Arboretum project converting Purdue into garden spot

April 16, 2009

Arboretum project converting Purdue into garden spot

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A plan has taken root to turn Purdue University’s West Lafayette campus into a garden spot.

The Purdue Arboretum project officially launches during Spring Fest, an annual campuswide festival that takes place 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday (April 18-19). Spring Fest visitors can learn about the arboretum at the E.C. Stevenson Pavilion, located behind the Horticulture Building and south of the Agricultural Mall.


“The arboretum project is intended to increase the number of woody plant species on campus for learning, engagement and discovery purposes,” said Matt Jenks, Purdue professor of horticulture and the arboretum director.

Jenks said the arboretum idea has been around for a few years but began to take shape this past fall when a campus committee was formed.

“One of the things that got me started on this was the decline in the diversity of plant material on campus for use in the woody plants class that I teach,” Jenks said.

“We plan to focus the arboretum collection on superior landscape plants for the Midwest. In addition, we want to create two special collections of all the hardy maples and hardy viburnums of the world.”

A viburnum is a shrub or tree.

The Purdue Arboretum will meet the arboretum guidelines of the American Public Gardens Association.

“Among other things, an arboretum needs to be open to the public and have signage to provide interpretation of the plant material,” Jenks said.

Most of the guideline requirements can be met with existing resources, “but we would love to see the arboretum expand from where it is now to become a significant collection of woody plants and special gardens,” Jenks said.

The university’s grounds department will play a major role in operating the arboretum, he said.

“We hope the arboretum promotes environmental sustainability and makes the campus a much more beautiful place,” Jenks said.

Dozens of activities for young and old are planned at Spring Fest by the Purdue College of Agriculture departments of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Agricultural Economics, Agronomy, Animal Sciences, Biochemistry, Botany and Plant Pathology, Entomology, Food Science, Forestry and Natural Resources, Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, and Youth Development and Agricultural Education.

Other festival events are planned by Purdue’s colleges of Science, Consumer and Family Sciences, Education, Liberal Arts, Engineering and Technology; the School of Veterinary Medicine; Krannert School of Management; Discovery Park; Indiana University School of Medicine; and the Purdue Libraries.

Spring Fest takes place rain or shine. No pets are allowed.

For more information visit, or call 1-888-EXT-INFO (398-4636).


Writer: Steve Leer, 765-494-8415,


Source: Matt Jenks, 765-494-1332,



Ag Communications: (765) 494-8415;
Steve Leer,
Agriculture News Page

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