From Backyard Bliss to Botanic Wonder

Established in 1997 by Richard Krott and Belva Lotzer, Tizer Gardens is a tranquil oasis in Jefferson City. From a backyard escape to a renowned destination, it boasts Montana’s only Botanic Garden and Arboretum. With festivals and events year-round, visitors are invited to enjoy its natural beauty and rustic charm.

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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 5.5 acres of land.

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. 

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.  Numerous other awards have been bestowed upon them including “Showcase Garden of the Year” in 2021 from Plant Select Program. 

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 was also becoming a great place to enjoy a festival or two. Annually we used to host “Things with Wings” Festival, a Scarecrow Festival and the very popular Fairy and Wizard Children’s Festival. At other times we enjoyed Shakespeare in the Garden, Healing Fairs, Celebration of Herbs and numerous Fall events. You can still enjoy high tea in the garden or have your wedding here too. For more information check out our event page.

Nestled in the crook of the Prickley Pear Creek, the original homesteaders cabin was built over a 140 years ago and restored by the couple in 1999. Today it’s rustic charm adds a little magic to every bride’s wedding day. A tiny cabin sits on an island in the middle of the creek, which is a delight to sleep in with the sound of water flowing on both sides. We welcome folks to rent out the cabins, which gives you an opportunity to spend private time in the Gardens with no one else around.  You can rent our cabins through our Vrbo listing by clicking here.  

Today ½ of the property is dedicated to a very popular garden center, with 2 greenhouses and a retail operation.  We specialize in high altitude, cold hardy trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals.  We also stock seeds, potatoes, hard goods like fertilizers and many gift items.

In 2021 we grieved the loss of our founder Richard and now the gardens are run by Belva and a very dedicated staff, some full time and several part-time. And we couldn’t do it at all without the help of many dedicated and beloved volunteers. We invite you to leave the world behind, relax, unwind and enjoy our little piece of paradise. 

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