A “secret garden” in southeast Missouri blooms for all to see

Spring is in the air, especially around what you might call a secret garden blooming in rural Cape Girardeau County, Missouri.

It’s called the Pinecrest Azalea Gardens.

Here you’ll find 52 acres of spring blossoms out near Oak Ridge.

We’re talking more than 500,000 plants… azaleas, rhododendron’s, holly and more!

Heartland Weekend’s Nichole Cartmell says it’s absolutely gorgeous.

The flowers are officially in peak bloom.


The History of Pinecrest Azaleas

The Penzel family started the gardens back in 1963. They would welcome friends and family in to say hello to spring.

Since the 60s, the gardens have grown into a destination of sorts. Families from all over will annually stop here, take pictures, enjoy a picnic on one of the many benches, or just live in full bloom.

Sadly, Gene Penzel, also known to many as “Mr. Pinecrest Azaleas,” passed away in November 2018.

But his wife Linda and their family are continuing that tradition, opening the gardens for all to enjoy.

The gardens draw in quite the crowd when the weather is nice. Some enjoy a picnic amongst the flowers, others snap photos of the colorful scene.

(Source: Kim Gilley Eberly)

The gardens bloom each spring from March 15 through May 15.

You’re of course welcome to stop by any day as long as the sun is shining.

Prime flower-viewing time is usually during the last two weeks of April and the first week or so of May.

How to get there:

To reach the gardens from I-55; Take the Oak Ridge Exit 111, turn west onto Rt. E, go straight through Oak Ridge, pass Oak Ridge school on your right, continue until Rt. E until ends at Rt. B, turn left onto Rt. B, go one mile to County Road 472 on your right, turn onto 472, go 1/2 mile and turn onto Torre Lane.

Nichole Cartmell

Nichole Cartmell

Nichole Cartmell is the reporter and producer for Heartland Weekend.