The Botanical Garden, an annex to the NMNS, traces its beginning to Taichung City's park/green area adoption program. To enhance the city's aesthetic appearance and quality of life, the city government has been encouraging industrial groups, agencies, institutes or even individuals to adopt and construct parks.
With its lofty goals of creating a botanical garden to collect, grow, and preserve native plants of Taiwan and to enable people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to enjoy and appreciate the values of Taiwanese plants, the Museum adopted the scheduled site for the 54th park from the city government in 1994.
On March 15, 1994 the HOH Group in the States was commended to design and construct the Garden, but was dismissed on August 26, 1996 for some reason. Ho Chao-hsi, a local architect, succeeded to the Garden project in the following year and continued the construction of the Garden.
The Garden (named Botanical Park at that time) was opened in July of 1999, showing more than 1,200 tropical plant collections. Over the past one decade, the NMNS Botanical Garden has broadened its mission to include research, conservation, teaching and public display of plants from around the island. The Research & Education Center is the research arm of the Garden for plant research. World-class research on topics includes plant adaptation, evolution, genomics, plant physiology and biotic interactions, phytochemistry, plant biotechnology and plant breeding. For instance, the Garden's curators replanted Lilium speciosum (local name: showy lily), an endangered protophyte native plant to the Museum successfully. Three years later in July of 2002, showy lily was named as the mascot flower of the Museum, the specimen collections have grown to 551,705, and the name was changed from Botanical Park to Botanical Garden at this time. The Botanical Garden of the National Museum of Natural Science strived to promote for the people in the central Taiwan. The Garden always remains an inspiration, offers an excellent opportunity for students to get better understanding about tropical ecosystem, and leads the home gardener to greater enjoyment and accomplishment in his own yard.
Changes and Additions
Various changes were made throughout the Garden, including improvements for the Tropical Rainforest Conservatory and construction of the Aquatic Area where used to be a man-made Kenting beach before February, 2004. Other additions throughout the following years focused on increasing the variety of collections in the Garden. A Vine Garden, a Succulents Garden, a Lanyu Garden and a Taitung Cycad Garden were among the new gardens constructed. Other new features to the Garden included the Waterfall and the Orchid Bridge.
With increased attendance, the Botanical Garden of the Museum continued to grow in popularity and prestige.
Today, all of the Garden's programs in conservation, education, and scientific research have the common goal of ensuring the survival of Taiwan's endemic plants, and their ecosystems and cultural knowledge. The living collections within the Garden provide safe havens for many imperiled plant species, laboratories for scientists to study them, and resources for a wide range of educational courses.
The Garden allows guests to see a variety of plants from the cultivated to the wild. It provides an educational experience while entertaining visitors of all ages. Some half a million visitors are reached every year at the Garden by programs, classes, lectures, or concerts. 182 volunteers are working in all aspects of the Gardens operations. The Garden is not just an annex to the Museum any more. It is one of the most prominent attractions in the central part of Taiwan.