MISSOULA — You've probably heard the old saying, “where there's a will, there's a way. That's certainly the case for a group of Missoulians who have planted an idea and are now looking for it to grow.
Missoula may boast of its university, its lively music scene, and the river that runs through it, but one can’t overlook the endless vegetation -- it is “The Garden City,” after all.
From picturesque patios to patches of produce, gardening is all around us, but there may be one thing missing from this garden scene.
“I just think it's a hole in our community, it's something that should be filled, and I would say 98 percent of the people we talk to agree,” said Botanic Garden Missoula President Germaine Conrad.
The project that has been mapped out so far would be a multifaceted facility with a meditative garden, an interactive children’s garden, conservation efforts for plants nearing extinction, and a space beautiful enough to serve as a venue.
The sheer thought is daunting yet delightful.
“The garden that we anticipate having will be colorful with every season,” noted Botanic Garden Missoula Vice President Cindy Morin. “It will have native plants, plants that don't need a lot of water, plants that need a lot of water, plants that are tall and short and fuzzy and bright.”
A project of this magnitude will take years and millions of dollars. Organizers have merely planted a seed, but they know they have grants to apply for, money to raise, volunteers to gather, and much, much more to do.
But all the effort is a small price to pay to share their love of gardening with the garden city.
"So, I think if people really want something, we will find the money somewhere, and we'll take steps as we find it, and just accomplish what we can when we can. So, for some reason, I have a great faith in that. - Botanic Garden Missoula President Germaine Conrad
"I call it dirt therapy. It's one of the healthiest things a person can do. And once everything is grown and so serene, what an amazing peaceful thing [it is] to just sit and enjoy it and take it in, even if it's raining or snowing or the sun's shining...gardens are just good for the soul. If we can be a part of helping our community feel that [and] what could be better.” - Botanic Garden Missoula Vice President Cindy Morin
Organizers are focusing on finding a location for the garden and mapping out some of their fundraising goals.
The group will host an information session at the Missoula Public Library for anyone interested in volunteering or simply learning more about the project on Sunday, Oct. 3 at 1 p.m.
Click here to learn more about Botanic Garden Missoula.