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Campus Gardens

Contemplative Garden

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The Contemplative Garden is designed in the style of a Japanese garden. The dry 'pond' of small stones, island 'mountains' of moss and lichen covered rocks and draught resistant trees, shrubs, vines and ground covers were designed for low maintenance and requiring pruning and weeding once or twice a year. The fieldstones and large rocks were gathered from campus woodlands where they had lain covered by vegetation for years.

Here it is shown cleared and ready for further site preparation in October 1995. The garden in the fall of 1996, its second year. The yellow and orange foliage of the cut leaf Japanese maple contrast with the blue-green clumps of blue fescue grass and the natural lichen on the rock work. Designed by Professor Sears of the Biology Department, he and Jayne Audette, Margaret Barton, Amy Berube, Matt Poch and Cynthia Paradise of the UMD Biology Association, with assistance from several Grounds personnel, installed this quiet garden at Phase II Residence Hall (Purple) in the fall of 1995. The cost of plant materials, two granite benches and a stone bridge was about $3500 and was provided by the Office of Housing and Residential Life as part of the Residential Hall improvement program.

Inspiration for Sears' design came in part from the "Tenshin-en, the Garden of the Heart of Heaven" at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and in part from the natural landscape in the Rocky Mountain wilderness of Wyoming where he and his family have spent time fly fishing in the contemplative environment of the Wind River Range.

Prior to the installation of the Contemplative Garden, the 50' x 75' semi-enclosed amphitheater shaped area by the Purple Residence Hall contained 7' high weeds and trash, hardly a scene anyone would want to pass by every day. By the year 2000, its walls were covered by Boston Ivy, and the shrubs and trees have required pruning to keep them in scale of the garden. A female mallard duck settled in the Japanese iris to raise a clutch of several youngsters one spring; perhaps the pond is not so symbolic after all.

The large rocks that surround the pond form symbolic mountains and islands in the dry symbolic 'pond'. Old stones are part of the landscape's heritage and respond to the "Genius of the Place". Stones like these give a quality of antiquity to the garden. The simple line of the curved bridge that passes over a small opening to a side 'bay' softens the natural roughness of the rock.

Here it is shown cleared and ready for further site preparation in October 1995. The garden in the fall of 1996, its second year. The yellow and orange foliage of the cut leaf Japanese maple contrast with the blue-green clumps of blue fescue grass and the natural lichen on the rock work.



 Last Updated On: 2/25/04

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