Review by Joan Bowen, Springfield Council of Federated Garden Clubs
On June 14, approximately 150 people gathered in the hot sun for the dedication of the Blue Star Veterans’ Memorial in the Springfield Botanical Gardens at Nathaneal Greene/Close Memorial Park, 2400 S. Scenic Ave. Fittingly, this was Flag Day so everyone received a flag as they joined with the Springfield Council of Federated Garden Clubs for this 84th installation of a Blue Star Memorial in the state of Missouri.
The Veterans Memorial Honor Guard presented the colors to start the ceremony, followed by Josefina Raborar, Springfield Garden Council President, leading the Pledge of Allegiance. Rev. Philip Johnson gave the Invocation and Benediction. Shayne Piles sang the National Anthem and later Miriam Kemper sang God Bless America, both vocalists are from Republic High School. Cynthia Broderson, FGCM Blue Star Memorial Chairperson, gave the History of the Blue Star Memorial. Jerry Jacob, news anchor for Channel 33 was our featured speaker. Jerry gave up an anchor job and joined the military at the age of 42 where he became a medic and served tours in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Memorial was uncovered by Frank Mason and Earl Whitman, both Navy veterans and both of whom had worked to put in the gardens. Katie Steinhoff, Director of the Botanical Gardens, accepted the Memorial. Nan McCabe, FGCM 2nd Vice President, gave the Dedication of the Marker. This was followed by Helen Boutwell, a “Rosie the Riveter” who worked in the munitions factory during the war, laying the wreath, assisted by Avis Holloway, FOG and Hillbilly Gardeners member, who made the lovely living wreath of succulents.
Just over 15 years ago in this community, a group of people interested in botanical gardens began meeting. They came together with a vision, cast by Major Close, to design and build beautiful public gardens. We stand here today because of this vision and the intense amount of time and treasure offered freely and exuberantly by these Founders of Friends of the Garden.
We are in this particular garden today, in Close Memorial Park, thanks to the vision of Tom Lakowske who desired a poignant way to thank and acknowledge these founders. Tom is the Greater Ozarks Hosta Society President, Friends of the Garden Board Member – 2nd term and the inspiration for the Founders Garden, the designer and team leader of the volunteer builders of the garden.
By Kelly McGowan, published Ozarks Living magazine, Feb/March 2015
The rose garden at Springfield Botanical Gardens was the very first garden created in the park in 2001. It was a special request from Major Close, the park’s namesake, to my father-in-law Sam McGowan.
Sam had created a memorial rose garden at the American Legion Post #639 next door to the park. The beautiful garden caught the eye of Mr. Close, who approached Sam to create a similar one at the newly formed Close Memorial Park. He agreed and ground was broken on the rose garden in the fall of 2001 and completed on April 15, 2002.
This series of four articles will hopefully give a complete picture of progress made in 2014 within Friends of the Garden, Inc., and at the Springfield/Greene County Botanical Gardens. They will also spotlight plans for the future, not only for the coming year but beyond.
The first article is a presentation given by FOG President, Lisa Bakerink on January 8, 2015 at the first monthly meeting of the Friends of the Garden. In it, she discusses general progress made in the various gardens and the Dr. Bill Roston Butterfly House and thanks our volunteers and partner organizations.
The second article is a combination of presentations made at the January 8th meeting by Kelly McGowan, Garden Chair and Nancy Schmidt. Kelly goes into more detail about each of the gardens we maintain while Nancy focuses on the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden and it's progress and plans.
Third we have the text of a Power Point Presentation given at the same, January 8th meeting by Katie Steinhoff, coordinator of the Botanical Center at the Springfield/Greene County Botanical Gardens and ex-officio board member of Friends of the Garden. Katie shares with the membership projects completed during 2014 and planned for 2015 as well as events on the 2015 schedule, volunteer training plans and more.
Finally, we've re-published the article written by Katie Steinhoff, Reflect upon the Springfield Botanical Gardens 2014 season and a wish list with goals for the for the years to come, which was originally found in the FOG Winter Newsletter, December 2014/January 2015 and which was also featured on the home page of this website earlier this January.