LAND students informed design of new campus teaching garden

See renderings of landscape architecture students' original master plan.

A seven-acre Texas A&M outdoor horticulture laboratory and demonstration space, a major addition to Texas A&M’s West Campus, was realized with the aid of a master plan developed by graduate landscape architecture students.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the space, the Leach Teaching Gardens, is scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday, June 17 on the lawn of the Texas A&M Agriculture and Life Sciences Building, 600 John Kimbrough Blvd.

The gardens, which include vegetable beds, a butterfly and bee garden, a food and fiber field and a pavilion, are the first phase of a planned 27-acre College of Agriculture and Life Sciences garden and greenway, where students and the public can learn about and connect with the living world of horticulture.

The students’ master plan was created in 2012-13 graduate studios led by Jon Rodiek, professor of landscape architecture.

“Their plan established a framework for the design and visual concept of the garden,” said Doug Welsh, horticulture professor emeritus and the project’s coordinator, who used the students’ garden renderings to cultivate financial support for the project.

“Without the students’ master plan, the project would not have moved forward,” he said.

Students began developing the master plan in summer 2012, performing a site inventory and researching similar projects. They continued in the fall, working with Welsh and a College of Agriculture and Life Sciences committee, responding to their critiques through several iterations.

That spring, they added demonstration gardens and landscaping for the AgriLife building complex, including teaching and demonstration gardens, a wildflower-covered meadow, a rose garden, trails with boardwalks over wetland areas, a visitor center and an amphitheater for the performing arts, films, and social events.

Designers with White Oak Studio, who created the Leach Teaching Gardens’ final plan, placed it in the same spot on the 27-acre site that Rodiek’s students did, said Welsh.

posted June 15, 2016