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Campus Gardens

Centennial Gardens and Bus Stop Planter

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This project is an example of what we mean by making this campus safer and more user friendly. Most students living in the residence halls, as well as visitors entering the Auditorium, pass the road and walkways behind the Student center, Auditorium and the Bus Stop. cars and pedestrians both used the roads in this area, making it an unsafe place to walk. As teachers of "Landscape and Garden", we were asked by the administration if our class could do anything to make the bus stop area a little nicer. Students surveyed users of this part of campus as part of their landscape planning process. The area was viewed as a sort of a "back door'' with all the negative connotations of a rear entrance despite its heavy use.

As our students began work on the "Bus Stop" in the fall of 1996 we realized that the entire area from the back entrance of the Student center /Auditorium out to the Ring Road was really a main entrance to the center of campus. With this broader perspective, students of "Landscape and Garden" designed gardens for this rear entranceway, now called centennial Way, including the large "Bus Stop Planter", the two roadside corner gardens and the mount backed by the Auditorium wall. The subsequent year's class carried the design and planting around the corner to Admissions to make a coherent whole.

Centennial Garden Planning

Most students living in the residence halls as well as visitors entering the Auditorium pass the road and walkways behind the Student center, Auditorium and the Bus Stop. As teachers of "Landscape and Garden", we were asked by the administration if our class could do anything to make the bus stop area a little nicer. Students' surveyed users of this part of campus, as part of the landscape planning process. The area was viewed as a sort of a "back door'' with all the negative connotations of a rear entrance.

As our students began work on the "Bus Stop" in the fall of 1996 we realized that the entire area from the back entrance of the Student center /Auditorium out to the Ring Road was really a main entrance to the center of campus. With this broader perspective, students of "Landscape and Garden" designed gardens for this rear entranceway, now called centennial Way, including the large "Bus Stop Planter", the two roadside corner gardens and the mount backed by the Auditorium wall.

The design and installation was completed near the end of fall semester in November, 1996 with our completion ceremony held the last week of planting December 5th, in a light snow fall. Total cost for materials $6,000, was provided from Facilities and by contributions from UMD Student Fees, the Student Senate the Student Board of Governors and from private donations.

Landscape additions were made to the north of the centennial Gardens in 1997, the year following the initial installation, during the design and installation of the Admissions and Student Services Gardens by our Landscape and Gardens class.

"The giant ashtray" was the moniker given to the raised, cement mostly empty planter in the middle of the road beneath the cafeteria. This "Bus Stop Planter" (12' x 65') was one of the "ugliest structures around" as quoted from one of our students. Everyone entering the Resident Dining Hall, the Student center and the Auditorium passed by this ugly site daily before it was redesigned and planted by students and faculty of "Landscape and Garden" in 1997.

Designed in a naturalistic style the Bus Stop Planter now contains over 30 species of shrubs along with lichen covered rocks from campus woodlands and crushed stone in a symbolic pond and waterway. The best view of this raised garden is from windows of the small commuter cafeteria overhead. Evergreens (Alberta spruce, creeping junipers, cotoneaster and mugo pines) provide year-round cover and structure to the planting. Deciduous chokeberry, green cutleaf Japanese maple and Fothergilla provide bright orange and red autumn color that is echoed across the road by colorful shadblow and more chokeberry winterberry holly. The red berries of winterberry holly stand out strikingly throughout winter against the otherwise barren twigs.

Prominent trees on the mount will eventually grow into the scale of the tall facade wall of the auditorium behind them. Here the evergreen Leyland cypress will eventually tower over the white birch, American hollies, Stewartia and shadblows. Dawn redwood, the conical deciduous conifer tree at the north end of the planting, looks dead in winter, as it drops its needles each autumn but renews its foliage in early spring. Dawn Redwood grows fast and will keep up with the Leyland cypresses.

The granite 'benches' placed here were recovered from an old farm quarry near the Residential Halls across Ring Road. Magnolia grandiflora 'Bracken's Brown Beauty' is protected from cold and dry winter wind around the corner from the mount, to the north, and against the east wall of the Office of Admissions. This southern magnolia bears large white flowers in June, later than the earlier flowering, more cold tolerant deciduous star magnolias planted nearby. This evergreen magnolia and several other species were gifts to the University from Sylvan Nurseries in support of our student class landscape projects.

One of the design groups made a time-lapse video tape showing the dangerous combination of pedestrians and disabled students in wheel chairs with delivery trucks and cars on the road. Students designed paths across corners of the road to provide safe places for pedestrians to walk off the road. This subsequent year's project is an example of what we mean by making this campus safer and more user friendly. While the allee of flowering pears along centennial Way were installed from 1997- 1999 they were included in the original 1996 design of the centennial Gardens.



 Last Updated On: 2/25/04

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