The Ruth Palmer Blanke Boxwood Garden is designed to display the Missouri Botanical Gardenís outstanding collection of boxwood, which is notoriously difficult to grow in the Midwest. Boxwood has been valued in gardens for thousands of years, from the "pleasure gardens" of ancient Persia and the landscapes of Greece and Rome, to the formal gardens of Europe. There are no native North American boxwoods; the first plantings in this country were made by colonial settlers who imported cuttings from England, France, and Holland. Boxwood then moved westward with the pioneers. The elegant beauty of boxwood gives shape, structure, and evergreen foliage to any garden setting. The Missouri Botanical Gardenís interest in boxwood stems from the work of the late Edgar Anderson, former director of the Garden and a distinguished member of its scientific staff for 40 years. In 1969, Dr. Anderson established a test program at the Garden to identify hardy strains of boxwood collected from Asia and the Balkans. Today the collection is maintained in the Boxwood Nursery with help from enthusiastic volunteers of the Boxwood Society of the Midwest.