CSU Heritage Garden celebrates Colorado’s horticultural legacy

Charlotte Lang

Heritage Garden at CSU
CSU’s Heritage Garden, located off of Lake Street, offers great views of the football practice fields and Canvas Stadium.

There can be more meaning in a University garden than just the flowers and trees.

Colorado State University wrapped up its Heritage Garden project this fall. The garden is meant to celebrate and educate about Colorado’s legacy in agriculture, said Fred Haberecht, University planner and assistant director for facilities management.

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Located on the southeast corner of Canvas Stadium and planted next to an arboretum, the Heritage Garden occupies the space previously home to the Plant and Environmental Research Center.

The Heritage Garden, Arboretum, Annual Trials Garden and Perennial Garden and the commitment to a designed, landscaped campus create a beautiful and memorable place to work and learn.”

Joe McGrane, associate professor for the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture

Though the campus community is not widely aware of the garden’s presence, Haberecht said that he hopes this will change as more students discover the area.

Haberecht also said that the garden’s positioning next to the stadium is meant to expose visitors to the University’s agricultural impact.

“It brings public prominence to the role of agriculture in the state and in the University,” Haberecht said. “This is much of our roots as a university and also a continuing contributor to society, so it’s important to educate and celebrate that agricultural heritage.”

Joe McGrane, associate professor for the department of horticulture and landscape architecture, designed the garden.

McGrane said the design represents the five Agricultural Experiment Stations located throughout the state. The Garden contains plants that represent both historic and current research focus.

“Its purpose is to articulate and commemorate the agricultural focus of CSU’s Land Grant heritage,” McGrane said.

McGrane said the garden is one of many horticultural resources on campus, as well as a major attraction for visitors to Fort Collins and the region.

“The Heritage Garden, Arboretum, Annual Flower Trial Garden and Perennial Garden and the commitment to a designed, landscaped campus create a beautiful and memorable place to work and learn,” McGrane said.

The Heritage Garden has taken approximately two years to complete.

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Mark Uchanski, associate professor of horticulture and extension specialty crops specialist, said plans for the garden began in fall 2016 when CSU’s President’s Office put together a planning committee for the project.

“We were charged with developing several recommendations for the design of the Garden,” Uchanski said. “After the design was selected and built out, we gathered information about common crops grown in each of the geographic regions of Colorado centered on the CSU AES Research Centers. Based on that information, we grew or secured transplants of each of the representative crops and planted them out in each of the raised garden beds.”

According to Haberecht, the final places were put in this fall for the football season.

“The final pieces were the remaining interpretive signage pieces that went in and some fencing,” Haberecht said. “But for the most part, this is the first full growing season of the garden.”

Haberecht likened the garden to a national park in his hopes that students and visitors will seek out further information and research after seeing it.

“We hope that they want to learn more,” Haberecht said. “Just like going to a national park or a historic site, you’re probably not going to learn all that you would ever want to know about a particular subject, but you would hope it would pique your curiosity and you would want to delve in more.”

Charlotte Lang can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @chartrickwrites.