The Strassenfest German Garden incorporates some of the native flora of Germany and central Europe, as well as plants hybridized or discovered by native Germans. The design is that of a woodland setting full of herbaceous perennials, as well as deciduous trees and shrubs. Included are sweeps of grasses, astilbes, ferns, columbine, yarrow and many other plants.
Plantings in the Strassenfest German Garden are meant to have a natural, informal appearance. The layout was designed to make the planting look as if it has no particular design or pattern. This was done by scattering populations of the same species of perennial throughout the garden in places they would thrive.
The artistic centerpiece for the garden is a bronze bust of Dr. George Engelmann, created by sculptor Paul Granlund as a tribute to the German native for his accomplishments and contributions to the Missouri Botanical Garden. Engelmann was a German physician who immigrated to St. Louis in the 1830s. He was a noted botanist and a principal advisor to Garden founder Henry Shaw. Engelmann instilled a strong scientific mission for the Garden, laying the foundation for the Garden’s world-renowned research program. The sculpture features some of the species of plants described by Engelmann or named for him, including conifers and cacti. Upon his death, Engelmann donated his entire collection of more than 95,000 plant specimens to the Garden, most of which were collected in the western and southwestern United States.
Formally dedicated in July 2000, the Strassenfest German Garden was funded by a charitable donation from the St. Louis Strassenfest Corporation. It is located next to the Lehmann Building at the south end of the Garden grounds.