Botanica: The Wichita Gardens, Wichita, Kansas

Wichita, Kansas is one of the larger cities in the state. To generate public awareness regarding horticulture the Wichita Gardens or Botanica was opened. People are able to visit the gardens for education, art, and culture. Botanica officially opened in 1987, but the idea for the place began in 1982. Botanica opened with four gardens and a library. Since then twenty more exhibits were opened over nine acres of land. Today there are 3600 species of plants that are non- native and native to Kansas.

Botanica is open Monday through Saturday from 9am to 5pm all year. It is open on Sundays during April to October from 1pm to 5pm. The gardens are closed for major holidays. Adults can visit for $6.50 and prices for children are $3.00. Wichita Gardens has group rates for schools and other special groups.

Murdock Street Entrance Garden displays flowering trees and shrubs. There is a well lit patio that often inspires walk in traffic. One of the more important exhibits is the Linda Stewart Evaluation Garden. It is located to the south of the main parking lot. Sunny and shaded areas allow herbaceous perennials to grow and adapt to the Kansas weather. The evaluation garden is a project Botanica has been working on for quite a while to see if the plants will adapt. Hanna Jabara Entry Garden has tulips and chrysanthemums along with some of the oldest trees in the park. The highlight of this section is the 56 inch bronze sculpture. It is called "Never Too Big'' depicting a mother holding a child.

Shakespearean Garden offers a replica of a William Shakespeare bust, and Italian sculpture made with Carrara marble. The sculpture is a representation of the four seasons. Flowers and herbs in this section have all been mentioned by Shakespeare in his work. To add to the beauty of the garden is a fountain with 120 hand carved stones. Native and migratory butterflies can be found in the Butterfly Garden. They come for the fountain of water and the flowering plants. A sculpture of a young boy with a small girl holding butterflies is appropriately positioned. Benches are spread throughout the display for visitors to relax and watch the butterflies.

Roses can be seen at the Jessie Wooldridge Brosius Garden. Over 350 rose plants are found in this area. Even species of roses that might not be found in nature have been created and planted at the rose garden. Walking through Botanica visitors will come upon the Woodland Walk. It is a natural area with birds, foxes, and other animals. Hackberry, elm, mulberry, redbuds, honeylocust, and osage orange fill the natural woodland attracting the wildlife for visitors.

No garden is complete without a terraced area. Garden on the Rocks is located to the west of Martha Parriott Terrace Garden where sedum and sempervivum live. The leafy root systems work well with the rock habitat. Dwarf shrubs and perennials are in the Garden on the Rocks. "Boy with Pail'' is a bronze sculpture sitting atop four small pools with waterfalls.

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