The Missouri Botanical Garden’s George Washington Carver Garden opened to the public on Oct. 15, 2005. The inspirational garden honors the life and accomplishments of Dr. Carver, the extraordinary Missouri native scientist who greatly influenced 19th and 20th century agriculture and education. Carver was born into slavery in 1865, in Diamond Grove, Missouri, a few miles southeast of Joplin. His interest in nature and plants developed early and by the age of 12 he was known in the local farming community as “the plant doctor.”
Witnessing the destructive effects of centuries of cotton farming on the South’s natural resources, Carver found crops that would restore depleted soils – notably peanuts, sweet potatoes, soybeans and black-eyed peas – and developed hundreds of by-products and uses for them that would increase their market value for Southern farmers.
The focal point of the garden is a life-size bronze of Carver by acclaimed African-American sculptor Tina Allen of California. The six-foot statue shows a mature Carver of about 65 years old, wearing a lab jacket and a wise, gentle expression as he stands holding a small plant to the sunlight. Allen’s other works include statues of Sojourner Truth, Alex Haley, Ralph Bunche and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Courtesy of the Missouri Botanical Garden.
Year Completed: 2005
Owner: Missouri Botanical Garden