Developing a Usage Plan for a University Teaching Garden

in HortScience
Author: Heidi L. Hoel1
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  • 1 Dept. of Horticulture, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53715.

The Allen Centennial Gardens are located at the Univ. of Wisconsin–Madison on the grounds of the National Historical site, the house of the first four deans of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The 2.5-acre garden, developed and managed primarily by the Dept. of Horticulture, replaced the old teaching and display garden space taken over in building additions. Within the past 10 years the grounds have been designed and transformed into a garden, with 26 individual collection gardens, including: turf, fruit and vegetable gardens, classic ornamental gardens (with both herbaceous and woody perennials), and a rock alpine garden. As it receives its finishing touches, an education plan is being developed to complement the education purpose of the garden; the goal of the garden is to become an active site for learning through both observation and interaction with the garden collections. The two main themes of the learning experience are: 1) the biology of the diverse and unique plant collections (including: culture, practices, and production), and 2) the aesthetics of the garden (the organization of space, form, topography, and color). Implementation of education programs will occur on the following four levels: first the university (first the horticulture department, second other departments and university functions); second, area high schools groups; third, community and professional groups; and fourth, elementary school groups. The education programs will include mapping, internships, classes, meetings, volunteerism, and tours. The Allen Centennial Gardens, with its education mission, has already and will continue to be a meeting grounds for the university community, and a meetings ground for both the professional community and Madison-area community.

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