The Botanical Garden of the Ozarks has a very different history from most, which typically got their start through a donation of a private garden or a large financial contribution. The Botanical Garden of the Ozarks (BGO) began as a grassroots effort with never enough money to do things easily. The result, a garden built by many loving hands and with readily available materials, is approachable, even whimsical, and speaks to the character of the place in which it lives and the people who make it work.
Beginning in 1993, the founders enlisted volunteers, created a vision, raised funds and secured from the City of Fayetteville a long-term lease on land which became BGO’s home. The vision they agreed upon was for a circle of themed “backyard gardens” which would teach local residents about gardening in the challenging environment of Northwest Arkansas and provide enjoyment for all. Over a period of several years, BGO received two major construction grants from the city plus many private gifts, both cash and in-kind, and countless hours of volunteer effort.
All of that effort made possible the BGO as you see it today: clustered around the Great Lawn are twelve backyard gardens, the Totemeier Horticulture Center, the only Butterfly House in Arkansas and several other structures that are educational, creative and interactive. The facility and gardens can be rented out for special events such as weddings, birthday parties, memorial services and corporate meetings. Regularly, BGO is voted one of “the best places to get married in Northwest Arkansas.”
Over 70,000 people visit BGO each year for events and classes or to simply enjoy and experience this beautiful setting. Memberships to BGO are available online and in the Visitors Center and help to support the general operations and maintenance of the garden. Consider joining and visiting more often.
To the south and across the creek from the present gardens is the Klingaman Arboretum, situated in an open field shielded by woods. This area is the future home of new gardens and facilities for education and enjoyment. As the original gardens mature and with “Masterplan 2028” providing the road map for expansion, the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks will take its place as a primary destination for residents of Northwest Arkansas and visitors from the world over.