Tropical Sun Garden (open year round)
Opened to the public for viewing in 1998, the tropical Sun Garden atrium is the centerpiece of our beautiful facility. 6,444 square feet of climate controlled space, this exhibit is home to hundreds of well-established thriving tropical plants. A 14’ waterfall, stream, and fish pond circulates hundreds of gallons of water through the atrium, providing a home for our popular Japanese Koi, and supplying vital humidity for our plants. The peak of the atrium is a stunning 70’ skylight allowing ample sunlight to nurture our collections. All of the simulated rock surfaces are designed to hold onto the warmth of the sun, creating a tropical paradise for our plants and guests of the garden.
The Sun Garden is home to a wide variety of fruit-bearing plants such as the coconut, banana, vanilla, coffee and the cocoa tree (chocolate). Whether you visit the Sun Garden as an escape to a peaceful sanctuary, or as an educational destination to gain knowledge about plants from around the world, there is something for everyone growing there.
Scott County Regional Authority Rare Conifer Collection
Donated by the late Chub Harper, the southern border of the Quad City Botanical Center is flanked with a stunning collection of rare and unique conifers. Mr. Harper, a life-long horticultural expert and groundskeeper, raised all of the trees on his own small acreage, and then donated them as a collection to the care of our organization.
Physically Challenged Garden
Completed in 2005, our raised bed enabling garden provides a grand entrance to the Botanical Center. Located outside the garden gates, this unique garden provides a number of elevated garden beds, accessible to guests who find bending to ground level difficult or impossible. Planted in the early spring with showy annuals, flanked by spring, summer, and fall flowering perennials, this garden is a wonderful addition to our exhibits.
Butterfly Pergola Garden (seasonal)
Once home to a “knot garden,” our planting island on the west lawn was transformed in 2006 to a beautiful butterfly and bee garden. Butterfly weed, butterfly bushes, bee balm, and other pollinator attracting plants adorn this garden and bring thousands of winged visitors every season. The nearby garden pergola provides seating and shade for observation and reflection.
Wildflower Prairie Garden (seasonal)
Established in 1999 this planting island is representative of the natural prairie that once covered the state of Illinois. Naturalized prairie plants have deep reaching root systems that prevent soil erosion, and often grow to heights that tower over our heads. Among the many unique native plants growing here are the compass plant and coneflower.
Greenhouse & Butterfly Habitat
A 42' x 30' greenhouse was added to the grounds of the Botanical Center in 1999. This structure serves many purposes, including doubling as a classroom where thousands of school aged students explore the world of plants every year. This structure is home to items rotated in and out of our main exhibit, and cuttings from our gardens that are nurtured and later sold as younglings from our grow carts. The latest addition to our greenhouse is a 12' x 12' screened enclosure that will house hundreds of regional butterflies throughout the summer months. This enclosure was funded in memory of Wendy Petsel, and is the inspiration for new late summer and early fall educational programming entitled Butterfly Days! Check back for more details in the coming months.
Garden Train Railway Exhibit (seasonal) Now Open Sundays 1-4
All aboard! The Quad City Botanical Center, in partnership with the Heartland Model Railway Club has established a G-Scale Garden Train Railway exhibit. This fascinating garden winds around the River Birch on the north east side of our building. A work in progress, new track, trussle, landscaping and buildings will materialize this spring. The train is operational on Sunday afternoons from 1 – 4pm, now through October.
Scrambled Alphabet Garden (seasonal)
This entertaining garden has seen many incarnations; originally located behind the educational greenhouse, the exhibit has migrated to the south and provides a whimsical border between our canopy walkway and southwest lawn. Every letter of the alphabet is represented in cut glass, intertwined with a corresponding flower and set in a concrete stepping stone. Planted near each stone are plants and flowers that begin with the same letter, planted by the Tri-City Garden Club. This year, join us as we explore edible landscapes, and create an “alphabet soup” garden!
Secret Garden (seasonal)
At the far west end of the Scrambled Alphabet Garden hides a delicious secret! Established in 2010, our Secret Garden is an interactive play area where children can dig for treasures, listen to the wind talk through the chime tree, and build the most wonderful creations with misshapen blocks of wood. Activity tables, viewing benches, planting beds, and child size tools provide an outlet for creative garden fun. Look for new developments this spring and summer, including a pixie garden.
Perennial Gardens (seasonal)
Glorious throughout the gardens and grounds are well established perennial plants that bloom in spring, summer, and fall respectively. In spring there are dazzling grape hyicynths, allium, and daffodils, summers coneflower, rudbekia, and Monarda, and falls late and long blooming mums. These and a variety of ornamental grasses, vines, shrubbery and trees artfully comprise the outdoor gardens of the Quad City Botanical Center. Special collections of note are the Iris of the Year, and the newly installed Day Lily assortment.
Ornamental Goldfish Pond & Aquatic plants
Artfully designed water features add interest and balance to garden settings. The Quad City Botanical Center is no exception. One pond mirrors the next; the interior Sun Garden Koi pond and the outdoor goldfish pond are visible directly opposite one another, divided only by the glass atrium wall. The outdoor pond features a variety of aquatic plants, and is home to goldfish, frogs, toads, and occasionally a pair of mallard ducks. This feature of the garden is popular with our brides due to the reflective nature of the water.
Wildlife at the Botanical Center:
The following is a list of animals, birds and reptiles sighted on the grounds of the Quad City Botanical Center:
Fox Raccoon Rabbit Skunk
Opossum Groundhogs Coyote Birds of prey
Song Birds Ducks Wild Turkeys Water Snakes
Garden Snakes Frogs Toads Deer