The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
As Spring blooms and flowers follow, it’s time to think about gardens! All over campus, greenery turns brilliant colors: lantanas in red and orange, purple pansies, pink roses. Wildflowers like Indian paintbrush and bluebonnets begin to crop up along the highways. On campus, the best place to experience this stunning side of spring is the Leach Teaching Gardens.
The Leach Teaching Gardens first opened to the public in 2018, and they continue to be maintained and rejuvenated each semester. New plants are added, old ones are removed, classic flora is pruned, deadheaded, and trimmed back. The Gardens even feature the successor to the Century Oak, for the inevitable tragedy of when the original snaps under its own weight. It offers shade, tables and chairs, and two swinging benches for a relaxing time spent in nature. I’ve had brunch there, worked on essays to the tune of the wind and birdsong, and just sat on a bench and watched the sun set and turn the fountain golden. If you stop by, watch for hummingbirds flitting around the esperanza!
The Gardens are arranged in a very specific manner, as it centers around a semicircle of grapevines and a bed of roses, a staple of the course regarding viticulture! Decorated metal partitions delineate the Bee and Butterfly Garden; numerous international heritage gardens dot the landscape; a fenced section is devoted to the Kitchen Garden. A bird-centric section, a lookout over White Creek, and a rainwater-catcher round out the educational, gorgeous space. Raised beds full of mint and citrus offer a clean, refreshing scent to the air, aided by an herb garden full of sage, dill, and thyme. Refrain from picking any of the produce, though! They’re donated to a local food bank and sold at a farmer’s market!
If you’re interested in the less floral sides of agriculture, there’s also the Food & Fiber section! This has featured such crops as wheat, corn, and maroon cotton produced right here in Aggieland by Dr. Steven Hague, who teaches a course on plant breeding and genetics, and hosts a class at the Gardens each semester. Right by it is a sea of wildflowers, full of bluebonnets this time of year, including a maroon variety bred by Aggie alumnus Jerry Parsons. Seeds for this lovely variety are sold at Aggieland Outfitters for anyone interested! For any entomology majors, the incredible variety of insects – beetles, wasps, butterflies, bees, dragonflies – buzzing around is astounding! And, from personal experience, they make very helpful additions to the required bug board of ENTO 201. No worries, though; even with my net and many hours spent around them, I can attest to never having been stung!
The earth laughs in flowers.Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Leach Teaching Gardens, just a little jaunt away from the White Creek Apartments and located on the very fringes of West Campus, deserve a little more love than they get! Most of the visitors are there just for a pretty background for their graduation pictures, with the rare family with small children or dogs. Next time you feel like taking a walk, seeing some lovely examples of Spring, or just touching grass, take a stroll around the Gardens!