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So That’s How The Garden Grows!

Every facility manager knows that there’s much more than glass, brick, steel, carpeting, concrete, etc., to keep a building operating smoothly. Well, how about a garden and a huge one at that!

More than 50 members and guests received a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to operate maintain the world-famous Missouri Botanical Garden. Covering 79 acres, it’s no small feat to grow and maintain a Tropical rainforest, 4,800 trees, 23 residential-scale demonstration gardens and numerous other gardens from faraway lands. Plus, some buildings date back to its founding in 1859.

That demanding task takes some dedicated souls who provided a walking tour of the garden’s inner workings. Three members of the Botanical Garden’s team served as guides: Brian Micklewright, Manager, Construction Administration; Paul Brockmann, Senior Vice President, General Services; and John Biggs, Facility Engineer.

Key highlights included a walk through the tunnel to the Climatron, the signature dome that houses the tropical rainforest. Built in 1911, the tunnel houses the HVAC systems for the Climatron and other buildings. The lush, green tropical rainforest environment inside the Climatron requires a computerized climate control system.  Inside temperature ranges from 64°F at night to a high of 85°F during the day. The average humidity is 85 percent. Plants are watered with reverse osmosis purified, tempered water.

The tour also took a look at the renovated Henry Shaw Museum, which dates back to the Garden’s founding. It’s been painstakingly restored to its original splendor.

Of course, no tour would be complete without a peek at how the garden practices sustainability.

Special thanks to the Garden and its staff for the hospitality and insightful tour. We also appreciate the generosity of Christner, which once again stepped to the plate as the hospitality chair, and to Lisa Sombart of Mazzetti who coordinated this program.