Tizer Gardens began in 1997 when Richard Krott and Belva Lotzer fell in love with and purchased a small piece of property on Tizer Lake Road, in Jefferson City. The couple began gardening in their backyard paradise, which sits in the heart of the Elkhorn Mountains and straddles Prickly Pear Creek. Gardening provided stress relief and a sort of therapy for Richard as he recovered from cancer.
Enticed by Mother Nature to spend as much time outside as possible, they began developing gardens along the creek and attacking large swaths of noxious weeds and replacing them with Cosmos. Over time they acquired an additional 6 acres of land and have developed about 4 acres of that to date.
By the spring of 2000, people had begun to notice the flowers in the couple's garden and the Krott's were finding visitors in their garden at all hours of the day and night. That year they decided to open the gardens on weekends for visitors. They went from 200 hundred visitors that first year — to 2000 visitors the next year and last year they welcomed over 15,000 visitors to their gardens.
By 2003, the temptation of a whole new opportunity wooed them into starting a nursery, in order to share the wonderful plants they had discovered would grow in this unforgiving climate.
In 2004, the Jefferson Local Development Corporation named the couple "Entrepreneurs of the Year", for their ingenuity and creativity in developing a new tourism destination in Jefferson County.
Early in 2005 the Krott's came to know and befriend Panayoti Keladis, chief plant curator for the Denver Botanic Gardens. It was his persuasion that convinced the couple to apply for and receive designation as an official Botanic Garden and Arboretum, the only one in western Montana. As a result of that association, two years later, Tizer Botanic Gardens & Arboretum also became Montana's only demonstration garden for the Denver Botanic Garden and Colorado State University's "Plant Select®" Program. Also in 2007, the Montana Federation of Garden Clubs awarded them "Gardeners of the Year" for the State of Montana.
2008 brought about the renovation of the original garage into a bright, clean gift shop. It was a happy day when they moved all of the gift items from the old tractor barn with a dirt floor into the new site.
People are welcome to bring their picnic and spend the day, walking through the gardens, reading, writing, painting or just enjoying the company of friends and family.
Tizer Gardens are also becoming a great place to take in a festival or two. Annually we host a "Things with Wings" Festival, a Scarecrow Festival and the very popular Fairy Festival. You can enjoy high tea in the garden or have your wedding here too. Check out our event calendar for more information.
Today, the gardens are run by the Krott's, two full time and several part-time employees and volunteers. We invite you to leave the world behind, relax, unwind and enjoy our little piece of paradise.