In June, the Daviess Tax Court will vote to approve its 2022-23 budget which includes $100,000 for the Western Kentucky Botanical Garden.
Executive Judge Al Mattingly said the award was because The Garden “is one of the cultural programs that attracts tourists from other states”.
Laurna Strehl, executive director of The Garden, recently said changes this year are expected to bring even more people to the 18-acre property at 2731 W. Second St.
“Everything I try to do is based on the experience of the visitor,” she said.
“The $100,000 donation from Daviess Fiscal Court will be used for ongoing improvements that will enhance the visitor experience,” Strehl said.
This year, The Garden has a new entrance on Second Street.
Strehl said visitors “will walk up the long driveway to the historic WeatherBerry House and park just to the left of the house in a new parking lot.”
Then visitors “will proceed to the front door of the house and be greeted and ushered through the grand hallway and out the back door,” she said.
In 2020, The Garden purchased the historic WeatherBerry House, which was built in 1840, and its four acres, with plans to convert it into a visitor center and gift shop.
The 4,000 square foot home was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.
Strehl said the Second Street entrance will soon receive an 8-by-12-foot granite sign that reads “Western Kentucky Botanical Garden” and will bear the new logo.
There is a new parking lot next to the WeatherBerry House and 20 additional parking spaces will be available in June.
“We built a winding sidewalk from the visitor center to the garden,” Strehl said.
Charles and Mary Ann Medley donated $150,000 to create the 300-foot ‘Path of Hope and Healing’ which is lined with 12 ribbons of glass, each a different color, representing the 12 cancers most common in Kentucky.
They were made by Daviess County native Brook White, a nationally known glass artist.
The path also includes a 21-foot-tall butterfly sculpture, created by local glass artist Scott Poynter and local metal artist Chris Schartung.
It should be ready by the week of May 23.
Nature, said Strehl, has healing power.
And The Garden is a “place to go and get away from the world,” she said. “Many people live with cancer, and it can be relaxing for them.
“We use as many local businesses as possible. We are planning an extensive landscaping master plan for the entrance. We will have to do it in phases. It is very expensive and intensive. We will have to take it in bites.
Strehl said, “We’ve wasted a lot of entrance fee dollars in the past by not having a manned gate. We are changing that.
A metal barrier will be installed at the entrance to Second Street.
Strehl said earlier that Schartung of Yellowbanks Ironworks will build the metal gate, which will have a solar-powered operating system.
She said: “Photography has become huge here since everyone became a photographer.
“Volunteering at the Garden has increased significantly and volunteers are needed more than ever. We pay special attention to individual gardens thanks to volunteers. The Green River Area Extension Master Gardeners Association has had a significant presence and is improving the botanical garden in various areas.
“Master gardeners have basically adopted locations in the garden and are committed to improving and maintaining their specific areas. Their hearts grew for the botanical garden, and it really shows in all the work they do.
She said, “With all the new things happening, we thought it was the perfect time to come up with a new logo. Our new logo is fresh and represents the essence of the botanical garden experience. We will soon have t-shirts ready and sell them in our new gift shop.
“Our gift shop will primarily contain items that represent Owensboro and the Botanical Garden. We also offer local honey from Steve Hahus, a selection of postcards, and Owensboro’s signature pewter ornaments.
The garden opened in 1993 after Dr. Bill and Susie Tyler donated 10 acres of farmland to the city with the stipulation that eight acres would be used for a botanical garden and two acres would be left for the habitat of native fauna.
Today it includes a large herb garden, a rose garden, an English cottage garden, a Kentucky symbol quilt garden, a Japanese memorial garden, a heath garden, the Moonlite children’s garden, the garden University of Kentucky Exhibition Center and a Western Kentucky University. experimental garden.
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