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Illinois Bicentennial Takes Center Stage in L&C’s 2018 Summer Garden Show

Article by: Laura Inlow, L&C Media Services,

bicentennial_blooms-300px GODFREY – Just in time for the Illinois Bicentennial, Bicentennial Blooms (Illinois Proud) is the theme for the Monticello Sculpture Gardens’ sixth annual summer garden show at Lewis and Clark Community College.

Bicentennial Blooms will be a season-long birthday celebration for the U.S.’s 21st state.

“Our goal this year is to explore the rich history of Illinois and the Godfrey area,” said L&C Horticulture Manager Ethan Braasch. “With exciting floral designs and interpretive displays, the Monticello Sculpture Gardens will take our students and visitors on a journey through time to discover the region’s natural history and our state’s achievements in agriculture, industry and human development.” 

This year’s theme is influenced by a deep admiration for America’s heartland and recognition of Illinois’s many contributions to the nation over the past two centuries.

The show, once again, aims to connect people with plants as part of the educational continuum of Lewis and Clark. It will comprise 12 pocket gardens, the details of which will be announced closer to the show’s opening. 

The Monticello Sculpture Gardens, dedicated in Spring 2012, represent the college’s efforts to preserve the beauty of its historic Godfrey campus, which once was home to Monticello College (1838-1970), a school for women.

The Monticello Sculpture Gardens are a Signature Garden site of the Missouri Botanical Garden, and a botanical garden in their own right. In addition to seasonal and permanent plantings, the Monticello Sculpture Gardens also feature 14 large scale, mostly bronze, sculptures.

In 2013, the Monticello Sculpture Gardens introduced its first themed garden show with Menagerie in Bloom, which featured a special selection of colorful plantings that bore the names of real or imaginary creatures. Subsequent shows have included BEE-Dazzled, featuring native pollinators; Garden of Eatin’, featuring edible and drinkable plants; Gardens Through the Looking Glass, celebrating the campus’ rich history; and Solar Flair, which coincided with the 2017 Great American Solar Eclipse.

The gardens have been supported by generous donations made by private donors and groups such as Joan and Chuck Sheppard, Hortica, Ball Horticultural, The Peg Schmidt Family, Monticello Alumnae, Monticello College Foundation, Godfrey Women’s Club, Alton Community Service League, Alton Godfrey Rotary Club and PRIDE Inc.

To learn more about how to get involved or for more information on guided garden tours, contact Braasch at or (618) 468-3140, or visit