Peckerwood Garden, a 19-acre trove of rare plants from the southern U.S. and Mexico has earned its founder/curator, Texas A&M Regents Professor John Fairey, recognition from the Scott Arboretum in Swarthmore, Pa.
Senior member of the College of Architecture faculty, Fairey has taught at Texas A&M since 1964. He will receive the arboretum's prestigious Scott Medal and Award 4 p.m. March 17 at the Lang Performing Arts Center at Swarthmore College, which is nestled within the Scott Arboretum. He will lecture after the medal presentation.
The Scott Medal recognizes Fairey's myriad contributions to the science and art of gardening, garden design, horticulture, plant exploration, distribution, conservation and education. His Peckerwood Garden, located approximately 4 miles southeast of Hempstead, Texas on FM 359, is widely recognized for the originality of its design, the depth of its collection and its potential to foster education and conservation.
“Peckerwood is a garden with a mission to encourage other gardeners to see a beauty in landscape that is consistent with our plants and climate,” Fairey said. “It is a pioneering garden exploring new plants and cultivation methods. It is a garden that looks to the future, not to the past.”
Fairey acquired the garden in 1971. After a high canopy of trees was destroyed in a 1983 tornado, he saw an opportunity to explore new directions in the garden that better reflected his ideas about space and allowed him to experiment with new plant material.
He acquired many of the garden’s exotic species during approximately 100 expeditions to document and conserve rapidly vanishing, uncatalogued plants in remote Mexican regions and determine their climatic adaptability.
The garden provides its plants to a number of institutions and plant conservancies, including almost the entire collection of Meso-American rare and endangered species at the University of California-Berkeley.
For more than 20 years Fairey has shared his garden with the public, exposing gardeners to his way of seeing and planting during scheduled guided tours and designated open weekends.See related New York Times story: "Growing From His Mistakes: A Texas Gardener Looks to Mexico for Inspiration