Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Garden Visit: Bulb-tacular MOBOT

The Climatron, the MOBOT's futuristic geodesic dome greenhouse constructed in 1959, seen through the Rock Garden's display of rocky and alkaline plants.

My husband and I spent the weekend in St. Louis, about a four-hour drive south of here, visiting our good friends and meeting their new baby, and one of the most enjoyable parts of our visit was our trip to see the spring blooms at the Missouri Botanical Gardens (the MOBOT).

Even though we visit the gardens every spring, we never know exactly what will be flowering there during our visit, because there is so much planted in so many different areas of the 79-acre garden, and the variability of the weather and seasons mean that if one visited on the same date (say April 15th, which is around the time we usually go), the gardens would look completely different depending on how early the spring is in a given year, the temperatures, the amount of rain received year-to-date, etc.

So we never tire of seeing the MOBOT in spring. I took many photos during this visit, and even though we didn't visit all the areas this time, the ones we saw were magnificent. In particular, the Japanese Gardens were breathtakingly beautiful (as usual), and we also got to enjoy the Bulb Gardens at their peak, which was absolutely spectacular.

Here are just a few of the best moments we enjoyed:

The Japanese garden, with cherry trees in bloom.

The bridge over the pond in the Japanese Gardens.

It took our breath away....

Haunting, almost sinister.

The extensive displays at the Bulb Gardens.

When I saw this, I could feel my bank account draining precipitously from fall bulb orders....

Beautiful with Bluebells.

It seemed like everything was in flower.

Words fail....

A closeup of some of the tulips and hyacinths. The fragrance was entrancing.

A few Rembrandt Tulips in the Home Demonstration Gardens.

A neon display of tulips, narcissus and crown imperial Fritillaria. I really like the eye-wateringly bright colors!

More crown imperial Fritillaria and narcissus in the Ottoman Garden.

A lovely spring day. :-)

I can hardly communicate how wonderful the gardens were this weekend; these photos give a pale indication of the beauty and masterful planting that the MOBOT displays. If you live in the Midwest, I can't recommend highly enough a visit in the spring to experience the glories for yourself.

And the lesson that I take away from my visit (as I have done every spring): that a gardener cannot possibly plant too many spring-flowering bulbs. Most good things are best in moderation, but bulbs are not among them. Flowering trees are also lovely and desirable, but it's bulb plantings that are limited solely by the other thing that one really cannot have too much of: money (especially if one is a gardener!).

Thanks for reading! -Beth


  1. Absolutely beautiful and your captions say it all. Just a quite note that this is something the mid-west does extremely well because of its climate. I've planted bulbs and all I get are a few scraggly leaves, no flowers, so I doubly enjoy your photos. Thanks very much!

    1. Thanks, Jane. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos. I'm sorry to hear that you can't grow bulbs well. Perhaps California is not cold enough to chill some kinds of bulbs like tulips. you might have to buy them pre-chilled and treat them like annuals. I know Filoli has quite a display, but perhaps they are either colder than your area or just plant them pre-chilled every year. As I said, there is little that money can't buy.... ;-) Thanks for reading! -Beth

  2. Beautiful bulb gardens and the Japanese garden with that sinister tree, magnificent!

    1. That really is an almost unreal looking tree, isn't it? I'm glad I got a photo of it, or I might not believe that I had actually seen it.... Thanks for reading, Janneke. -Beth

  3. The gardens are beautiful. I love this time of year because of the fruit tree blossom and the tulips.
    The daffodils and narcissi have given us so much pleasure this year although some varieties are flowering throughout these Spring months and some have only produced leaves with no flowers, (which has been the same for other gardeners). Members of our family give us bulbs and plants as gifts so we always have a new stock coming through each season.

    1. I agree, Linda: flowering trees, tulips and daffs are the most delightful of spring's delights. Some of my daffodils have only produced leaves this year too, although I don't know why that would be, as our winter really wasn't so horrible here in Iowa this year. Thanks for reading! -Beth

  4. Words fail, indeed! What an AMAZING place! The Japanese garden and the flowering trees are just so gorgeous! What a beautiful place to visit. I can see why you go every year!

    1. I'm glad you liked the photos too, Indie -- it really is amazing. I hope you will visit it if you are in the Midwest at some point. Thanks! -Beth

  5. What a fabulous place to visit. The spring colour is breathtaking. I bet you look forward to your annual visit. It never ceases to amaze me how spring changes every year and is unique. As you say, if you visited on the same date every year, then every year would see different plants in bloom.