Luthy’s Botanical Garden has not always had that name. On September 7, 1896 The Palm House opened and it was a grand Victorian structure that held formal gardens, a lily pond and a fountain. The Palm House was made of glass and also contained tropical plants like palms and weeping figs. This was one of Peoria’s greatest attractions until 1951; it was torn down and replaced with Luthy’s current structure.
On November 21, 1951 the newly built structure was opened and displayed the first Chrysanthemum Show. At this time, the conservatory was called “Glen Oak Conservatory.” It wasn’t until February 1987 that the garden was named in honor of George Luthy, who was a soft-spoken bank president that sat on the park board. Luthy was known for his roses, he had 300 in his personal garden. “[He was] very generous with his roses and shared them with people,” says Bob Streitmatter, Luthy Botanical Garden Manager.
Today the garden covers 6.4 acres and “holds a collection that is comprised of some very unique specimen plants, native plants and common plants which are accessible to the home gardener,” says Streitmatter. As we roll into Spring, this is one of the gardens busiest times according to Streitmatter. This is when they have different events at the garden such as the Tropical Conservatory , the Mother’s Day Orchid Show, and Adult Classes and Tours . If you have never taken a trip to the garden, they host plenty of special events that give you a great reason to check it out. Streitmatter’s favorite event is the Rhapsody in Bloom Arts Festival which it taking place June 29, 2013.
With such a variety of activities to take part in, what is stopping you from visiting the garden? Visit EnjoyPeoria.com to see what is up and coming at Luthy’s Botanical Gardens!