"Perserve, Protect, Enhance and Educate"

Botanical Society of ZooMontana

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  Millennium Grove

"A Circle of Meditation"

This unique grove of 52 Black Hills Spruce was developed by Dwayne Bondy in 1999 as part of the "Celebrate 2000" activities in Billings. It consists of a meditation circle encompassed by beautiful spruce trees. The circle has large rocks in the center and the plan was to finish the area with perennials, native plants and grasses. The area has never been completed. It will be another focus for 2017 to finish the area according to the original concept.


For more plants found in the Millennium Grove be sure to visit our Botany Page

Black Hills Spruce

Also known as Picea Glauca

Native Grasses

Montana Grasses

Black Hills spruce is a variety of white spruce that is native to a geographically isolated area in and around the Black Hills of South Dakota. It was originally called Picea glaucavar. densata, but many experts now designate it as Picea glauca ‘Densata’ because its differences from the species are judged insufficient to justify classification as a botanical variety. In its small native habitat, it is commonly found growing at around 6000’ in elevation. It typically grows rather slowly in a dense, symmetrical cone to 20-25’ tall, but over time may rise to 40-60’ or more. It is distinguished from the species by having (1) smaller size with slower growth rate, (2) denser habit, (3) brighter green to blue-green needles and (4) slightly shorter cones. By reputation in the horticulture industry, Black Hills spruce is a superior ornamental tree to the species. Black Hills spruce is the state tree of South Dakota.

Native grasses cover much of the eastern two-thirds of Montana, occurring continuously for hundreds of square kilometers, interrupted only by wetland/riparian areas or sand prairies. Soils are primarily fine and medium-textured. The growing season averages 115 days, ranging from 100 days on the Canadian border to 130 days on the Wyoming border. Climate is typical of mid-continental regions with long severe winters and hot summers. Grasses typically comprise the greatest canopy cover, and western wheatgrass (Pascopyrum smithii) is usually dominant. Other species include thickspike wheatgrass (Elymus lanceolatus), green needlegrass (Nassella viridula), blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis), and needle and thread (Hesperostipa comata). Many types of these grasses can be found in the open areas around the zoo.