COLUMBIA, Mo. – The Mizzou Botanic Garden’s two-day celebration of the University of Missouri’s 175th anniversary will feature television host and gardening expert P. Allen Smith.

“Smith is truly a Renaissance man in gardening, interior design, food, cooking – a man of many talents, similar to our own Thomas Jefferson,” said Pete Millier, director of the Mizzou Botanic Garden.

A celebration of Thomas Jefferson’s 271st birthday on Sunday, April 13, will include a lecture by Smith on “The Horticultural Life and Gardens of Thomas Jefferson.”

“Smith is in awe of Jefferson’s influence on American horticulture,” Millier said. “We regard Jefferson as America’s first gardener.”

One of Jefferson’s family members will join the celebration.

“Betsy Mackey is not only a Mizzou graduate, but she is also a great-great-great-great-great-granddaughter of Thomas Jefferson,” Millier said. “We are excited to have one of Jefferson’s family members here to help us celebrate.”

On April 14, Smith will join a panel on urban agriculture and local foods for a roundtable discussion. Millier said the panel will include experts from all four corners of the state.

The Mizzou Botanic Garden was created in 1999 with an eye toward increasing the beauty of the Columbia campus. Today, there are 11 thematic and seven special collection gardens around the Mizzou campus.

“The Mizzou Botanic Garden serves as a living laboratory for students, researchers and educators,” said David Trinklein, horticulture specialist for University of Missouri Extension. “The garden delights visitors from around the world with its exceptional beauty and extensive plant collection.”

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, go to

Sunday, April 13

4:30-5:30 p.m. P. Allen Smith will join the Mizzou Botanic Garden to celebrate the birthday of Thomas Jefferson. Birthday cake and lemonade at Francis Quadrangle.

6-7 p.m. The Inaugural Jacquelyn K. Jones Lectureship, “The Horticultural Life and Gardens of Thomas Jefferson, Third President of the United States.” The Columns Ballroom, Reynolds Alumni Center.

7-7:30 p.m. Book signing.

Books available for purchase outside of the Columns Ballroom, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Monday, April 14

9:00-9:30 a.m. A Sensory Garden Installation and Planting: Child Development Lab’s MU Children’s Learning Garden, behind Curtis Hall.

10-11:30 a.m. A local harvest roundtable discussion with P. Allen Smith and urban agriculture and local food experts from throughout Missouri, Stotler Lounge, Memorial Union.

11:30 a.m.-noon. Book signing.

Books available for purchase outside of the Columns Ballroom, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

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