Located in Jefferson City, Montana, the Tizer Botanic Gardens are a feast for the eyes. Though Montana’s dry soil is often unforgiving when it comes to horticulture, the Krotts, who started this garden in 1997, were able to beat the odds by planting a variety of trees, vegetables, and flowering plants on their 6 acres of land. In doing so, this green-thumbed pair created a major tourist hub for the city. Over time, their work culminated in official recognition from the Denver Botanic Gardens, with which the Tizer Gardens are now affiliated.
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The story of the Tizer Gardens began in 1997, when a young married couple, Richard Krott and Belva Lotzer, purchased a small plot of land between the Elkhorn Mountains and Prickly Pear Creek. Soon after settling into their new home, the pair took up gardening as a way to relax. As their passion for gardening grew, the Krotts purchased six more acres of land, which allowed them to expand their garden exponentially. Three years after moving in, the gardens began attracting visitors. Soon, what had started as a mere hobby turned into a major undertaking. Tizer Gardens went from welcoming 200 weekend visitors to 2,000 the very next year. In 2003, Tizer Gardens introduced a nursery, which allowed the Krotts to share the plants they had so carefully cultivated. Shortly after that, the gardens attracted the attention of the Denver Botanic Gardens, which led to the Tizer Gardens being designated as an official Botanic Garden and Arboretum. This unprecedented accolade was the first of its kind in Montana. The Denver Botanic Gardens included Tizer Gardens in its Plant Select program, designating it as Montana’s only demonstration garden for the institution. What started out as a calming way to connect with nature grew to become one of the city’s major tourist destinations as well as a point of pride for the community. Today, Tizer Gardens attract 15,000 visitors annually, host several notable festivals, and employ several full and part-time staff who help the Krotts keep the operation running.
The harsh Montana soil rarely sees even 60 consecutive frost-free days. This fact makes the vegetable garden at Tizer Gardens a most extraordinary accomplishment. Visitors can see some of the best raspberry and strawberry batches that Jefferson City has to offer. Depending on the day, it may be possible to taste a few of the vegetable garden’s offerings. Separate from the main vegetable garden, the gardens also have an asparagus patch. This unique vegetable is known for the green ferns and beautiful berries that it sprouts during certain growth phases in its lifecycle. These colorful ornaments can usually be observed during the fall, when the green ferns turn a golden yellow.
Tizer Gardens have several structures for visitors to explore on their property. Throughout the landscape, they form a perfect backdrop for showcasing different species of plants. The Gazebo Garden allows visitors to get better acquainted with cotton candy meadowsweets, climbing clematis, and several species of bushes. One of the most impressive sights near the gazebo are the 9-foot-tall delphiniums. These beautiful ornamental flowers range from misty lilac to deep purple in color. Their name originated from the Latin for dolphin due to their shape.
Another notable set of structures comprise the children’s garden at Tizer Gardens. Here, the youngest visitors can play amongst gnomes and fairies while gazing up at the upside-down trees planted there.
For visitors looking for quiet contemplation, the meditation garden is one of the most tranquil locations at Tizer. Peppered with Buddha statues and wooden benches, this meditation space provides a sheltered ambiance for those seeking solitude.
Those seeking to purchase Tizer Gardens memorabilia to commemorate their visit will enjoy a stroll in the direction of the Old Homesteaders Cabin. This renovated 100-year-old cabin houses the gift shop and snack hut, where ice cream and popcorn is sold.
There are several annual events that are hosted at Tizer Gardens. The holiday season allows visitors to see the gardens as a winter wonderland, where they can carol, enjoy hot chocolate, and roast hot dogs. This cherished event brings the community together to celebrate nature, togetherness, and the Christmas spirit. Visitors can also expect to be able to purchase stocking stuffers from a variety of local vendors as well as beautiful Christmas wreaths.
The summer months see much of Tizer Gardens in bloom. From high tea to dress-up fairy-themed parties, Tizer Gardens has much to offer in the way of family-friendly entertainment.
38 Tizer Road, Jefferson City, MT 59638, Phone: 406-933-8789