The first stages of the University of Delaware’s Botanic Gardens 25-year Master Plan will begin this spring, with the strategic removal of several plants from the front of Townsend Hall. These removals follow recommendations made in the masterplan. They will create strategic vistas of Townsend, the surrounding gardens, and visually link Townsend and STAR Campus to engage both pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
The removal will also provide opportunities for the enhancement of the existing garden with new herbaceous plants providing color and visual interest to entice visitors. The planting will be part of the gardens’ summer internship experience, providing interns practical experience associated with their undergraduate education.
John Frett, professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences and director of the UDBG, said that the removal will last a few days and be conducted by the University’s campus tree crew and overseen by Mike Loftus, assistant director of grounds services at UD.
Frett stressed that the strategic removals are sensitive to the existing garden while achieving specific goals resulting from the consensus of many individuals during the planning process.
“There are two goals that this project will accomplish. One is to provide a public face to the garden. I think the average person when they drive by, they see a lot of trees and shrubbery. The garden doesn’t say to somebody that there’s a botanic garden here,” Frett said. “Another thing that came out of the master plan was the need to create vistas of the building as you’re entering from the College Avenue.”
The UDBG master plan was a year-long process that included input from the University community, including people in the College of Health Sciences, athletics, parking services, public safety, potential donors, staff and people in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) designed to engage a much greater audience and create a sense of place on south campus.
“There is a deliberate sequence to the projects as we move forward with the implementation of the plan,” said Frett. “This project provides a big visual impact with the limited resources currently available while stimulating interest in future projects.”
Frett said that Anna Wik, assistant professor of landscape design, Susan Wyndham, landscape planner at UD, Loftus and Shipley Allenson, a retired alum from the college, have all been very helpful and instrumental in the decision-making process and that the time is right to begin the implementation of the master plan.
“The timing is right to begin now, so the area will be ready for early summer,” said Frett.
Article by Adam Thomas
Photo courtesy of John Frett