bot garden manOWENSBORO, Ky. (5/14/13) – On Thursday, May 9, the Western Kentucky Botanical Garden held its official ribbon cutting for its conservatory. The event was held in conjunction with the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce.

The Conservatory is an addition to the Garden that has been in the works for almost six years, according to Bill Tyler, who operates the garden. Funding was established through the Bill Young Charitable Foundation and matching grants, with construction being completed by Donnie Hagan Construction and Texas Green House Corporation.

Tyler said that this year there is a large variety of orchids in the green house, as well as a selection of tropical and subtropical plants. Specifically, banana plants, ferns, and cacti will be housed in the conservatory.

This year, in conjunction with the Botanical Garden’s educational program, Tyler said that they will start a seed program so that students can come in during the winter and see plants grow in the conservatory setting in their off season.

“The addition of the conservatory represents a tourist attraction in the community for years to come,” said Tyler. “Everything it has accomplished has been far beyond our dreams so far.”

Bill Tyler was a doctor practicing internal medicine in Owensboro for over 30 years, and operated a bed and breakfast with his wife, Susie, on the property adjacent to the Botanical Garden before retiring from medicine. Board members told SurfKY news that Tyler donated the land to be used as the Botanical Garden.

 “We just wanted to join the Chamber of Commerce because I believe we have the same goals,” said Tyler, adding that those goals were to see Owensboro grow and to bring tourism to the area.

“We have a wonderful board who worked very hard to get us where we are today,” Tyler told the crowd gathered on Thursday.

The Western Kentucky Botanical Garden offers self-guided or guided tours of the gardens, education programs for students, as well as renting the grounds out for luncheons, business meetings, and workshops. The Garden is opened from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. seven days a week. Members are admitted free. Non-members pay an admission fee of $5, seniors pay $3, and students pay $1.

Alex Reid
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