GODFREY — As Lewis and Clark Community College’s 2015 themed summer garden show, Garden of Eatin’, approaches its peak harvest season late this summer, visitors are encouraged to join the college for guided or self-guided tours.
The show, featuring edible (and drinkable) plants, aims to educate Lewis and Clark students and garden visitors about the benefits of producing food from their own gardens, L&C Horticulture Manager Kara Mayfield said.
“We want people to see not only the beauty that these gardens can offer, but we also hope to demonstrate how flowers and plants are used to enhance our favorite dishes,” she said.
More than a dozen themed pocket gardens can be found scattered throughout the college’s Monticello Sculpture Gardens, including a Pizza Garden, Sunflower Parade and The Great Pumpkin Patch.
Another Man’s Treasure, located in Fountain Court, features edible plants in salvaged containers such as a bathtub, a red wagon and a dresser.
Spirits & Suds features the living ingredients of favorite refreshing happy hour beverages, while Some Like it Hot explores the spicy edibles along the Scoville Chart.
Crafted by talented Lewis and Clark staff and students, metal sculptures and garden décor, such as the corkscrews in Spirits & Suds and the thermometer in Some Like it Hot, demonstrate an interdisciplinary approach to the Monticello Sculpture Gardens.
The Monticello Sculpture Gardens is a cross-curriculum educational venue that provides hands-on learning opportunities outside of the classroom.
Biology students use the ponds to learn how to conduct field tests. Students in environmental science classes use it to learn about native landscapes that respect and protect the land. Welding students created the functional vine columns and artistic pieces throughout this year’s show.
“Using an interdisciplinary approach to the show created unimagined opportunities for Lewis and Clark students,” L&C Foundation Director of Development Debby Edelman said.
Plantings will continue to change throughout the show’s end in September, with the peak time of show and harvest expected in late July and early August.
A map for self-guided tours is available online at www.lc.edu/gardenofeatin and interpretive panels posted around campus will help viewers learn more about each garden bed. Visitors who prefer a guided tour can call Lewis and Clark Media Services at (618) 468-3255.
“Our hope is that visitors will be inspired to plant their own gardens and share the bounty of their harvests with friends and neighbors,” L&C Vice President of Administration Lori Artis said.
Garden of Eatin’ is Lewis and Clark’s third themed summer garden show, following Bee-Dazzled (2014), which aimed to attract and promote awareness of native pollinators, and Menagerie in Bloom (2013), which featured colorful plants that shared their names with real and imaginary creatures.
The Monticello Sculpture Gardens were dedicated in the spring of 2012 and represent Lewis and Clark’s efforts to preserve the beauty of its historic campus, which once served as a school for women from 1838-1970 known as Monticello College. The Monticello Sculpture Gardens are a Signature Garden site of the Missouri Botanical Gardens. In addition to seasonal and permanent plantings, 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.