Yesterday, we took advantage of the nice weather to visit the gardens. Touring the grounds there were plenty of signs of spring about, such as Snow Drops, Witch Hazel, Crocuses and even a few dwarf Irises. The Red Eared Sliders were also out, sunning themselves. After circling the grounds, we ended up inside the Climatron. The garden’s rules say that visitors should wear masks inside buildings, but almost everyone else was maskless inside there. Dominating the garden this year, with the steady pounding of its construction is the garden’s new visitors center. Slated to open sometime this summer, its “pardon our mess” will preclude any annual summer show. This new visitor center replaced the not even fourteen years old former visitors center. Its exterior outline has already taken shape, so I imagine that most of the work left to do is interior. We spoke with a garden employee and learned that its introduction will have a ripple effect throughout the rest of the garden. For example, the neighboring Mediterranean house is undergoing a gut rehab and the also neighboring Linnean House is slated to be rededicated to its original Henry Shaw era purpose as an orangery, a house to overwinter citrus trees, palms and tree ferns. A new home will be found for all of the cactuses that used to live there too. Right now, there is only a bunch of empty planters inside the building. We also discovered more empty pots nestled behind the herb garden that is located behind Henry Shaw’s old house. The theme of this new garden seems to be potted herbs. So, this summer will be somewhat of a mess, but not having one of those big summer shows should give the garden a sense of peace, when you get far enough away from the construction to enjoy it.