GODFREY — Lewis and Clark Community College’s Monticello Sculpture Gardens pays homage to the Godfrey campus’ past, present and future with the 2016 themed summer garden show, Gardens Through the Looking Glass.
Following 2015’s Garden of Eatin’, 2014’s Bee-Dazzled and 2013’s Menagerie in Bloom, this year’s theme simultaneously celebrates the rich history of Monticello College (1838-1970) and Lewis and Clark Community College’s bright future in the presentation of two zones on campus — past and present.
It also coincides with the 150-year anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” books. The story of Alice, a young girl who lived in Victorian England and was so bored by the rigid formality of the time that she dreamed up a fantastical world of impossible whimsy, will come to life through a contrasting collection of modern and historical gardens.
“This show gives us a chance to look back at the institution’s position as a community hub over nearly two centuries as well as highlight the school’s forward-thinking approach to modern horticultural techniques, including newly cultivated hybrid varieties and sustainable irrigation methods,” L&C Horticulture Manager Ethan Braasch said.
The “past” zone showcases heirloom plants of the Victorian era and those that were found on the Monticello College campus in traditional gardening styles, such as a knot garden, giant water lily garden, eyebrow and island beds, rose gardens, herb gardens and a sun parlor.
The “present” or “Wonderland” zone showcases new plants and recent hybridizations introduced in the ornamental horticulture industry. The colors, textures, variety and whimsy of the newest releases are showstoppers that are arranged in novel fashions, illustrating the range of variety within a species and exploring exciting new styles of gardening, such as vertical green walls and exotic succulents/cacti displays.
“One highlight will be the Living Wall, which will feature vertical plantings, including new hybrid species, on the north side of Hatheway,” Braasch said. “This is an up and coming gardening method and a first for the Monticello Sculpture Gardens.”
Other attractions include the Carpet Bed, which will comprise bright flowers arranged in the shape of the Monticello College seal; and Old Fountain Court, where the newly restored J.L. Mott fountain will be the centerpiece.
Gardens Through the Looking Glass features interpretive signage that identifies plants and includes a small narrative that compares and contrasts the present day life of a Lewis and Clark student with that of a Monti girl in the age of Principal Harriet Haskell (1867-1907), through campus culture, curriculum, transportation, food and technology.
The show runs through August. Self-guided tours are welcome any time the campus is open.
The Monticello Sculpture Gardens were dedicated in the spring of 2012 as a Signature Garden site of the Missouri Botanical Garden and today are recognized as a full botanic garden. The Monticello Sculpture Gardens also feature 14 large-scale, mostly bronze, sculptures.
“We’ve noticed more and more visitors to our campus gardens each year as we host these themed garden shows, and the donor support from the community also continues to increase,” L&C President Dale Chapman said. “Our shows not only provide beauty for our campus, but they are also an opportunity for Lewis and Clark to further its educational mission for the community.”
The gardens are supported by generous donations made by private donors and groups such as Joan and Chuck Sheppard, the Godfrey Women’s Club, Alton Community Service League, Alton Godfrey Rotary Club and Pride Inc.
To learn more about how to get involved or for more information on guided garden tours, contact Braasch at firstname.lastname@example.org or (618) 468-3140.