Purdue’s Jules Janick Horticulture Gardens wrap around the Horticulture Building on Marsteller Street with the beauty of a ring wrapping around a finger. But instead of resembling an engagement ring with a single, overwhelming stone, the half-acre gardens look more like costume jewelry, full of sparkling stones bursting in the colors contained in a box of Crayola crayons. And not the 64-crayon box, but the 120-crayon box that holds colors such as purple pizzazz and razzle-dazzle rose. Within the gardens are some 1,200 species of plants with names that are just as much fun to say as they are to look at. There are plants named spike speedwell, foxglove, candy lily and sneezewort, to mention a few. But whether it is the petunia or the hairy alumwort, there is a reason each plant has a home in the garden. “We are a little bit different than a regular botanical garden,” said Mary Lou Hayden, horticulture collections manager since 1991. “A lot of regular botanical gardens have pretty vistas and views, and design the beds so they are more ornamentally attractive.”
But this garden is a classroom, too.
“Our mission is to have a sample of every plant we can get. We want to have everything in here that is on the plant list for horticulture professor Mike Dana’s herbaceous plants class,” said Hayden. “And right now, that list is at 650 species.” All fit along walkways and garden paths like pieces of a technicolor puzzle. During the summer, when the gardens are at their peak of color, there are only occasional visitors to the garden, much to Hayden’s chagrin. “It’s disappointing to me because we work really, really hard to make everything look so pretty,” Hayden said. “The peak month of color is in July, and there just aren’t many people here to enjoy it.” Photographers come to snap pictures of the plants, and amateur gardeners come looking for ideas to augment their own gardens. But compared with the fall, the only buzz in the garden is provided by the bees. “We’ll have people in here all the time once classes start,” Hayden said. “The veterinary school uses the gardens because they have a toxicology class. Their students study plants that are toxic to livestock, and we grow a lot of those plants.” She said botany and plant pathology as well as entomology students use the gardens, too. “We purposely don’t spray for many insects,” Hayden said, “because it is important for the students to see what kind of damage pests can do to different garden plants.”
Established in 1982, the Jules Janick Horticulture Garden is one of the most visually appealing landscapes on campus. On August 23, 2019, following an extensive re-construction of walkways, seating, boundary screens and plant collection, the teaching garden of the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture was dedicated as the Jules Janick Horticulture Garden. Dr. Janick, one of the longest-tenured faculty members at Purdue, was the lead donor for the garden project. Other major contributors were the Amy P. Goldman Foundation, Wild Birds Unlimited, Belgard, Perennials Plus, Robert & Joan Lohrey, SiteOne, Rain Bird, Listerman & Assoc., Spence Nursery and Rose Pest Solutions. Numerous alumni and faculty, both emeritas and current, donated benches.
The central structural element of the garden, the E.C. Stevenson Pavilion, a gift from family and friends of Dr. Stevenson, was retained and enhanced with new casual seating. The pavilion is dedicated to the memory of the Head of the Horticulture Department from 1958-1967. During his tenure “Steve” took the department to new heights of recognition and oversaw the formation of the Landscape Architecture Program. Coincidentally, Dr. Stevenson was Dr. Janick’s major professor for his PhD degree research.
Visiting the Purdue University Horticulture Gardens
The gardens are located adjacent to the Horticulture Building at Marstellar Street and the Agricultural Mall. They are open for public enjoyment year-round, seven days a week. You'll find self-guided tour brochures when you visit the gardens, or you can request one by mail. You can also make an appointment for your group to be given a guided tour. And we invite you to join us in our efforts to ensure that the Purdue University Horticulture Gardens will continue to enrich the mind and spirit. You can become a "Friend of the Gardens" through a tax-deductible contribution to the Purdue Foundation. We'll use your contribution to support the educational programs of the gardens and to establish new plant collections. As a "Friend," you will receive a garden guide each spring and an invitation to special events such as the Purdue Garden Day open house.
For more information, contact:
Mary Lou Hayden
Purdue University Horticulture Gardens Coordinator
Dept. of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture
625 Agriculture Mall Drive
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2010
Voice: (765) 494-1296 FAX: 765-494-0391