History abounds at the Idaho Botanical Gardens

Years ago the 30 acres of land that now houses the Idaho Botanical Gardens, served as a farm for the Idaho State Penitentiary. The land later lay dormant for 12 years after the penitentiary closed in 1973. In 1984 the land was leased by the directors of the Idaho Botanical Gardens. Work began, and the land was changed from rocks, trash and weeds into beautiful flowering specialty gardens like The Childrens Garden, the Heirloom Rose Garden and the Foothills Native Plants Garden.

The individual gardens are arranged in such a way that flowers are blooming somewhere all year long. As you stroll leisurely through the gardens, nature literally unfolds around you. You can sit in a garden swing and read a book or browse through your favorite magazine while you relax and enjoy the fresh air.

New things are arriving and renovations are taking place in the gardens continually. Some of the new arrivals are the “pencil bench” in the Childrens Garden, and over 1,800 native plants that were planted on top of the Gathering Place inside the Lewis and Clark Native Plant Garden, giving it a new, green roof. New gardens have been planted, plazas renovated and areas redesigned.

One of the main goals of the Idaho Botanical Gardens is horticulture education. On their official website they offer tips on topics such as how to winterize your garden, how to care for your lawn in the winter, how to take care of your garden, how to care for your plants during each season of the year and when to plant different plants.

Field trips for school age children, special programs for pre-school children, craft workshops for both adults and children and summer botany camps are just a few of the many educational opportunities available at the Idaho Botannical Gardens. Every year over 50 continuing education classes, lectures and workshops are offered to amateur gardeners. The topics vary from planting, plant care and composting to topics such as flower arranging, water color journalling and hanging baskets.

The staff at the Idaho Botanical Gardens work hard to provide entertainment for the whole family throughout the entire year. For example, you may want to participate in Bug Day. Bug Day is a time to learn about bugs and earn your “Certificate of Bugology”! The theme for the day is “bugs”. You can learn about edible bugs, and can even purchase some to eat along with special bug juice. There will be an insect safari, insect Olympics and a time when you can catch live bugs or make special crafts.

In October you can participate in the Scarecrow Stroll. As you walk through the different gardens, you will be amazed at the many different scarecrows peeking out at you. Each one is especially designed by people just like you. A prize is given for the best scarecrow.

The variety of gardens, educational opportunities and special activities that the Idaho Botannical Garden offers each year are a great delight to amateur gardeners from around the world. No matter who you are, what you like to do or what your interests are you can find something to learn or do at the Idaho Botanical Gardens.