DISCOVER OUR GREEN
Baton Rouge Public Gardens on Tour
Sunday, November 6, 2016, 1-5pm
The LSU Hilltop Arboretum, in partnership with BREC and Burden Museum and Gardens, will hold its fall garden tour “DISCOVER OUR GREEN: Baton Rouge Public Gardens On Tour” on Sunday, November 6 from 1pm to 5pm. Without a doubt, Baton Rouge has some of the most beautiful public gardens in the state of Louisiana! Organized by the Friends of Hilltop Arboretum the tour will feature LSU’s Hilltop Arboretum on historic Highland Road, BREC’s Cohn Arboretum and Botanic Garden at Independence Park, and Windrush Gardens at Burden Museum and Gardens. Docents will be stationed at each garden to talk about their history, plant collections and future plans. Music and refreshments will be served at the LSU Hilltop Arboretum throughout the afternoon of the tour.
HONORING THE PATRONS
Emory Smith Steele Burden
We must not forget that all the gardens were gifts to Baton Rouge from patrons of nature who left a living legacy for future generations. Emory Smith, avid plant collector who brought Louisiana plants and people together at what is now the LSU Hilltop Arboretum, donated his working farm and country retreat to LSU and the Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture in 1981. In 1965, Maggie DE Bretton Cohn donated the property that became the Cohn Arboretum to honor her husband Laurens Henry Cohn, Sr., a World War I veteran and former LSU tiger, and devoted lover of nature with a passion for cultivating native and exotic plants. Independence Park originally was a part of the Goodwood Plantation, purchased in 1931 by East Baton Rouge Parish and used as an airport. The downtown Airport, as it was known, operated for 44 years and closed in 1975. The City Parish Council designated a part of the original 200-acre airport site to BREC for a public park. Independence Park was developed following BREC’s Master Plan and dedicated in 1976. In 1988 Baton Rouge Green raised funds to revise this plan to include a 15-acre site for a proposed botanic garden. Steele Burden, left us Windrush Gardens where he blends his observations of nineteenth century Louisiana plantation gardens with his own design concepts and personal collection of European and New Orleans statuary.
The garden tour locations are LSU Hilltop Arboretum (11855 Highland Road, Baton Rouge, 70810), Cohn Arboretum (12206 Foster Road, Baton Rouge 70811), Botanic Garden at Independence Park (7950 Independence Blvd., Baton Rouge 70806), and Windrush Gardens (4560 Essen Lane, Baton Rouge 70809).
You can start the tour at any of the four public gardens featured. Tour tickets are $20 and available for purchase at the LSU Hilltop Arboretum, online by clicking here or at each garden on the day of the tour. Student tickets (with ID) are $10.
Before or after you tour the gardens, a nice selection of plants will be available for sale at the LSU Hilltop Arboretum at 11855 Highland Road anytime from 1-5pm the afternoon of the tour.
LSU Hilltop Arboretum
11855 Highland Road
Baton Rouge, LA 70810
The LSU Hilltop Arboretum know as Hilltop, is located on Highland Road, seven miles south of the LSU campus. In 2015, Hilltop was named one of the 50 “Most Amazing Botanical Gardens and Arboretum’s in the U.S.”. The 14-acre site is on the Terrace Escarpment of the Mississippi River and includes an extensive collection of more than 200 species of Southern native trees, shrubs and wildflowers.
The fall landscape is beautiful as numerous native shrubs and wildflowers are blooming or have set their colorful seeds. Many of the plant species you will find along the Paul Murrill, Jr. Path were collected and planted by Emory Smith who donated the property to LSU in 1981. His fascination with native plants of Louisiana is evident as you cross the first bridge into the Arboretum under the canopy of a majestic Louisiana silver bell tree. When you arrive at the Bamboo Pass you can hear the wind rushing through the leaves. As you stroll along the elevated board walk, you will see a collection of Louisiana aquatic plants that grow in various depths of water. In the Meadow, tall grasses and delightful wildflowers dance in the Louisiana light showing off their purple and gold floral colors. As you arrive back at the open-air pavilion and the Imo Brown Education Facility be sure and spend time in the Burt Turner Courtyard that includes a collection of Pineland Savannah plants and wildflowers.
Stewardship of Hilltop is shared by the LSU Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture and the Friends of Hilltop. Hilltop is an integral part of the School which uses the arboretum in its research, teaching, and service activities. Friends of Hilltop provides education programs to engage the broader community, operational support and fundraising activities. The award-winning Lake|Flato Architects administration and education complex was completed in two phases in 2002 and 2013. The facility is the first LSU building to be registered with the U. S. Green Building Council for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design [LEED] Certification.
After enjoying the music and refreshments visit our gift shop and Hodge Podge Nursery for native, adapted and pass-along plants on sale the day of the tour.
12206 Foster Road
Baton Rouge, LA 70811
Owned by BREC, the Laurens Henry Cohn, Sr. Memorial Plant Arboretum is a beautifully landscaped 16-acre tract of heavily wooded land used for the preservation and study of native plants and flora from other areas. It’s the perfect place to relax and unwind. The Arboretum features more than 300 species of native and adapted trees and shrubs, a fruit orchard, butterfly garden, bamboo collection, tropical plant collection, teaching garden for children, ponds with lily pads, paved walking trail, water features, Japanese maple collection, camellia collection and crape myrtle collection.
The property that became the Cohn Arboretum was donated to BREC in 1965 by Maggie DE Bretton Cohn with the purpose of honoring her husband Laurens Henry Cohn, Sr., a World War I veteran and former LSU tiger, and devoted lover of nature with a passion for cultivating both native and exotic plants. Over time the Arboretum was converted into a sanctuary for plants and animals, and opened to the public in 1980. The original Cohn home still stands on site as a museum.
Botanic Garden at Independence Park
7950 Independence Blvd.
Baton Rouge, 70806
There is always something in bloom at the Baton Rouge Botanical Garden at Independence Park.
This beautiful public garden surrounds the Liberty Live Oak Grove planted in 1976. The Baton Rouge Garden Club then established the Garden Center Building on this site in November of 1979. For decades a former grassy field was previously used as the Baton Rouge Airport in operation since 1931. In 1989 this garden was envisioned as a series of community gardens dedicated to horticultural education, recreation and nature studies. Community garden clubs, plant societies, gardening businesses, corporate sponsors, individual gardeners as well as LSU and Southern have supported these gardens.
The Recreation and Park Commission for the Parish of East Baton Rouge, (BREC) and the Botanic Garden Foundation, have worked for years in partnership to develop the gardens within a one hundred-acre park.
Several plant collections and specialty gardens are open daily. Visitors can see gardens devoted to crape myrtles, herbs, roses, Louisiana iris, daylilies, butterfly plants, and gingers. A Sextuple Live Oak Grove along Independence Boulevard marks the entry to the garden.
The Sensory Garden features a wide variety of herbs and other plants used for food, seasoning or visual display. These plants change seasonally. The Rose Garden consists of a parterre of many rose plants. On display hybrid teas, floribundas, polyanthas, old garden roses, climbers, pillars and miniatures. The Louisiana Iris Garden is dedicated to the late Joseph Mertzweiller a Baton Rouge native and nationally recognized iris hybridizer. This garden features The Iris Pavilion and native species of Louisiana Iris, along with many Mertzweiler tetraploid hybrids. The Daylily Garden, an American Hemerocallis Society Display Garden showcases 800 varieties of this wonderful flowering plant.
The Butterfly Garden attracts butterflies with a variety of host plants. The Crape Myrtle Garden displays over 40 varieties featuring flowers of reds, pinks, whites, lavenders, purples and mixed colors in season.
Recent additions to the gardens include the BREC Theater, Teaching Facility Building & Café, new specially designed and planted parking lots and the new sustainable designed East Baton Rouge Main Library and its Entry Plaza Garden. Late this year construction begins on a major addition to the gardens.
Come, watch us grow!
4560 Essen Lane
Baton Rouge, LA 70809
Part of the 440-acre Burden Museum and Garden at Louisiana State University, Windrush Gardens is the last parcel of the former Windrush Plantation donated by the Burden family to the school. The original 3.5 acres were designed by Steele Burden as part of the family homestead, which he expanded and refined from his twenties until his death in 1995. The gardens blend Steele’s observations of nineteenth century Louisiana plantation gardens with his own design concepts and personal collection of European and New Orleans statuary.
Now at 25 acres, the gardens illustrate Burden’s idea of a ‘green garden,’ focusing on plant texture and form rather than seasonal flowers, with plants that thrive in southern Louisiana’s climate and reflect former plantation life. Garden rooms, each with a different design and character, include open lawn, ponds and fountains, and symmetrical planting beds edged with liriope and filled with banana shrubs, gardenias, sweet olives and butterfly gingers. The rooms are connected by curvilinear paths or roads lined with allées of trees. Mature live oaks and crepe myrtles shade numerous beds of azaleas and camellias, while canopies of oaks, pines and magnolias tower over the garden spaces.