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The Botanical Center,
Gardens and Arboretum
Are for YOU
"The Garden Spot of All Creation"
“There is only one place in the world that seems like home to me...the Ozark region of southern Missouri and northern Arkansas. I was born in Kansas and never saw the Ozarks until 1899 when my parents brought me down.... I was only seven...but I perceived at once that a guide named Price Payne was the greatest man in the world, and the Ozark country was the garden spot of all creation.”
The beauty of the Ozarks that so moved Vance Randolph more than a century ago is still a transcendent experience for virtually all who live in the region or come to visit.
The Ozarks country, with its hills, hollows, forests, and glades, its clear-running springs and streams and peaceful rivers and lakes, is so lush with life that it has been called "the richest biotic region in the world." Indeed, the Missouri Department of Conservation counts 730 species of wildlife, 206 species of fish, and 3500 species of plants native to the state, and nearly all can be found in the Ozarks.
The Season's the Reason
Much of our region’s beauty comes with the seasons. From clouds of red-lavender redbud and airy white dogwood in spring, to colorful summer wildflowers, the yellow, brown, and red leaves of fall, and even winter’s muted colors and silhouetted trees, our seasons are clear and profound and a recurrent reminder of the cycle of life.
Missouri, thankfully, is one of the most ecologically progressive states in America. Our Conservation Department maintains superb forest, stream, wildlife, and plant programs that both inform and inspire a love of nature and the protection of our natural resources. In the Ozarks, this love of nature finds its expression in many ways, but especially in the creation and preservation of open spaces, parklands, and beautiful gardens both public and private.
The Dream Realized
The Botanical Gardens grow and thrive though-out the 114-acre expanse of green that is Springfield, Missouri's Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park and Arboretum. The park, located at 2400 South Scenic Avenue across from Horton Smith Golf Course, is also the home of a new 12,700-square-foot Botanical Center operated by Springfield-Greene County Parks and Recreation.
The Botanical Gardens and Arboretum were designed for the public to enjoy...as they run or walk the more than 2.8 miles of hard surface trails along Lake Drummond...as children and students embark on field trips to the Dr. Bill Roston Butterfly House and other park attractions...as they stroll among the many different species of native and non-native trees scattered thoughout the park.
The Botanical Gardens and Arboretum were also created as a learning resource for home gardeners, an outdoor classroom for all ages and an invaluable educational tool--a Library of Plants to further the discovery, knowledge and protection of nature.
The Friends of the Garden mission is to “inspire the discovery, understanding and appreciation of nature by creating and maintaining gardens at Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park and by supporting the mission of the Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center and Park Board.”
As you peruse through our website hopefully you will get a glimpse of "the garden spot of all creation" through photographs and videos of the current gardens and arboretum. And learn how you can become a Friends of the Garden volunteer and donor and contribute to the richness of life in the Ozarks and the love of nature among its people.