Luke Pappaspanos, Contributing Writer
October waves an enchanted wand over the world and orchestrates a mystical and magical transformation. Leaves of red, orange, yellow, brown and green drift from trees. Then suddenly a whoosh of wind snatches the falling leaves and scatters them as they leisurely float to the ground. The cooler autumn season allows for time to slow down and take a stroll through a fairytale garden.
One such garden is the one founded by Henry Shaw. Forty years after first seeing the land, Shaw made the purchase. He completed the garden in 1859 and opened it up to the residents of St. Louis. He had the help of botanists to include an herbarium at the Missouri Botanical Garden.
Fast forward to 2019, and the Missouri Botanical Garden continues to attract visitors to share Shaw’s love. There are many events held throughout the year, including the first weekend in October when the garden promotes the Best of Missouri Market. Visitors and garden members were in for an eye-opening experience with treats for folks of all ages.
There were enough taste samples to make everyone happy, even those who consider themselves as “picky” eaters. Wines, beers, coffees, cheeses, pastries, soups, sausages, candy and even pickles could be tasted. Not in the mood for food? Well, once again there were many types of handmade items to tempt buyers to part with their coin. Those merchants sold clothes, flowers, handbags, furniture, jewelry, baby items, even men’s personal care products and much, much more.
Jim Barksdale, a shorebirds carver explains, “I carved my first bird in 1957 from one piece of wood. It took a long time. I did not carve for 20 years after that. Now it only takes me 2 hours to carve a bird and 5 hours for the painting. I sold a bird to a man for his mother. She lives in Italy. My carvings have been sent all over the globe.”
Gracelynn’s Clay Flowers are hand made from a special type of clay. They look and move like real flowers. Ike Tamrak said, “watch the flowers and see what happens when I use this fan.” He fanned the flowers and the flowers swayed just like real ones in a breeze.
Tucker Glasow, one of the jewelry vendors, explained that he’s not a gemologist. “I only know stones through jewelry making. My settings are silver and metal works.”
Pam Bauer makes Hudson Bay Blankets. She explained that “there is a long history. You have to look it up.” The Hudson Bay Company has been around since the 1700’s. She makes hats, coats, gloves and mittens from wool. She also sells Old Pawn Native American jewelry.
The 79 acres of garden land includes conservatories and formal, demonstration, and international gardens. There is the Victorian District, notable plant collections, tram tours, and the Climatron, just to name a few daily attractions.
Grab one or more friends and check out the garden. No need to have a botany background or even the eye of a poet or an artist. An appreciation for the variety of beauty embracing this utopia is all that is needed. This weekend, take a relaxing stroll and literally stop and smell the beautiful flowers at the Missouri Botanical Garden.
Upcoming events at The Missouri Botanical Garden include:
Garden Party Lights will continue until Oct. 19, 6-10 p.m. Thursday-Sunday. (
Speaker Series: Walking in Humbolt’s Footsteps on Oct. 15, 11 a.m.-12 p.m.
Around the World Wine Dinner on Oct. 17 at 7 p.m.
Spirits in the Garden on Oct. 25, 6-9 p.m.
Tree Week, Oct. 27-Nov. 3.
Garden Glow, Nov. 23-Jan. 4.
Gardenland Express Holiday Flower and Train Show, Nov 24.-Jan 1.