Discover + Share: The Best of 2018

2018 was a year of change and growth at the Missouri Botanical Garden. We celebrated the opening of our historic Museum building, along with new rooms in Tower Grove House. There were big anniversaries and new events. Our commitment to plant science grew as our researchers described new species and worked to protect them. Our horticulture staff tackled everything from beautiful spring displays to the propagation of endangered species.

Discover + Share was designed as a place to share all those stories, and more, with you. We reached more than 30,000 people from 130 countries this past year. Here are a look at some of our most-read stories.

1. Tree Week

By far the most popular topic on the blog this year was trees, bolstered by the debut of the Garden’s first-ever Tree Week. The new event celebrated our tremendous tree collection against the backdrop of peak fall foliage. On the blog, we were able to share with you the history and highlights of our collection, our conservation and research efforts, and advice for taking care of the trees in your own backyard. Winter is a great time to appreciate the architecture of our collection, with the branches and bark of deciduous trees exposed by the falling leaves. Thank you for making our Tree Week such a success!

Explore more of our Tree Week stories and follow the Garden’s Tree Crew on Instagram.

2. Shaw’s Museum Gets New Life

After being shuttered for more than 30 years, the Garden’s original museum finally reopened to the public in 2018. The Stephen and Peter Sachs Museum underwent extensive renovation and expansion to make it accessible to all, while still preserving the building’s unique character. Marvel at the expertly recreated ceiling mural in the museum’s main room, or explore the new exhibit space on the ground level. Follow the Museum on Twitter for updates on new exhibits in 2019.

Other history highlights from the past year include the newly rediscovered link between the Garden and the Gateway Arch.

3. Taking Care of Your Orchids

Home gardening help is always a hot topic on our blog. Staff at the Kemper Center for Home Gardening tackled some two dozen topics related to home gardens and houseplants. One of the most popular posts in 2018 included tips and tricks when it comes to caring for orchids. If you’re looking for more information on orchid care, visit the Garden’s Orchid Show beginning February 2. This year’s show focuses on home cultivation.

See more of our home gardening tips.

4. Spotlight on Science: Tom Croat

In 2018, the Garden celebrated the Year of the Aroid. The Garden has one of the largest living collections of this plant family in the world, thanks in large part to the efforts of Dr. Tom Croat. Dr. Croat has spent more than 50 years collecting and researching aroids for the Garden. He has described over 3,000 new species in his long career. Some rarely seen aroids from our living collection were featured in an Aroid Exhibit in the Linnean House this summer, culminating with a surprise October bloom from the plant family’s most notorious member, the corpse flower.

Want to learn more about our research? Check out our Spotlight on Science series.

5. Garden With a Purpose

Shaw Nature Reserve’s Whitmire Wildflower Garden turned 25 in 2018. The garden features more than 800 Missouri-native species, and showcases multiple habitat types including a home gardening area. Celebrations for the big anniversary included the WildFlower Concert Series and the construction and dedication of a new council ring. Another big milestone for Shaw Nature Reserve this year, the unveiling of a new logo.

6. 20 Things to Love about the Butterfly House

2018 was also a big year for the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House in Chesterfield. The Butterfly House celebrated its 20th anniversary, unveiling a new logo during its first-ever Founder’s Day event. Word must have spread about the big party, because rarely-seen royalty was spotted in St. Louis this year. Butterfly House entomologists helped verify sightings of two Queen butterflies in our area, including one at Shaw Nature Reserve.

7. How to Keep Your Summer Picnic Sustainable

This summer the Garden welcomed its one-millionth visitor to the annual Whitaker Music Festival. As with all Garden events, we strive to create as little waste as possible—and we’re empowering you to do the same. From packing sustainably to eating locally and even herbal mosquito deterrents, there are plenty of tips for making your next picnic more eco-friendly. Warmer days are, after all, just around the corner.

See more sustainability tips from Earthways Center.

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