Photo Gallery | Memphis Botanic Garden celebrates 60 years of growth
Located just outside the eastern boundaries of the city, the land that is now Audubon Park was formerly the location of a home built in 1854 by Geraldus Buntyn. The city of Memphis secured this and adjacent property to create a new park in 1947.
Display gardens began in 1953, when a group of iris lovers planted 2500 rhizomes donated by the family of Mrs. Morgan Ketchum. Soon thereafter, in 1957, the Memphis Men’s Garden Club and Lumbermen’s Club began planting trees to create the W.C. Paul Arboretum.
In 1958, the Magnolia Garden was planted. In 1961, the Memphis Wildflower Society “rescued” a large number of native plants threatened by road construction and placed them in a 4-acre area to become the Wildflower Woodland.
The signature Japanese Garden of Tranquility, Seijaku-en, was established in 1965 by members of the Memphis Bamboo Chapter of Ikebana International. This area is one of the most recognizable and photographed spots in the Mid-South, and draws tourists and locals to the Garden all year round.
In 1963, the family of Jacob Goldsmith made a significant donation to build the Goldsmith Civic Garden Center as a gathering place for horticultural and other organizations. Three years later, in 1966, the various plantings and individual gardens were brought together under one name: Memphis Botanic Garden.
Today, the Tennessee Bicentennial Iris Garden thrives, thanks to ongoing volunteer support from the Memphis Area Iris Society. The W.C. Paul Arboretum has expanded to include the entire 96 acres of the Garden’s grounds, and was recently designated as the Tennessee Urban Forestry Center of Excellence by the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council. The “Tree Team,” a group of dedicated volunteers, identify and care for the more than 150 documented species of trees that make up the arboretum.
New areas continue to crop up, including My Big Backyard family garden, which has become a popular destination for children to play and learn in nature. Memphis Botanic Garden is home to the region’s largest Herb Garden, opened in October 2011, and the Delta Heritage Garden, established in the summer of 2012 to showcase crops representative of those raised in the South’s agriculture era. The most recent space, the Nature Photography Garden, opened in the summer of 2013.
True to its roots, Memphis Botanic Garden continues to grow as a product of community support and involvement. For a more extensive history of the Memphis Botanic Garden, visit http://memphisbotanicgarden.com/history'>www.memphisbotanicgarden.com/history.