The Idaho Botanical Garden is right next door to the Old Idaho State Penitentiary. It was once the farm and nursery for the penitentiary. When the prison closed in 1973, the grounds were unused until the botanical garden was established.
The garden comprises 50 acres (15 of which are in cultivation) in the Boise foothills and is divided into garden rooms and individual areas. There is an English Garden, xeric demonstration garden, alpine garden, children's garden, rose garden, meditation area, water garden, etc. Most of the plants in the garden are donated by industry and corporate partners throughout Oregon and Idaho.
Parts of the garden run along the stone walls of the prison, giving a castle-like background to the plantings.
The outer-lying areas of the garden are dedicated to native plants and wilderness trails. The Lewis & Clark Plant Native Plant Garden, opened in 2006, commemorates the
bicentennial of the Lewis & Clark Expedition (1804-1806). This garden’s goal is to display 145 plant species
collected during the expedition between Great Falls, Montana and The
The fall color was astounding, especially with the vivid yellows and oranges of witch hazels, ornamental grasses and trees and bright red berries on pyracantha and hollies.
The gardens also feature garden art by local artists.
The Rose Garden with the prison tower and walls as background.