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For plant lovers, the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Shaw Nature Reserve is a 2,441-acre gem of breathtaking, ethereal beauty. But, it is by hard numbers that this ecological masterpiece, just off historic Route 66 in Gray Summit, 38 miles from the garden itself, can truly blow visitors away. 

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For continuous color and interest in your garden, consider these favorite plantings from local landscapers. 

“One of our favorite multiple-blooming perennials is 'Summer Storm' Hardy Hibiscus. This large perennial is a prolific bloomer from summer into the fall and grows to 5’. The blooms themselves are wonderful; pink petals contrast with rose veins and deep magenta centers.” Daniel Mee, Frisella Nursery.

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“Nothing beats a home-grown tomato,” proclaims Arlene Trombley of Timberwinds Nursery in Ellisville.  “I love growing them, and I love eating them,” echoes Abby Elliot of Kirkwood’s Sugar Creek Gardens.

Their love of one of summer’s best treats is probably why both women are considered tomato experts by their respective garden centers. We asked them to dish up a bit of advice to help all of us produce a better crop this summer….or maybe inspire those who have never attempted to grow tomatoes.

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The Missouri Botanical Garden grows more than 250 magnolia specimens, which can be seen from late March through mid-June in Magnolia Grove. Magnolia Grove, also known as Kiefer Magnolia Walk, provides a beautiful walking path between the Linnean House and the Climatron. Head to the Garden to see these flowers that have been frozen in time, yet remain vibrantly alive.

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In my three short years here, one Midwestern generalization has been proven true, time and time again, by both county and city dwellers. The moment the freeze warnings lift, the ice turns to rain and the brown of winter gives life to the electric-green haze of early spring, Missourians are outside fussing with whatever patch of land they can get their hands on, be it county-style acreage or a strip of sun-soaked alleyway downtown. 

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“You’ve probably seen Turfstone, and haven’t even noticed it was there,” says Ryan High, a territory manager for Belgard. The gray pavers look like lattice, and that grid-shaped design is what distinguishes Belgard’s Turfstone from other paving materials. Once set, voids – those gaps between the concrete panels – can be planted with grass or filled with another aggregate, allowing stormwater to move through the surface, eliminating the need for an irrigation system.    

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