The Western Kentucky Botanical Garden (WKBG) offers an entirely different visitor experience for 2022, boasting a new entrance, sign, marketing materials, visitor center entrance, and gift shop. They are also installing a new garden called the Path of Hope and Healing, which features a 300-foot pathway lined with 12 glass ribbons.
A large new sign nearing completion accentuates the new entrance at 2731 West 2nd Street. Executive Director Laurna Strehl said the Path of Hope and Healing installation would conclude at the end of the month, following the erection of a 21-feet tall art sculpture of butterflies, the largest of which has a 10-foot wingspan.
“The ribbons and their colors represent Kentucky’s top 12 cancer diagnoses. The winds of the butterfly contain the same 12 colors of the ribbon that line the pathway,” Strehl said, referencing the Path of Hope and Healing. “This path will take you to an amazing art sculpture, created by local craftsmen Scott Poynter and Chris Schartung.”
To closely follow the progress of the healing path, visit WKBG’s Facebook Page here.
Visitors this year will enter the garden through the restored, historical WeatherBerry home, immediately greeted by the new path. The garden is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.
“Take the opportunity to come and see us and be intentional about making plans to get down here,” Strehl said. “It’s a great place to make memories and spend quality time with your loved ones. It’s a great place to take photos; we constantly have photographers on the ground.”
The garden features a peony walk with more than 20 varieties of peonies, a revitalized conservatory, and educational classrooms.
“Education is a cornerstone of the garden’s existence,” Strehl said. “We hope to offer more opportunities for kids and adults alike in different formats. We have some great events on our calendar, so be sure to check it out.”
The complete list of events and more information about the garden is available at wkbg.org.
Strehl added that volunteerism at the garden has noticeably increased, but more are still needed because they are giving extra attention to the individual gardens. She said the Green River Area Extension Master Gardeners Association has had a significant presence and is improving the botanical garden in various areas.
“The Master Gardeners have essentially adopted spots in the garden and have committed to improve and maintain their specific areas,” she said. “Their hearts have grown for the botanical garden, and it really shows in all the work they are doing.”
With long-term planning at the forefront of the organization’s aspirations, including creating a strategic plan, it’s evident they don’t intend to slow down anytime soon.
“We hope to be here for a long time and are taking steps to ensure the long-term sustainability of the botanical garden.
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