Missouri Botanical Garden
2006 Holiday Show
Holiday Flower & Train Show
Behind the Scenes - Watch as the Show is Created !
GATEWAY TO THE WEST
"Gardenland Express: Gateway to the West," the Missouri Botanical Garden's holiday flower and train display, travels cross country in miniature this year, from the Gateway Arch to the Hollywood Hills. "Gardenland Express" has become one of St. Louis's favorite holiday season destinations, delighting visitors of all ages. Eight G-scale model trains from the 19th century to the 1960's chug through an imaginative green landscape.
In early November, truckloads of sawdust are spread upon a 5,000 square foot concrete floor. Approximately 2,000 feet of brass track is laid before plants and props are carefully placed within railroad tie borders. The Garden's horticulture staff uses assorted dwarf conifers, miniature ground covers, perennials and succulents to create Midwestern flatlands, mountain forests, sandy deserts and Southern California slopes. More than 850 potted poinsettias, plus cyclamen, begonia, ornamental peppers, New Guinea impatiens and amaryllis surround the scene, adding a burst of color and fragrance. This season, a towering 12-foot Gateway Arch, covered in ferns and gingko leaves, frames the entire scene. An Amtrak passenger train and Wild West cars have also been added.
Trains travel across a patchwork of rural green fields past Dorothy's "Wizard of Oz" house and an "American Gothic" farm couple. The elevation rises as trains roll past a tiny campsite and a mountain ski lift in a national park. The terrain then shifts to desert sand, where cacti grow and Elvis, showgirls and a blinking sign welcome the Gardenland Express to "fabulous Las Vegas." The journey ends at Southern California's famous Hollywood sign rising from a hillside surrounded by tropicals and succulents. More trains run on elevated tracks along the walls decorated with wreaths, banners and railroad heralds.
"Gardenland Express: Gateway to the West" is sponsored by CBIZ Accounting, Tax & Advisory / Mayer Hoffman McCann P.C., Central States Coca-Cola
Bottling Company, Miss Marian L. Herr, and Southwest Bank of St. Louis.
The show will continue daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from the day before Thanksgiving, Wednesday November 22, 2006 through Sunday, Jan. 1, 2007. (The Garden is closed on Christmas Day, Dec. 25.)
Entry to "Gardenland Express" costs $3 in addition to general admission, which is $8 for adults and free for children age 12 and under. St. Louis City and County residents' general admission is $4 adults, seniors $2. Members are admitted free to the Garden and holiday show.