Science & Nature

Independence Botanical Gardens

PLEASE NOTE:

While located within the Independence Botanical Gardens, the Baton Rouge Garden Center is owned and managed by the Baton Rouge Garden Club. For information regarding renting the Center for meetings, receptions, shows, etc., contact the Center directly at 225-928-2270.

Location: Independence Blvd. between Airport and Lobdell
Hours of Operation: 7 AM – Sundown Daily
Admission: Free and Open to the Public
Contact: 225-928-2270
Write to: Independence Botanical Garden, 7950 Independence Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70806

About the Garden

The Botanical Gardens at Independence Community Park welcome you to stroll through our pleasant surroundings to observe nature in Baton Rouge. The Gardens were begun in 1991 through initiatives of BREC and the Botanic Garden Foundation, and it is still a work in progress.

A Master Development Plan for the Botanical Gardens has been adopted by BREC and the Botanic Garden Foundation. It is being constructed in phases as funds become available. Volunteers, along with BREC Planning and Engineering, do much of the work in designing, planning and maintaining the gardens. BREC employs a landscape crew that maintains the grounds, working closely with the Botanic Garden Foundation.

A successful effort has been made to integrate the Independence Botanical Gardens and the grounds of the Library, creating a vibrant space for people to enjoy nature. Special programs for adults and hands-on gardening activities for children are offered to provide recreational activities that build an appreciation of our southern environment.

History of the Land

Independence Community Park was originally a part of Goodwood Plantation. It was purchased in 1931 by East Baton Rouge Parish and used as the Downtown Airport for 44 years and closed in 1975. The City-Parish Council designated a part of the original 200-acre site for a public park which opened in 1976. The 1988 revised Master Plan for the park proposed a 15-acre site within the dedicated park for the botanical gardens. The master plan was updated in 2015 and the latest phase of construction, including the Parterre Garden, Southern Walkway and Butterfly Garden, was completed in 2018.

The Baton Rouge Botanic Garden Foundation

Following the establishment of the revised Master Plan in 1988, a collaboration of various plant societies, organizations and garden clubs joined together to form what was known as the Botanic Garden Council and sponsored the development of the initial gardens now contained within the Botanical Gardens. The collaboration later organized and became incorporated in 1993 under the name of Friends of the Garden and in 2000 re-filed as The Botanic Garden Foundation at Independence Park. The Foundation, comprised of community volunteers, works in partnership with BREC to oversee the gardens, raise funds for development and provide educational opportunities for the public. The general public is welcome to attend any of the quarterly held meetings of the Board of Directors.

Renting the Baton Rouge Garden Center

For typical six hour rental contract for Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays:

DescriptionFee
Reservation Fee for Fridays & Sundays $250
Rental Fee for Fridays & Sundays $800
Total Fee for Fridays & Sundays $1050
Reseravtion Fee for Saturdays $300
Rental Fee for Saturdays $900

Extra hours at $40/HR. Guard service is included

Reservation Fee is Non-Refundable. Balance of Fees and Damage Deposit are due within 30 days. Any refunds require 90 days notice of cancellation.

For garden clubs, garden shows, meetings during the week, other hourly rates apply.

Contact:
Ann and Glenn Adams, Managers of the Baton Rouge Garden Center
Phone/Fax: (225)928-2270
Due to limited office hours, please leave voice mail when calling or send Fax.
Garden Center Hours of Operation: Tuesday & Thursday, 9:30 a.m.- 2:30 p.m.

Garden Center Society Meetings
  • Bromeliad Society Meets Every Second Thursday at 7 p.m.
  • Bonsai Society Meets Every Third Tuesday at 7 p.m.
  • Baton Rouge Garden Club Meets Every Third Friday at 9 a.m.
  • BR Cactus & Succulent Society Meets Every Fourth Thursday at 7 p.m.

MORE TO COME!

The Botanical Gardens is continuing to grow and improve. New and expanded gardens are included in the plans, but much is dependent on the availability of funding. Volunteers are always needed to work in the gardens. Become involved! Make a financial contribution of $10 a year to become a member of the Friends of the Garden. For more information, please contact us at the above listings.

GARDEN ATTRACTIONS

Click the images to expand

The Baton Rouge Garden Center

A main attraction within the Garden, it is the place where city garden clubs, horticultural organizations and interested citizens hold flower shows and special garden events. The Garden Center was built and is owned by the Baton Rouge Garden Club. The facilities may be rented for other events such as parties and receptions. For information, contact the Garden Center office at 225-928-2270.

The Crape Myrtle Grove

Sponsored in part by the Baton Rouge Landscape Association, displays over 40 varieties of colorful summer flowering plants. The Grove provides an area for study of the varieties available for planting in the South and an area for instruction on the proper pruning and fertilization of crape myrtles, the official tree of the City of Baton Rouge.

The Sensory Garden

Originally sponsored by The Herb Society of America, Baton Rouge Unit, features a variety of herbs and other plants used for food, seasoning and visual display. Its name comes from the herbaceous plants which stimulate the five senses of taste, touch, sight, hearing and smell.

The Rose Garden

Sponsored by the Baton Rouge Rose Society. Established in 1991, this garden contains a parterre of rose plants including hybrid teas, floribundas, polyanthas, old garden roses and climbers. The original planting has evolved to feature predominantly easy care landscape roses. Rose Society members care for these roses.

The Louisiana Iris Garden

Displays the five native species of Louisiana Iris along with the many unique hybrids that have become available in recent years. This garden was established in 1991 and is dedicated to the late internationally known Iris hybridizer Baton Rouge native Joseph Mertzweiller. The Iris Pavilion is at the center of the Independence Botanical Gardens.

The Day Lily Garden

Was chosen in 2008 as an American Hemerocallis Society Display Garden and showcases over 800 varieties of this wonderful flowering plant whose flowers bloom for a day. Botanic Garden Foundation volunteers maintain the Day Lily Garden on a weekly basis.

The Butterfly Garden

Is sponsored by the Baton Rouge Garden Club. Among the plant varieties are butterfly bush, cassia, echinacea, fennel and others to attract butterflies with a variety of host and nectar plants. This garden allows butterflies to exhibit their life cycle from larvae to mature butterflies. Notice how their spectacular colors blend in with the garden color scheme.

The Ginger Garden

Contains tropical plants enjoyed in the gardens of southern Louisiana and in particular in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Several species of ginger do well in the Louisiana summer, providing colorful foliage and blooms in July and August.

The Parterre Color Display Garden

One of the newer gardens and was laid out in the fall of 2017. This formal geometric style of planting beds in patterns of color connected by gravel pathways was typical of the French gardens popular under the French King Louis XIV (1643-1715). Formal gardens such as this are common in southern Louisiana.

The Southern Classic Walkway

Designed in 2017 by the Botanic Garden Foundation and designated “The Southern Living® Plant Collection Walkway.” This garden walkway provides a perfect spot for showcasing a variety of plantings for southern landscapes. The plants in this walkway were donated by Plant Development Services Incorporated, which is a grower of plants in our region for Southern Living Magazine. These plants are recommended by Southern Living for suitability and quality in our southern climate (southernlivingplants.com - for more information).

The Independence Promenade

This garden fronts the site and runs along Independence Boulevard. This project received funding from Exxon and YWCO and was sponsored by Baton Rouge Green. Plantings of several hundred live oaks and crape myrtles were installed during the spring of 1991. The Promenade, designed by Abbey Associates Landscape Architects, features a “double triple column” of live oaks, the only planting of its kind in Louisiana.

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