The Botanical Garden of the Ozarks features a unique collection of twelve themed “backyard” gardens, which helps teach residents and visitors about gardening in the Northwest Arkansas environment and provides inspiration for home gardens. A contest was held to design the first eight gardens. Once the designs were selected, sponsors were secured to provide funds for their construction. We have been fortunate that generous individuals, organizations and corporations have made the lovely gardens possible.
A fountain, designed by Chandler Harp, is the central feature of the Founders’ Garden, surrounded by engraved bricks. The bricks honor donors to the garden, and can also be placed as memorials for a friend or family member, or to note personal milestones like birthdays, weddings and anniversaries. Learn more about our brick memorials here.
The Japanese Garden was designed by Greg Bland. It represents peace and tranquility and serves as a serene place for quiet meditation. A small pond with koi fish adds to the peaceful setting. Unlike the rest of the garden, this space does not feature much color, instead relying on a lush mix of coniferous evergreen shrubs and trees, rocks and water to create a calming retreat. This is one of our most popular spots for Simple Weddings.
Vegetable & Herb Garden
The Vegetable and Herb Garden is one of the most dynamic gardens, providing an ever-changing array of edible plants in combination with pollinator-friendly flowers. This garden features a mosaic fountain, in the form of an ear of corn, created by Stuart Fulbright and Kathy P. Thompson. The garden also includes several ferro-cement sculptures, including a statue of Gregor Mendel. Mendel was the Austrian monk who first described the principle of heredity, which he discovered after studying generations of peas in his garden.
Centered around a sculpted ferro-cement tree, this garden provides a place for exploration and discovery for children and the young-at-heart. The Children’s Garden was designed by Gerald Klingaman, Scott Starr, Cindi Cope, Gail Pianalto, Joyce Mendenhall and Betty Swope from the original design by Stuart Fulbright. Dr. Klingaman volunteered an untold number of hours in the creation of this garden and built most of the structures with his own hands. Be sure to peek inside the trunk of the tree to see a beautiful mural by local artist Brandon Bullette! This garden also has a water feature that includes tadpoles, frogs and water lilies.
Education Cottage & Gardens
This garden features a small cottage used for educational classes, children’s birthday parties and picnics. The cottage was the BGO’s very first structure and was originally used as a storage shed. It was moved and turned into an educational and rental space in 2013. The surrounding gardens support butterflies and behind the cottage is the insectarium where our butterfly nannies raise butterflies.
The Butterfly Garden, also known as the “butterfly pathway,” leads to the Butterfly House. This garden is filled with host and nectar plants to attract native butterflies. It is certified and registered by Monarch Watch as a Monarch Waystation, which means it provides milkweeds, nectar sources and shelter needed to sustain monarch butterflies as they migrate through North America.
Four Seasons Garden
The Four Seasons Garden features plants that have interest in all seasons. The garden is designed to feature plants with some desirable characteristic in at least one of the four seasons. Walmart donated this garden and Better Homes and Gardens designer Kenny Kalke created the original design. Stuart Fulbright designed and constructed the crown arbor/shade structure. The top of the crown features six pieces of multi-color slag glass that can be illuminated at night. American wisteria grows up and over the structure.
The Shade Garden features a collection of shade-loving plants, including many that hold their foliage year-round. This garden was donated by the Carl Totemeier family to honor Carl for the contribution he made to the botanical garden and to memorialize his love for the project. Totemeier served as the garden’s Volunteer Executive Director from 2001-2004 and was instrumental in the garden’s development and planning. The Shade Garden was designed by Yvonne Kirby, a friend of the Totemeier family.
The Sensory Garden is designed to appeal to the five human senses of sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. This garden’s central feature is a large butterfly with living wings filled with various plants and flowers. A butterfly fountain created by sculptor Hank Kaminksy can also be found in this garden. Guests can discover plants that stimulate senses of smell and taste such as lemon balm, lavender and blueberry bushes.
Ozark Native Garden
The Ozark Native Garden features flora native to Arkansas with a wide variety of flowers, grasses and shrubs. A small native stream flows through the garden and there are two shaded “front porch” swings. This garden was designed by Lisa Netherland and Jo Carlole Haxel. The Northwest Arkansas Master Naturalists contribute to the upkeep and landscaping of this garden year-round.
Rose and Perennial Garden
This garden showcases plant combinations that compliment the beauty of roses with the colors and textures of annuals and hardy perennials. The centerpiece of this garden, the Rotary Peace Arbor, is a backdrop for concerts, weddings and other garden events. The Northside and Downtown Rotary Clubs of Fayetteville donated the arbor.
Rock and Water Garden
A large berm, fieldstone wall and gatehouse separate the public entry from the Rock and Water Garden, which depicts an Ozark mountain stream with grotto effect, waterfalls and pools of water one might see in the mountains. Turtles, frogs and various water plants live in the pools. This garden utilizes custom-blended soils for growing various specialized rock garden plants. The rock featured in this garden is sandstone from the Winslow area.