Shoenberg Temperate House
Welcome to the Shoenberg Temperate House! As you enter from the Heckman Rock Garden enjoy a commanding view of the whole house, including a large stone portico. Designed by the firm of Barnett, Haynes and Barnett, the portico was the main entrance to St. Leo's School in south St. Louis, built in 1902. It was salvaged from the school's demolition in 1978.
The Shoenberg Temperate House was built in 1990 and features plants from five regions of the world that share a Mediterranean climate: warm, dry summers and cool, rainy winters. It also features plants of the southeastern United States, and plants from China and Japan. Late winter and early spring is the best time of the year to enjoy the Temperate House, as spring comes two months early indoors.
The house bursts into its full peak of bloom in April. Summers are warm, but still feature good shows of color, and the cool splash of water from a waterfall and fountains. Fall is pleasant, and you'll see that some of the trees lose their leaves, just like outside. You can enjoy flowers blooming in the Temperate House every month of the year.
Starting your tour upstairs, be sure to touch the bark of the Cork Tree (Quercus suber), the tree from which commercial cork is harvested.
Other trees you will see upstairs include an Olive tree, Carob (a chocolate substitute), and Bay laurel, the leaves of which flavor spaghetti sauce. Look for unique flowers from the mediterranean climate regions of the world, such as African daisies (Osteospermum fruticosum), Australian kangaroo paw (Anigozanthos flavidus 'Pink Joey') and Mediterranean throatwort (Trachelium caeruleum).
At the base of the portico, stand on the "balcony" and enjoy a bird's eye view of the walled Moorish Garden, modeled to resemble the 11th century garden at the Alahambra in Granada, Spain. Beautiful blue and white tiles adorn a central fountain, surrounded by colorful flowers every day of the year.
Now walk down the staircase past the portico (if stairs are a problem, the downstairs section can be reached via the fully accessible Climatron, entering through the Brookings Center.) At the base of the stairs, you'll find one of our most popular exhibits: the carnivorous plant bog.
Dozens of Venus flytraps line the bog, and visitors are allowed to gently tease them to make their amazing traps close. Stately tall pitcher plants are particularly showy during the late summer, and their unique blossoms are beautiful to behold in early April.
To learn more about carnivorous plants, check out the web site of the International Carnivorous Plant Society. A St. Louis chapter of this society meets at the garden every other month and all are welcome, beginners and experienced growers alike.
Walking past the bog, enter the colorful Moorish Garden. During summer, look up to see figs ripening on the large fig tree (Ficus carica). Rest your weary bones on one of two benches, and enjoy the cool sound of splashing of water.
Just beyond the Moorish Garden you come upon the Biblical garden. This garden features approximately 30 to 40 of the 110 plants that are mentioned in the Bible. The Pomegranate tree (Punica granatum) features beautiful orange blossoms in late May and showy red fruits in fall. Sprouts are growing from the stump of a date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) which grew too big for the Temperate House; maybe someday they will produce dates! Look for capers, grapes and many other Biblical plants, depending on the season. The Biblical garden is at its best for viewing spring through fall.
Finally, walk up the stairs along the California wildflower slope, bursting into bloom in April and May, featuring California poppies and many others.
To see bloom highlights by month, click here. Thank you for visiting the Shoenberg Temperate House!