L&C Summer Garden Show Will Be a Feast for the Senses

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

GODFREY – Visitors to Lewis and Clark Community College’s Monticello Sculpture Gardens will explore and engage all five senses during the 2019 interactive summer garden show, SENSE-sational Blooms.

Nearly a dozen pocket gardens spread across the Godfrey Campus will invite a different experience – some interactive and some more passive – representing touch, sight, sound, smell and taste.

“We wanted to develop a theme that would appeal to visitors of all ages,” said L&C Horticulture Manager Ethan Braasch. “We felt that engaging all the senses would be a fun way to encourage more direct interaction with nature.”

Each garden will be built around a basic plant palette featuring bold blooms, while each will highlight different, more unique materials and props, said L&C Gardener Katie Piper. Roughly half of the pocket gardens will feature interactive opportunities for guests young and old to create an immersive garden experience.

“We often view gardens only with our eyes,” Piper said. “This year, we are asking people to reach out and touch the foliage, listen to the wind blow through grasses, and savor the herbs and vegetables. Guests are encouraged to step into our displays and become a participant in the botanical experience. Not only will the gardens be a joy for us, the garden beds will be a buzz with pollinating insects, migrating butterflies, and hummingbirds stopping by for a snack.”

Some highlights this year will include The Grove, located near the McPike Math and Science Complex; Rivers of Color, which runs through the center of campus; the Living Wall, outside the Hatheway Cultural Center; Fountain Court, just behind the Main Complex.

The Grove will host an interactive garden engaging visitors’ sense of taste, featuring edible plants grown from seeds in the campus greenhouse such as peppers, kale, Swiss chard, eggplant, sunflowers and more.

Rivers of Color, another interactive garden, will please guests’ sense of smell with rich herbs like oregano, thyme, sage, rosemary and lavender.

Always a fan favorite, the Living Wall will engage visitors’ sense of touch, featuring heavy foliage and different textures, such as begonias, coleus and more. Visitors will be encouraged to feel the texture of the leaves, and even the pockets that hold the plants which make up the Living Wall.

At Fountain Court, all the senses will come together in a garden designed to attract and highlight native pollinators.

“This will be a truly interactive show where we are asking people to enjoy all aspects of plants, gardens, and the creatures that inhabit them,” Piper said. “I encourage families and people of all ages to come out and experience gardens in a unique way.”

SENSE-sational Blooms is the Monticello Sculpture Gardens’ 7th annual curated garden show. Previous shows have included Bicentennial Blooms (2018), Solar Flair (2017), Gardens through the Looking Glass (2016), Garden of Eatin’ (2015), Bee-Dazzled (2014), and Menagerie in Bloom (2013).

The gardens will be open for self-guided tours from June-August. Maps will be available soon at the Security Building, and informative panels located throughout the gardens will inform and entertain tourists. Guided group tours are also available during the college’s regular business hours.

For more information or to schedule a group tour contact Horticulture Manager Ethan Braasch at or (618) 468-3140.   

The gardens are supported by generous donations made by private donors and groups including the Village of Godfrey, Joan and Charles Sheppard, Tri-County FS, Inc., Ball Horticultural, Josephine’s, L&C Student Government Association, John Medwedeff, Alton Community Service League, Monticello College Foundation and its alumnae, and the Lewis and Clark Community College Foundation. Technical assistance and permanent installations have been provided by the Missouri Botanical Garden, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Godfrey Women’s Club, and the family of Mrs. Peg Schmidt.

Sponsorships are still available for the various pocket gardens. To learn more, visit or contact the Lewis and Clark Community College Foundation at (618) 468-2011.