College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences

Department of Horticulture

The Sun Garden


Students construct planting beds from pieces of the greenhouse walkways – photo by Phil Waite

The second phase of the Display Garden project, the Sun Garden, was completed in summer 2009. Students kept the old concrete walls of the original greenhouse, letting them define the Sun Garden’s perimeter. Some concrete greenhouse pathways were retained; those that were cut out were recycled to build planters and benches.

What thyme is it?

The focal point of the garden’s sunny courtyard is a “human-powered” analemmatic sundial made of colored stones. This feature creates interactivity in the garden and is very popular with visitors.


A visitor tests the accuracy of the sundial – photo by Brian Clark, WSU

With this type of sundial, you are the gnomon, or shadow-casting object, and your shadow indicates the time! If you stand on the date scale (in the center) with your toes on the current month of the year, your shadow should show the approximate time on the surrounding colored ellipse.

A diverse mixture of sun-loving, drought tolerant flowering perennials, grasses, shrubs, vines, and trees have been planted in the Sun Garden. Wooly thyme (pun intended) is planted around the sundial and between many of the recycled concrete pavers.

Learn more: Sundials

Sculpture by Richard Daugherty

The Sun Garden has the distinct honor of being home to a steel sculpture by the late WSU Professor Emeritus Richard D. Daugherty. Daugherty created the sculpture, an enlarged replica of a Makah bone carving found at the Ozette Indian Village archaeological site on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, in honor of his friend and WSU plant pathologist Shirl O. Graham (1918-1976). The sculpture was relocated from the Information Technology building atrium on the Pullman campus to the Sun Garden when Martin Stadium was renovated.

Department of Horticulture, PO Box 646414, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-6414, 509-335-9502, Contact Us
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