The quirky world of Alice in Wonderland came to life at Lewis and Clark Community College over this summer.
For the fourth year in a row, the Monticello Sculpture Gardens pushed the boundaries of gardening with its 2016 summer garden show, Gardens Through the Looking Glass, which pays tribute to Lewis Carrol.
It has been 150 years since “Alice in Wonderland” was published. The book takes place in Victorian England in the life of a young girl named Alice, who dreamed of a fun, fantastical land, where she could get away from the formality of her times.
Gardens through the Looking Glass garden had two different zones. One represented the past with plants that would be traditionally found in the Victorian Era, including giant water lilies that can potentially row up to 3 meters across. The lilies on L&C’s campus are only 1 old and will be kept in the greenhouse throughout winter to keep them growing. Other features of this zone were eyebrow and island beds, rose gardens and sun parlors.
The garden’s second zone represented the present. It featured hybrid plants that have been recently been introduced to the horticulture industry. Visitors found new ways of gardening in this present zone, such as a vertical green wall, and succulents and cacti displays.
Living walls have become more common in the last decade, Horticultural Manager Ethan Braasch said. His goal was to create a dichotomy between the past and the present.
Braasch’s efforts have paid off and this past year the Monticello Sculpture Garden was deemed a Missouri Botanical Signature Garden.
“Being made a signature garden has been an extremely important to our growth as a public garden,” Braasch said.
Menagerie in Bloom was the 2013 summer garden show, and it connected people to plants through plant names, which were related to animals. This show was L&C’s Media Specialist Louise Jett’s favorite show to date, because of the drawings by Professor Pat Daily featured in it.
In 2014, the garden show “Bee-Dazzled” demonstrated how insects play a vital role in the pollination process. 2015’s show “Garden of Eatin” featured plants that were edible and even drinkable.
Guided tours of the garden are available, weather permitting, Monday through Friday by appointment.
Jett has been helping with guided tours of the garden since the first show in 2013. She loves leaving her office and guiding visitors though the garden each year.
Those interested are welcome to go on a self-guided tours at any time.
Brassch is tight lipped about next summer’s garden show, there will be a reveal event this fall. For more information on the 2016 show, visit www.lc.edu/lookingglass.