The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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New garden addition to campus plans to open next semester

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Photo by PROVIDED

A rendering of the Leach Teaching Gardens shows the seven-and-a-half acre space that will be home to an event lawn, butterfly gardens, but orchards and more.

Phase I of the Texas A&M University Gardens is set to open in Spring 2018 and will feature a pavilion, an event lawn, the Leach Teaching Gardens and more, giving residents a new outlet to gather and connect with nature.

The Gardens project began more than 20 years ago with Dean Mark Hussey’s vision to preserve the campus’ flora and scenic landscapes. The Texas A&M University Board of Regents allocated the 40 acres of land surrounding the Agriculture and Life Sciences Complex to realize his vision in 1998. 

The project manager for the Gardens, horticulturist Joseph Johnson, Class of 1988, said he has been involved with the project since its infancy. 

When Johnson was a student at A&M, Mark Hussey had discussed plans for the garden years before the land was set aside.

“I got really interested in the idea when I was a student,” Johnson said. “I kept in touch with Dr. Hussey about it over the years and that’s how I got here.”

The first phase of the initiative will occupy seven-and-a-half acres of the nearly 40 acre space designated for the project and will feature a pavilion, an event lawn, the Leach Teaching Gardens and more. This phase will cost around $9 million and has been funded largely by donations, as well as by the University’s maintenance endowment. 

“Right now the project is under the general contract of Quad-Tex Construction, which is a local company and they have done various projects here on campus and they have numerous subcontractors as well, a lot of them are local — and they also subcontracted out a company by the name of Landscape Art who’s doing the landscape installations and they’re out of League City,” Johnson said. 

According to Johnson, once this first stage of the project is completed, students, faculty and the general public alike will be able to enjoy the spacious outdoor facility. 

“We’re creating a wonderful learning space with the Leach Teaching Gardens,” Johnson said. “It will have some private landscapes, vegetables, fruit and nut orchards, some bee and butterfly gardens, vineyards. There’s about 25 vignettes within the seven-and-a-half acres under construction.”

The teaching gardens will offer a variety of learning opportunities and are named in honor of Tim Leach who serves on the Texas A&M Engineering Advisory Council, and his wife Amy, who serves as his co-chair in the “Lead By Example” program.

“We’re calling this first phase the teaching gardens so there will be a lot of opportunities for like outdoor teaching labs and things like that — horticulture classes, landscape demonstrations and things like that,” Johnson said. 

Johnson said this new space will have an impact on the relationship between A&M and the Bryan-College Station community through offering another venue space, providing information on the region’s horticulture.

“We hope that The Gardens will be like the Central Park of the university,” Johnson said.

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