15 Mar FYI: QUAD CITY BOTANICAL CENTER
By Sean Leary
Founding members always envisioned the gardens growing in Rock Island.
Great things are always blooming at the Quad City Botanical Center.Over the past 20 years, the facility at 2525 4th Ave., Rock Island, has taken root and become one of the most colorful attractions in the area. With a bouquet of fun activities for all ages and indoor gardens that always bring the feeling of warmth and natural beauty to life even during the harshest winters, the Quad City Botanical Center is a unique and beautiful rose in the downtown Rock Island garden.
Every year, the center serves between 40 and 50 thousand guests, including over 10,000 area children, in a variety of ways, from leisure visits to school tours and educational programs to special events to private rentals and more.
It started off with a dream held by members of the Rock Island Horticulture Club and area volunteers. “Rock Island was the city of choice from the beginning — the founding members always envisioned the gardens growing in Rock Island,” Ami Jenkins of the QCBC said. “A group of dedicated garden enthusiasts worked to build a greenhouse in Rock Island.” From there it’s grown like a vine to entwine a variety of events. “We have a creative and talented team who have a great passion for the gardens and the success of our programs,” Jenkins said. “We have `sister’ gardens that we share visits with across the Midwest and we work within our own amazing community to identify what our patrons want and need, all related to our mission of bringing people and plants together in fun and meaningful ways.”
One of those ways is through the dedicated work of their crew. “We have the honor of employing two exceptional gardeners, Dave Searl, our head gardener for 19 years, and Kate Mapes, who was recently recognized as a top 40 horticulturist under 40 in the nation!” Jenkins said. “We also have the support of many wonderful volunteers.“
The volunteers have been instrumental in the growth of the venue and they’re always looking for help.
“There are many options for volunteers at the Botanical Center,” Jenkins said. “We work with student interns from Augustana and St. Ambrose, AmeriCorps Youth, High School Community Engagement, Tri -City Garden Club, United Way, Modern Woodmen, John Deere, and more.”
For more information on the Botanical Center, visit qcgardens.com, facebook.com/qcgardens or contact by phone by calling (309) 794-0991.