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LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens at Burden

Trees and Trails
Trees and Trails at the Botanic Gardens. (Photo by John Wozniak)
Meetings and events are held at the Orangerie. (Photo by John Wozniak)
Master Gardeners
The Botanic Gardens serves as headquarters for the East Baton Rouge Parish Master Gardeners. (Photo by Mark Claesgens)
Trees and Trails
Windrush Gardens covers 25 acres with approximately 5 acres in semiformal gardens. The remaining area includes part of Wards Creek, lakes and native vegetation. (Photo by John Wozniak)
The LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens is an oasis for garden and nature lovers. In addition to serving as a horticultural research center, it is a destination for visitors to Baton Rouge and Louisiana as part of the Burden Museum & Gardens

Situated on a 440-acre tract in the city of Baton Rouge, the Botanic Gardens is home to a wide array of research projects on turfgrass, vegetable and fruit crops, ornamentals, forestry, sweet potatoes and wetland plants. The research results help support the nursery and landscape industry and vegetable and fruit growers. Golf courses and sports fields around the state are easier to manage and safer because of the research conducted here. The Botanic Gardens is a member of the All-America Selections national network of display gardens for flowers and vegetables.

The purpose of the Botanic Gardens is to:
–Develop sustainable plants, landscapes, woodlands and wetlands through research.
–Make research results accessible to the public through tours, fairs, fests and field days.
–Provide people a setting in which they can enjoy nature.

In addition to research, some of the features at the Botanic Gardens include:

Vi and Hank Stone Camellia Gardens
Camellia varieties from the private collection of Vi and Hank Stone were planted in the gardens. The collection includes 200 different varieties including the Stone Progeny, Higo, Orientals and Sasanquas. This collection continues to grow as new introduction are added. The Baton Rouge Camellia Society has its base at the Botanic Gardens.

Rose Garden
This garden includes the best of shrub roses and ground cover roses. The garden includes more than 150 varieties of roses.

All-America Selections Garden
The All-America Selections Display Garden includes annuals and perennials and vegetables from the current and past All-America Selections list. Other plants in this garden include Louisiana Super Plants along with other annuals and perennials considered suitable for the Gulf South. Plant selections are rotated each fall and spring so new selections can be added.

Ornamental Ginger Garden
The Ginger Garden showcases ornamental gingers that have been collected from Southeast Asia and can be used for potted plants and landscape plants in the Gulf South climate. There are six groups of gingers and 50 different varieties.

Children’s Garden
The children’s garden provides Louisiana’s educators a place to learn about gardening as well as educational and nutritional activities that tie a garden to the state curriculum for science and math. This model garden also provides a location for youth-related organizations and individual families to experience outdoor education focusing on vegetable, herb and butterfly garden plantings.

Burden Woods
The Burden Woods covers approximately 150 acres and is primarily a bottomland hardwood forest. The dominant overstory plants are sweet gum, sycamore, cypress, black willow, water oak, red maple, overcup, willow, water and swamp chestnut, shellbark hickory, hackberry and elm. A rain-fed wetland called the Black Swamp lies at the northern end of the trail system with 200-year-old tupelos.

Trees & Trails
Trees and Trails is approximately five miles of pedestrian, recreational and educational trails in the Burden Woods. Trees and Trails is designed to support a variety of pedestrian activities including hiking, interpretive and educational activities for youth and adults, adventure and discovery. This trail system provides a framework for educational nature experiences, while at the same time accommodating the need for access to a safe outdoor environment. Outdoor classrooms have been implemented to bring students in touch with the natural world, the importance of maintaining ecosystems in an urban environment and the cultural heritage of our region. Trees and Trails was built with the intent of increasing opportunities for youth in urban and community forest programs and educating teachers, school children and youth groups in the urban forest. Schools and organizations at all age levels are encouraged to come and enjoy Trees and Trails both as an educational and fitness opportunity. The trail system is open from 8 a.m. to dusk every day of the year except Christmas and New Year’s Day. The Burden Horticulture Society provides a docent-led program using Project Learning Tree for school children grades four through eight.

Barton Arboretum
The existing Barton Arboretum, which includes groves of native trees, a meadow, pond andgazebo, is dedicated to Scott Duchein Barton, wife of John Barton, who was a lifelong friend of the Burden family.

Ione E. Burden Conference Center
The conference center was built in memory of Ione E. Burden and her love for education. The conference center houses the AgCenter offices. It has a conference room that will seat 120 people in a setting of exposed beams and stained glass windows.

Steele Burden Memorial Orangerie
The orangerie was designed by A. Hayes Town, a longtime friend of Steele Burden. The building was built as a memorial to Steele in recognition for his landscape contributions to LSU and the surrounding region. The orangerie includes a conference and catering room with maximum capacity of 15 persons and an atrium which will hold 95 persons.

Some of the features coming to the Botanic Gardens include an herb garden, a pavilion and a tree house, which will be an elevated meeting facility for small groups. 

The Botanic Gardens serves as headquarters for several groups including the following:

Burden Horticulture Society
The Burden Horticultural Society is a strategic partner in fulfilling the goals of the Burden Center Master Plan, including developing garden collections that reflect the heritage of south Louisiana and establishing focused gardens; greenhouses; and training and support facilities that will provide a complete horticultural education experience for the general public. In concert with the Burden Center Master Plan, the mission of BHS is to enhance and promote the Burden Center and its serene environment for the benefit of the public through educational programs, fundraising, and volunteerism. The Society hosts several annual events at Burden Center including A Brush with Burden, Arbor Day at Burden Center, Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch and Burden Music Series. It conducts educational programing which includes Trees and Trails/Project Learning Tree and a monthly lunch and learn, Reflections in the Garden. The Society also hosts Wine and Roses, its annual fund raiser.

Master Gardeners
Training for East Baton Rouge Parish Master Gardeners is conducted at the Botanic Gardens. Volunteer activities of the Master Gardeners include an annual spring plant sale.

Also part of the Burden Museum & Gardens are the Windrush Gardens, which the AgCenter maintains, and the Rural Life Museum, a long established destination for visitors to Baton Rouge and Louisiana.

Windrush Gardens
Windrush Gardens, which cover 25 acres, are the life’s work of Steele Burden, a legendary landscape architect in the Gulf South. Steele Burden was naturally artistic and worked in several media, from painting to sculpting. As a young man, Burden toured the important gardens of Europe, and he also had the opportunity to see and work in some of the surviving gardens of 19th century Louisiana plantations. Both of these garden types influenced his approach to garden design and his love for statuary in his gardens. Windrush Gardens was Burden’s personal laboratory for garden design where he worked on expanding and refining his masterpiece from his twenties until his death in 1995.

Rural Life Museum
LSU A&M operates the Rural Life Museum in a 16-acre corner of the Burden property. Through its extensive collection of tools, utensils, furniture and farming equipment, the museum preserves and interprets an important part of the state’s and nation’s rural heritage. The museum also serves as a research facility for LSU students engaged in heritage conservation studies.

At a future date in the next couple of years, the Botanic Gardens will also house the East Baton Rouge Parish Extension Office.

The LSU AgCenter is one of 10 institutions of higher education in the Louisiana State University System. Headquartered in Baton Rouge, it provides educational services in every parish and conducts research and extension programs that contribute to the economic development of the state. The LSU AgCenter does not grant degrees nor benefit from tuition increases. The LSU AgCenter plays an integral role in supporting agricultural industries, enhancing the environment, and improving the quality of life through nutrition education and 4-H youth, family and community programs.


Last Updated: 1/10/2014 5:53:29 AM

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Kuehny, Jeff S.
LSU AgCenter