The Roger Pryor Memorial Prairie Garden is a 4,000 square foot tear shaped prairie garden in the front lawn of the Green Center. It was started in 2000 with funding from the Missouri Prairie Foundation and individuals as a memorial to environmentalist Roger Pryor. The garden consists of many forb species---flowering prairie plants---and low growing prairie grasses, with borders of prairie drop seed grass. It is maintained by volunteers and is never watered. Paths through the prairie garden enable visitors to walk through the prairie to view its plants and the wildlife it attracts.
The woodland garden is to the east of the prairie garden near the parking lot. An Eagle Scout project, it was planted with plants donated by Shaw Nature Reserve in 2002. The garden consists of woodland wildflowers, most of which bloom in the spring before the trees leaf out, smaller trees such as dogwood, and tall trees, including a shortleaf pine, the only evergreen tree native to Missouri. Celedine poppy, ferns, senecio, and various violets are some of the wildflowers in the garden.
The endemic Ozark garden may be the only such garden in the St. Louis area. It is located next to the woodland garden. The garden is surrounded by native limestone like the dry rocky glades in the Ozark area of Missouri. The plants in the garden are endemic to the Ozarks---they are native in no other areas of the state or any other state. Included in the garden are species of gooseberry, spiderwort, and rudbeckia.
The back door of the building opens onto the herb garden, a traditional kitchen garden that was designed and installed in 2002 by Jeanne Baker, with the assistance of U.City in Bloom. It is a formal round garden with natural sandstone flags and brick edging. Represented in the garden are many herbs from four main categories: aromatic, culinary, medicinal and ornamental; including scented geraniums (aromatic), Fennel (culinary), Yarrow (medicinal) and Artemesia (ornamental). Most of the aromatic herbs are located in the heart of the garden's central beds.
The Rain Garden is located on the rear lawn, to the northeast of the Headquarters building, at the bottom of a gentle slope. The 14-foot diameter garden encompasses close to 200 square feet. The City of University City provided part of the funds for the rain garden project, which serves as a publicly accessible demonstration piece. Rain gardens are one way homeowners can reduce the amount of stormwater entering the River des Peres. The Green Center's rain garden is supplied by two downspouts that drain a majority of the roof area. Water is temporarily retained in the garden during rain events and is filtered out slowly, recharging groundwater supplies. The Rain Garden therefore provides an environmental benefit while creating additional habitat for wildlife.
The greenhouse is the Center's newest tool in ensuring a successful native plant propagation season year after year. Completed in December 2007, it is solar powered and will be used for propagation beginning Fall 2008. The greenhouse will provide an ideal micro-climate for the growing plants to be installed in our Outdoor Learning Spaces, and to supply the annual native plant sale!
Woodland Garden Photos: Trilium (left), Celendine Poppies (center), Virginia Blue Bells (right). Photos by Dana Barhard.