Here’s Why Missoula Is Called the Garden City
Springtime in Missoula and specifically the weeks near Earth Day has many Missoulians working in their yards. This year, the growing season has been delayed by weeks of snow and the third-longest winter in history.
Walking around Missoula, you'll see all kinds of plants and trees, some native, and some not. Have you ever seen the Ginkgo Biloba near Playfair Park?
As the trees start to bud, you may notice or remember that Missoula has a lot of maple trees. That's in part why Missoula is called the Garden City.
Why Missoula Is Called the Garden City
Turns out, there's some history as to why Missoula has so many maple trees. An article from the Missoulian explains:
Back in 1869 one of our city's founding fathers, Frank Worden, decided to plant Norway maples along our city's streets.
The article goes on to explain that the trees "inspired the editor of the Deer Lodge newspaper, 'The New Northwest,' to call Missoula 'The Garden City.'"
Related: Are You Growing One of Montana's 5 Regulated Plant Types?
Missoula's Grow Zone
If you do garden in Missoula, you know that Missoula is in a hardiness zone 5b, which is characterized by experiencing cold winter temperatures, but also warm summers. Missoula's climate is ideal for growing many herbs, vegetables, and flowers, and you'll see dedicated gardens around the city. Here are a few worth visiting or gardening projects worth looking into:
- Memorial Rose Garden
- Fort Missoula Native Plant Garden
- Reinhardt Peony Garden
- and tons of Community Gardens
There are also plans in the works for "A Botanic Garden For Missoula" with initial concepts including a variety of gardens with different focuses, for example, a native garden and a children's garden.
Even though the city earned its nickname because of trees that were imported and planted here, I think Missoula has since earned the nickname.