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When the Donal Myer Arboretum at SIUE (established in 1990) was chosen as a Missouri Botanical Garden Signature Garden in 2003, the Metro East Outreach Advisory Committee recognized it's potential. In 2004 the arboretum became The Gardens at SIUE and in 2005 the first director was hired. Since then, The Gardens at SIUE has grown into a well-loved recreational venue and community resource.

In 2007, the Friends of The Gardens organization was formed to allow community members to be more involved in the Gardens.. To date, Friends of The Gardens have been instrumental in new garden development, marketing and promotion, and special event support.

Between 2009 and 2011, three of The Gardens most popular sites were built:

  • The Lantern: An Asian-inspired pergola nestled in a grove of mature pines, it is The Gardens' premier venue.
  • Prairie Portal: Dedicated in October 2010, the Prairie Portal is our largest garden install to date. A gift from the Edwardsville Rotary, the Prairie Portal plantings showcase regional Plants of Merit and will connect visitors to the Prairie Loop Path (currently under development).
  • Council Ring: Modeled after Native American council circles, the Council Ring is a stone landscaped meeting area in the center of Shade Stroll. A gift of the Inman family, the Council Ring offers a peaceful retreat and is a visitor favorite.

Beginning in 2013, The Gardens is excited to grow our community outreach efforts through the development of a family garden. We look forward to creating a safe and engaging space for children and adults to explore the natural world. This summer we are excited to launch a pilot program for campus kids, It's Your Garden - Grow It!, that will yield valuable lessons as we move forward with planning, development, and installation of our permanent family garden.

The Gardens is young, but the future is bright! A multi-phase master plan, crafted by Terra Design Studios, guides our development. We look forward to sharing new developments with you in the coming year!

You can become a member and/or make a donation to help our gardens grow.