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The Springfield Park District's Washington Park Botanical Garden is a place for enjoyment and education. The Washington Park Botanical Garden, which is open year round, is one of Central Illinois major horticultural attractions with 20 acres of land featuring more than 1800 species of plants in 10 specific garden areas and the Conservatory. Washington Park Botanical Garden offers one of the most stunning settings for an outdoor wedding in the Springfield area. On October 4, 2008, the Springfield Angel of Hope, NFP dedicated an Angel of Hope Statue in the Washington Park Botanical Garden. The Springfield Angel of Hope, NFP was organized in August 2007 and raised all the necessary funds to pay for and install the angel statue. See more than 1,800 species of beautiful plants, along with other various horticultural charms: a cactus garden, perennial border, peony collection, rose garden, shade garden and Roman Cultural Garden, among many others.
The Garden provides a scene of tranquility and beauty, an oasis of nature, within an urban environment.
The Conservatory is a 50-ft diameter glass dome containing over 150 species of plants with exotic and economically important plants that are arranged by regions to which they are native. The geodesic dome houses more than 2,800 plants in a lowland tropical rain forest covering a half acre.
Visitors enjoy the color of annual and perennial flower beds, the fragrance of the Rose Garden, and the refreshing shade of our many evergreen and deciduous trees. The Botanical Garden also features an additional 9,000 square feet of indoor greenhouse area.

PHOTO COURTESY OF MISSOURI BOTANICAL GARDEN Surrounding yourself with the sight and scent of orchids can be a sure cure for that case of cabin fever you’ve been harboring since the holidays.
Surrounding the conservatory are a variety of gardens, including a 5,000 plant rose garden, the largest of its kind in central Illinois, an iris garden, perennial border, Betty Mood Smith Rockery, monocot garden, peony collection, shade garden and Roman Cultural and Learn-to-Grow garden. Add some of the gardens’ other flowers and plants, and the remedy may last until spring rolls into town.Hundreds of blooming orchids are on display at the Missouri Botanical Garden’s annual orchid show from Feb. The Prairie State Orchid Society showcases members’ prized specimens at Springfield’s Washington Park Botanical Garden Feb. That money is well worth spending for a glimpse of “one of the world’s premier orchid collections,” according to the Missouri garden’s website. Katie O’Sullivan, public information officer for MOBOT, says the horticultural staff got inspiration from Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx, and the show features water, vibrant colors and a modernist touch.Included are more than 500 of the 7,000 orchids in the garden’s permanent collection.
Garden staff later began propagating hybrids and gathering orchids from field stations in tropical countries and from gifts.Today the Missouri Botanical Garden has one of the largest collections in the United States, including multiple varieties, sizes and bloom colors. Some of the orchids are on view throughout the year in the garden’s Ridgeway Center atrium and the geodesic Climatron, but the special show in the Ridgeway Center’s Orthwein Floral Display Hall allows visitors to wander pathways and view the flowers in unique arrangements.Members of the Prairie State Orchid Society will display their prized varieties in the annual show at the Washington Park Botanical Garden in Springfield this Saturday and Sunday, Feb. The 70-foot-tall Climatron, the world’s first geodesic dome greenhouse, features 2,800 plants in a lowland tropical rain forest. Next door the Shoenberg Temperate House displays species native to five areas of the world known for their Mediterranean-type climate, including a display of plants from the Bible. In another section dedicated to northern Asia and southeastern United States, visitors can see carnivorous plants, a display sure to intrigue children.The third indoor conservatory, the Linnean House, underwent renovations in 2011 and showcases the garden’s camellia collection, with blooms peaking in February.

Some of the garden’s citrus plants also spend their winter in the building.O’Sullivan advises checking the MOBOT website to see if any outside plants are blooming, should there be a warm spell. Even if it is chilly, the Japanese and Chinese gardens, outside sculptures and the grounds themselves can be lovely to view.
Closer to home, the Prairie State Orchid Society’s annual show and sale will offer several hundred orchids for viewing or buying at the Washington Park Botanical Garden Feb. The society has sponsored the event for more than 30 years, according to member Carol Kolhauser.The garden’s dome will house members’ plants, which will be judged in various categories. Members also will offer more than 300 plants of different species and hybrids for sale in the back room.
In addition, visitors with questions about growing orchids or interested in re-potting ones they own will find experienced growers eager to help.The Missouri Botanical Garden’s annual orchid show began Feb.
Louis garden, Washington Park’s also displays other plants in a tropical setting that can lift you out of the winter doldrums, even if just for a few hours.The Missouri Botanical Garden is at 4344 Shaw Blvd. Mary Bohlen is a freelance writer and editor in Springfield and an emeritus communication faculty member at the University of Illinois Springfield.

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