Garden Train Railway Exhibit (seasonal)
ALL ABOARD for a fun visit to the Railroad Garden to watch the 1:24th scale Heartland Central Garden Railroad exhibit. Up to four independent trains can operate on the almost 800 feet of track that winds around the East patio and through the pine and river birch trees. The finishing touches near completion this year include multiple tributes to local history and points of interest. The trains will operate on Sunday afternoons from noon to 4PM, and for special holidays and events during May through October as weather permits.
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.
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.
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.
The Children's Garden (Phase I)
The garden is a whimsical and playful interpretation of nature. Phase I includes the Entry Plaza, that opens into a world of "fours" - underfoot is the human sundial, with the four seasons, and the four directions, the four way tests, factors of four, games of four, and flowers of four! This area is where the adventure begins. The Entry Plaza leads to the Delta and River. This child-sized version of the Mississippi River, with a meandering shallow stream provides the opportunity for children to interact with water, with people, and with the environment. Surrounded by lush and robust gardens, and the intrigue of water play, children will be carried away by their imaginations.
Garden beds surrounding the waterway and entry plaza are planted with a wide variety of showy flowering perennials, ornamental grasses, knock-out roses, native prairie plants, trees, shrubs and colorful annuals. The river has been carefully designed to be safe and accessible; it will appeal to children, but the activities encourage intergenerational play, so the families and care-givers of the children may also become involved in the activity.
2525 4th Avenue Rock Island, IL 61201
Secret Garden (seasonal)
At the far west end of the Scrambled Alphabet Garden hides a delicious secret! Established in 2010 and newly renovated thanks to generous donations from the Mississippi Valley Hosta Society, this garden is home to many child-like Isabel Bloom statues, surrounded by a variety of beautiful Hosta. A hidden path leads out of this garden to the Hobbit house...a child size playhouse!
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.
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 hyacInths, allium, and daffodils; summer blooms include coneflower, rudbeckia, and monarda, and fall shows off splashes of color from 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 Daylily assortment.
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.
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.
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.
Physically Enabling 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.