Programs and Attractions

LSU AgCenter’s Botanic Gardens at Burden
Situated on a tract of 420 acres of open land in the heart of Baton Rouge, Burden Center is one of the LSU AgCenter’s hidden treasures. Acquired by John Charles Burden in the mid 19th century and originally named Windrush Plantation, The Botanic Gardens at Burden is the home of a wide array of horticultural research projects as well as formal and informal gardens, and urban forests.

Windrush Gardens
Adjacent to the original Burden home, which was on the last donated parcel, Windrush Gardens feature about 15 acres of semiformal gardens, with winding paths, lakes and open areas designed and planted by Steele Burden. The crape myrtles, azaleas, camellias and other plants are representative of flora in 19th century plantation gardens. Bronze and marble statues, mostly from Europe, are featured throughout the gardens.  The original Windrush Garden, a 3½-acre area around the original Burden home, is maintained exactly as it was when Steele Burden designed it. Since then, however, it has grown to about 15 acres in keeping with the original design. The AgCenter has been adding and enhancing the garden with newer plant varieties, planting camellias where Steele Burden planted camellias and planting azaleas where he planted azaleas.

The Camellia Gardens
Complementing Steele Burden’s original plantings, the LSU AgCenter acquired more than 450 identified camellia varieties from the private collection of Violet Stone in 2002. When Violet Stone died in 2001, she left a Baton Rouge garden brimming with about 500 named varieties. With the help of Violet’s daughter, Stella Stone Cooper of Paramus, N.J., and longtime family friend Art Landry of Baton Rouge, staff from the Burden Center identified and collected cuttings, which were cataloged and propagated. Later, the camellia bushes themselves were removed from the Stone residence in Baton Rouge’s Garden District and transplanted to Burden Center.

The Ginger Garden
Established in 2000, this garden brims with tropical delights that will spice up any garden.  Gingers are being evaluated for their landscape potential and include Curcuma, Globba and Keampferia.

All-America Select Garden
Looking for new ideas for your own landscape or just want to experience new beds of diverse, strong, easy growing plant selections thriving in Louisiana? You will find it all waiting for you in the All-American Select Garden, created and maintained by the EBR Master Gardeners and the Friends of the Gardens.

All-America Rose Garden
Burden is a member of All-America Rose Selection’s nationwide network of approved public gardens. AARS public gardens contain a minimum of 800 rose bushes and offer special displays of outstanding new varieties chosen by AARS for their beauty, novelty and vigor. AARS public gardens are reviewed annually to ensure that visitors continue to have an enjoyable and educational experience. The AgCenter also conducts annual surveys to evaluate plants for disease resistance and overall performance in South Louisiana.  

Children’s Garden
A new garden is growing at the LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens at Burden.  The Model School/Children’s Garden was designed for people of all ages to enjoy but especially designed for children. The garden encompasses about 1/3 acre.  As you meander through the pathways, you’ll come in contact with both butterfly and edible plants.  As the season changes, so will the plants; the garden is ever-changing, so there’s always something new to see.

Visiting children are encourage to touch, feel, smell and enjoy the garden space. There are two sections in the garden = the butterfly garden and the fruit trees and vegetable crops.

The garden is open to the general public from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Sunday.  Currently there is no fee to visit.

Other Garden Areas at Burden
An International Hibiscus Garden supported by the Red Stick Hibiscus Society includes more than 100 varieties, which are kept during the winter in a greenhouse and replanted every spring. Four plant beds in the Orangerie are planted with hibiscus throughout the year. 
The Barton Arboretum, which includes a pond and gazebo, is dedicated to Scott Duchein Barton, wife of John Barton, who was a lifelong friend of Steele Burden.
A Memorial Live Oak Garden features trees that have been dedicated to friends of the AgCenter.
The AgCenter’s School of Renewable Natural Resources is establishing a collection of trees that hold the potential of supplying important anti-carcinogenic compounds.
The Orangerie, a lovely structure that overlooks the Rose Gardens and serves as a safe haven for cold sensitive plants.

StoryWalk in the Garden
StoryWalk, an innovative and delightful way for children and adults to enjoy reading and the outdoors at the same time! Pages from a children’s book are displayed throughout the outdoor path. As you stroll down the trail, you’re directed to the next page in the story. Interactive signs located along the path include author and illustrator information. The StoryWalk project was made possible through a generous donation from the Junior League.

Trees and Trails
Trees and Trails is approximately three miles of pedestrian, recreational, and educational trails that weave through Burden Woods at the Botanic Gardens at Burden in the heart of Baton Rouge. The backbone of these trails was originally designed by Steele Burden as meandering paths through part of the Burden Woods, a natural resource and wildlife treasure, which are part of the historic 440 acres of Burden Center.   (Click here for map)

Docents are available to lead Project Learning Tree (PLT)for educational field trips for schools and scout troops.  PLT is a nationally recognized outdoor education program.  More information on this award winning program may be found at the Trees and Trails website.

Steele Burden Memorial Orangerie
Part conservatory and part interpretive in construction, orangeries originally were designed to house or protect citrus trees during cold weather, hence the name. The 1,242-square-foot Burden Orangerie includes a main room for displaying tropical and subtropical plants along with four smaller rooms that currently house hibiscus displays.  Following Steele Burden’s death in 1995, his close friends developed the Orangerie as a memorial to his significant contributions to the community.

Ione Burden Conference Center
The Ione E. Burden Conference Center includes a 2,400-square-foot meeting room served by a kitchen and outdoor covered patio/cooking area. The room is furnished with 12 tables and 90 comfortable chairs. A beautiful setting for conferences and workshops, the facility will accommodate all types of audiovisual projection equipment.

Rural Life Museum
Along with the AgCenter’s research and demonstration activities, LSU operates the Rural Life Museum in a 7-acre corner of Burden Center. The museum has received an additional nine acres from the AgCenter and will break ground in 2008 on a $4.6 million expansion.

Largely forgotten by the 20th century, the lifestyles and cultures of preindustrial Louisiana are recalled at the LSU Rural Life Museum. Through its extensive collection of tools, utensils, furniture and farming equipment, the museum preserves and interprets an important part of the state’s and nation’s rural heritage. The museum also serves as a research facility for LSU students engaged in heritage conservation studies.

Our Green Friends & Partners

Partnering with other ‘green’ organizations is a priority with the Friends.  Below are links or contact information for to find out more about their activities.

East Baton Rouge Master Gardeners

Baton Rouge Green

Hilltop Arboretum

Baton Rouge Orchid Society

Baton Rouge Rose Society

Camellia Society

Hibiscus Society

Succulent Society

American Horticultural Society

The Herb Society of America Baton Rouge Unit