St. Louis Walk of Fame inductee, Henry Shaw (1800-1889), came to St. Louis at the age of 18. Being one of the city’s largest landholders by age 40, he was able to retire. This freedom gave him the opportunity to travel and pursue his passion in botany. Working with leading botanists of the time, Shaw planned, funded, and built the Missouri Botanical Garden on the land surrounding his beloved Tower Grove House, which later became his estate. Shaw opened his extensive garden areas to the public in 1859.
Shaw’s philanthropy was widespread throughout Missouri’s northeastern section of the state. Of Shaw’s gifts, the Botanical Garden was said to have “no equal in the United States, and indeed, few anywhere in the world.” The Botanical Garden epitomizes Henry Shaw’s financial savvy, marketing expertise, cultural awareness, and unparalleled generosity. Many who visit the Missouri Botanical Garden still refer to it as “Shaw’s Garden” more than 100 years after his death. Henry Shaw is buried in a tree-surrounded mausoleum on the garden grounds he established.
Leisurely stroll down the blossom-lined, winding paths and re-live with me a 2009 spring visit to Shaw’s Garden. Traveling to a family reunion in Flatville, Illinois, the two-day stopover in the metropolis Gateway to the West was a welcome break. Hours dwindled away while meandering amid the bearded iris, wandering through the rhododendron forest, roaming from bloom to bloom with my camera. A tender touch of fragile softness, a moment captured forever through the lens, an image silenced by the click of the shutter button. Images—all mine for the savoring—never to be repeated.
As a good steward of what I’ve been given—now two years after the fact—I’ve cultivated, pruned, and harvested the 2009 images taken at Shaw’s Garden. My digital flower garden has proliferated and its abundant harvest being shared with you much like Henry Shaw’s generosity. Perpetual care and tending needed for both.
The endeavor fulfilled to this photographer’s satisfaction, I am now ready to pursue another journey to St. Louis. Diligence, perseverance, and patience—all character traits needed to complete the long-awaited photography task and another I am positive will be created in the near future.
The Hidden Ones (Psalm 83:3 KJV)Thick green leaves from the soft brown earth Happy springtime has called them forth; First faint promise of summer bloom Breathes from the fragrant, sweet perfume, Under the leaves. Lift them! what marvelous beauty lies Hidden beneath, from our thoughtless eyes! Mayflowers, rosy or purest white, Lift their cups to the sudden light, Under the leaves. Are there no lives whose holy deeds— Seen by no eye save His who reads Motive and action—in silence grow Into rare beauty, and bud and blow Under the leaves. Fair white flowers of faith and trust, Springing from spirits bruised and crushed; Blossoms of love, rose-tinted and bright, Touched and painted with Heaven’s own light Under the leaves. Full fresh clusters of duty borne, Fairest of all in that shadow grown; Wondrous the fragrance that sweet and rare Comes from the flower-cups hidden there Under the leaves. Though unseen by our vision dim Bud and blossom are known to Him; Wait we content for His heavenly ray— Wait till our Master Himself one day Lifts up the leaves. (Streams in the Desert by Cowman)
Lifting the Leaves
Thank you for breathing a breath of spring freshness with me during these last hot summer months. For more Missouri Botanical Garden images go to www.corinthrose.com under Botanical Gardens.