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The Board of Trustees takes over governance of the Garden.

Date palm in Parterre in 1890's.

The will also selected a number of Trustees to take over the direction of the garden. The members of the Board included several members who served by virtue of the office (ex officio members). These included the mayor of St. Louis and the President of Washington University. The Board soon met and began taking over control of the garden. Things did not go off without some controversy. The Mayor of St. Louis believed that as Mayor, he should be the President of the Board and that the board should meet in his office. This bid for control over the Garden did not please the other board members, who met without the mayor. In the newspapers, it had been widely reported that Shaw had left the garden "to the people of St. Louis" or to "the city of St. Louis." While this was true as a matter of principle, it was not an accurate description of the trust set up by Shaw’s will. The will required the trustees to hold the property for the purpose of running a botanical garden. Eventually it was decided that the Board would elect its own President, rather than subjecting the decision to the whims of local politics.


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