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The seeds of Botanica grew out of three Louisville plant societies that gathered together to host a community educational event.  In 1993, members of the three groups – The Louisville Area Iris Society, The Louisville Area Daylily Society, and Hostas of Kentuckiana – formed a new organization and selected the name, Botanica.  Its mission was to become an umbrella organization for the local gardening community by offering quality programs to educate the general public about home gardening.  Over the next several years Botanica brought a variety of speakers to Louisville to help enlighten, entertain and educate the community about the botanical world. In addition to hosting a popular lecture series, for six years Botanica was the presenter of the plant-lover’s noteworthy Fleur de Lis Festival – a celebration of all things botanical.

Helen Harrigan, local gardener and benefactor of the future gardens

Helen Harrigan, local gardener and benefactor of the future gardens

In 2001, Botanica learned that it was the beneficiary of a trust established by member Helen Harrigan, a local gardener with a desire to see a botanical garden and conservatory built in Louisville.  Helen’s gift reshaped the focus of our organization, and we set about our work to create what will become Louisville’s Waterfront Botanical Gardens.

An overview of our progress includes:

  • Feasibility study (2005)
    Analysis of 9 comparable gardens that helped us project anticipated attendance and revenue streams, as well as the cost of operations and staff.
  • Site Selection (2009)
    Evaluated potential locations and selected the 23-acre site at Frankfort Avenue and River Road
  • Development of our Strategic Vision (2010)
  • Title Search (Nov 2012)
    Tracked deed transfers of 135 plots of land from 1830’s to current ownership of the property by Louisville Metro Government
  • Founders’ Garden (May 2013)
    As a way to promote the garden and inspire the community, we installed the Founders’ Garden at the Heigold Facade on Frankfort Avenue.
  • Land Use Agreement (June 2013)
    Singed an agreement with Metro Louisville to formally commit the property for the botanical garden.  The agreement also provides a path for Botanica’s future purchase of the property.
  • Environmental Assessment (October 2013)
    Completed a comprehensive assessment of the site and gained agreement by the Superfund Branch of the Kentucky Division of Waste Management
  • Design Team Selection (January 2014)
    Selected Perkins+Will to complete the Master Plan design for the future gardens
  • Master Plan (November 2014)
    Finalized the Master Plan for the future gardens.

The completion of the Master Plan is a significant step in our journey, but our work is by no means done. In the coming months, we’ll be preparing ourselves for the next phase of our effort: launching the capital campaign that will raise the funds for construction of the gardens.

We’ve accomplished so much together!  All of our work has been made possible through your generous support.  We hope you will continue to support Botanica and the garden project as we head in to these next exciting stages!