Come visit us at our new location at 1075 South Ave W on the Missoula Fairgrounds.

Rocky Mountain Gardens and Gerald W. Marks Exploration Center

Rocky Mountain Gardens and Gerald W. Marks Exploration Center

Gerald W. Marks Exploration Center and Rocky Mountain Gardens

Recognizing the unique synergy of our programs, the Missoula County Department of Ecology and Extension, the Missoula Butterfly House & Insectarium, and the Conservation District are creating a premier destination for scientific and community-centered education. Featuring a teaching kitchen, wet lab, meeting spaces, and educational gardens, the GW Marks Exploration Center and Rocky Mountain Gardens will be a place to find connection with community, nature and our rural heritage in the Rocky Mountain West.

Rocky Mountain Gardens- Opening 2024!

Located at the GW Marks Exploration Center on the Missoula County Fairgrounds, Rocky Mountain Gardens will introduce the visitors to the range of plants that can be grown in our region as well as the best practices for growing in a changing world. We will help you learn what you can grow here, and how to do it!

There will be over 20 distinct growing areas including rose, pollinator, medicinal herb, native prairie, sensory, forest, vegetable, ornamental, and waterwise garden beds as well as a fruit tree and berry orchard.

The garden will provide areas for teaching, learning, and growing. There will be an outdoor classroom, flowering pollinator lawn and drought tolerant lawn areas that will serve as a gathering spaces. The gardens will also feature a four-season greenhouse, hoop house for season extension crops and shaded areas for classes.

This is a garden built by the community, for the community-- Join us this spring and summer as we set down roots and start to grow!


Get involved!

May 29th 10-noon and 1-3pm Ornamental Garden Planting. Join Bill Caras, of Caras Nursery fame, for a volunteer shift planting in the Ornamental Garden. Volunteers will help Bill plant perennials and install drip irrigation.

June 1st 10-noon. Entrance Garden Planting. Join Molly Sutton from Sutton Garden Design as we beautify the entrance to the Gardens! We will be installing a showy annual planting along the West wall facing the fairgrounds.

June 4th 4-6pm Color Garden Planting. Join us for an afternoon of flower planting in our annual display garden. We will be planting Marigolds, Zinnias, Alyssum and more!

June 7th 10-noon and 1-3pm Native Prairie Garden Planting Help us preserve local biodiversity by participating in our native prairie garden planting, where we will be planting native bunchgrasses and wildflowers rescued from a development site.

June 19th 10-noon Pollinator Garden Planting, Part 1. Join Marchie’s nursery in the pollinator garden where we will plant pollinator friendly plants.

June 19th 5-7pm Pollinator Garden Planting, Part 2. Join us in planting pollinator plants in the pollinator garden in honor of the Missoula Conservation District’s 75th Anniversary

View Volunteer Opportunities and Sign Up HERE!

Contact us to learn more:

Molly Anton, Rocky Mountain Gardens Coordinator; 406-258-4210

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