Since they were built in 1951, thousands of students passed through the trio of horticulture greenhouses that were situated on Wilson Road, just across the street from Johnson Hall. In spring 2007, the greenhouses were torn down and new instructional greenhouses were built elsewhere.
Gone—but not without a trace.
At the suggestion of former WSU President V. Lane Rawlins, the two-thirds acre site of the old greenhouses would be reused as a Horticulture and Landscape Architecture Display Garden.
In spring 2008, former WSU landscape architecture professor Phil Waite and his students began designing and building the Display Garden. Students created working designs and built from Waite’s conceptual plans. Traces of the old greenhouses were incorporated into the design to both preserve and serve as a reminder of the past.
The separate spaces or outdoor “rooms” of the Garden are, in part, defined by the traces of the old greenhouses. Curbed planting beds have been kept, and planted with a variety of ornamental grasses, trees, shrubs, and perennial plants. The greenhouse stem walls, too, form rooms – one covered by a shade structure, or pergola. Concrete from the greenhouse floors also has been reused, as well as other building materials.
The design of the Garden is focused on keeping some of the history of the previous users of the site in place. Alumni who worked or took classes in the greenhouses or students who designed and built the Garden have a place they can come back to that leaves a record of their history in the new use. And students, employees, and visitors now have an attractive and useful green space in an urban campus setting.
Students in the 2008 LA 367 class take a break from installing the Shade Garden to pose for a photo with WSU President Elson Floyd.
The Display Garden is located between the Lighty Student Services Building and the Ensminger Pavilion, adjacent to the Grimes Way Playfield – across the street from Johnson Hall.