Friday, July 17, 2009

Worth visiting-Normal Gardens

This story was published by The Ypsilanti Daily Press on Saturday, July 17, 1909.

Possibly few beside college students know of the existence of the school gardens, which for several seasons have thriven back of the Normal science building. They are maintained that the students in subjects such as botany may have plants convenient for observation and experimentation.

The varied parterres are grouped about a central stone-rimmed pond, where gold fish and water-lilies find a congenial home. The flowers comprise pansies, nasturtiums, (of which twenty-seven different shades of color have been observed), poppies, both brilliant and delicate, cosmos, gay and stately hollyhocks, and larkspur in a purple cloud.

Not alone are there flowering plants, Sorghum, popcorn, Italian beans, Chinese soup beans, California beans, the flax with its dainty blue flower, alfalfa, barley, wheat, oats, corn of many kinds, also flourish here. Spearmint and the English peppermint add their pungent odor to the fainter one of the flowers. The onion and the carrot are not despised: potatoes and turnips are grown, and the variety of cabbages to be seen is a surprise to one not versed in garden.

One spot is called a nature garden, because it is entirely self-sown, and it has been extremely interesting and suggestive to observe which plants have most aggressively encroached upon this limited domain. At present, the garden is masterfully dominated by timothy and burdocks, though ragweed, mayweed, dandelions and clover are greatly in evidence. Beyond the grains are magpies, elms, pines, and catalpas growing, which when older will be transplanted for the adornment of the campus.

Several grades in the training school have little patches of ground which they themselves have cultivated, in that of the third grade, cotton and corn, oats and peanuts are impartially fostered, and one little girl confides that she intends to sell her peanuts and buy a doll carriage. The kindergarten have bachelor buttons, onions, carrots and popcorn to be proud of.

A very interesting denizen of these gardens is a little gopher, which in solitary state may be seen scampering about the paths.

The thrifty air of the gardens and the immaculateness of the paths in attributable to the unrelaxed care of the gardener, Mr. West, who makes also a capital conductor.

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