Discover the delights of the Idaho Botanical Garden

Backdropped by guard towers and 17-foot-tall sandstone walls, the Idaho Botanical Garden is located just outside the former Idaho State Penitentiary, which operated here in Boise from 1872 to 1973. On a 33-acre site, where prisoners once farmed vegetables, visitors now can take a leisurely stroll through 13 theme gardens.

The Heirloom Rose Garden displays nearly 100 varieties in traditional borders. A sandstone gazebo echoing the style of the prison walls is the centerpiece of the informal English Garden, which is full of perennial flowers. The Meditation Garden (shown) offers shady refuge.

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The garden hosts various events, including the Lewis & Clark lecture series (free with $4 garden admission; Jul 20, Aug 17, Sep 21, 2004), featuring presentations about the expedition. Local musicians perform Thursday evenings in the Great Garden Escapes concert series ($7, including garden admission; Jul 1-Sep 2). The Idaho Botanical Garden (9-5 Mon-Thu, 9-8 Fri, 10-6 Sat-Sun; $4; 2355 N. Penitentiary Rd.; or 208/343-8649) is open year-round.

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