Rural Missouri Magazine

Nature's Water Garden
Millstream Gardens

by Jim McCarty

Water gardens are all the rage in backyard landscaping. Visitors to Millstream Gardens near Fredericktown can get some splendid ideas at the Department of Conservation natural area — provided they come at the right time.

During late winter and early spring the 1.2 miles of the St. Francis River that passes through the area is a raging torrent. So wild is the water that this section is the course for the state’s whitewater championships.

The whitewater is short-lived. When the spring rains stop the St. Francis becomes a placid brook and the granite boulders that form its course are the backdrop for the natural water garden that gives the area its name. Tiny waterfalls create soothing music that is often the only sound at this time of year.

The Department of Conservation has added many features to the area that make it worth visiting any time of the year. Its 614 acres can be used for hunting, fishing and hiking on a 2.5 mile trail that offers a panoramic look at the Tiemann Shut-ins area featured on our cover and passes the unusual pretzel-shaped pine tree at left.

Bowhunters can hone their skills on a 14-point, walk-through archery target range that includes a range for shooting broadheads.

Millstream Gardens, located just off Highway 72 in between Fredericktown and Arcadia, is open daily from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information you can contact the department at (573) 290-5730.

Rural Missouri | June 2020 Issue

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