years ago, it’s wonderful to see the show at night) and then lasts for a few months. The orchids are brought in and built/planted into an artificial rain forest-type environment. Ideally I would have loved to have a docent next to me and spend hours learning about everything I was seeing. I find that, as I get older, I don’t want to just ooh and aah at pretty things, or laugh and point at ugly things, or sneer at things that are disgusting, I want to understand. I want access to someone who can explain to me why the tree grows this way and how its environment pushed it to do so. I want to know the adaptive function of those strangely shaped leaves. I want to know how animals and plants integrate to form these environments, and how we’re (almost probably) destroying them. Everything I learn about, I want to learn ten layers deeper. Lack of access to experts on every topic frustrates me. I just want to understand more.
Anyway. Here are some photos. They are pretty. I have taken them and edited them in ways that help me build an imaginary world in my mind. This is the world I’d live in if I could choose – a world I built myself, full of dark things and bright things and mystery. I hope you like them.
If you truly wish to be.