In the dry heat of August, plants can have a hard time surviving and attempts to keep them alive can make your water bill skyrocket. This is why the WaterWise Garden was established in 1992 to demonstrate the efficient use of water in landscaping in this region. “The purpose of the garden is for people to be able to just stroll around and see plants that do well here in the Ozarks and then hopefully want to plant those in their own yard. It really is a great educational resource,” says Kelly McGowan, Field Specialist in Horticulture.
The Master Gardeners and the University of Missouri Extension receives many thank you letters and phone calls from people who just moved here and didn’t know what to grow in this region or people who have lived here their entire lives and are just taking an interest in gardening. “Having a garden like that to go explore and see the names of the plants is so helpful and is pretty incredible,” McGowan says.
The Master Gardeners of Springfield work hard to keep the garden in tip-top shape and also to regularly update the list of plants and flowers in the garden on their website. While this long list of plants often changes with new updates, the original mission of the garden has stayed the same, and the Master Gardeners strive to educate in all of their work from the plants they choose to the chemicals they use.
You’ll see a high level of wildlife at the garden including rabbits and butterflies. This is no accident as the Master Gardeners work hard to protect the wildlife in the garden by being especially mindful of not using chemicals. The wide range of wildlife and flowers makes it the perfect spot to add a little relaxation to your day, not to mention its location makes it easy to swing by for a quick walk while out running errands. “Thousands of cars speed by on National and see the beautiful garden,” McGowan says. “It’s a staple to that part of town, and people enjoy it and love having it in their own backyard.”