It is truly delightful to introduce this first edition of Botanic Garden News. We are very pleased to be able to bring you our newsletter twice a year with the latest on what is happening in and around the Botanic Garden of Smith College. I write from a desk which I have occupied at Smith for only a year and a half, a very short time from a sylvan perspective, and a very full time from the perspective of an all too human director.
The Botanic Garden continues to serve the Smith College community in the broad sense, as an academic resource. It is literally the foundation of the campus upon and through which we walk and work. As a resource for classes in the sciences and humanities -- from biology to dance, statistics to theatre, landscape history to Asian studies -- the Botanic Garden provides the environment and raw materials to act as a living laboratory for the diverse academic endeavors of Smith College. As a public and professional resource, the Garden enjoys regular visits from individuals and groups from the local neighborhood and from as far away as Taiwan.
One of the great joys of being at the Botanic Garden is working with the students. The Horticulture class, of course, provides wonderfully rewarding moments of growing with students as they learn the applied plant biology that is the art and science of horticulture. A new initiative with Horticulture students in spring 1997 was developing planting plans for small garden areas on campus. Students learned the basics of site analysis, selected and sourced plant materials, and designed and installed the plantings themselves under Botanic Garden tutelage. It was a very popular and rewarding exercise that we look forward to continuing. I knew we were growing devoted new horticulturists when a number of the past spring's graduating seniors returned to campus this fall to see what their gardens "had been up to." Additionally, I am especially pleased to report that the student group, the Bad Seeds, has resprouted and they are scheming all kinds of delightful and interesting activities for Smith student plant-lovers.
As part of the College-wide self-study, the Botanic Garden has taken a close look at how, why, where, and for whom we carry out our daily work. We have devoted much energy to long range-planning, including developing master plans for the three primary venues in which we work: landscape management and hardy plant collections development; conservatory management and glasshouse collections development (including plant conservation and horticultural research and teaching); and
educational outreach and activities for the public.
The adoption by the College Board of Trustees in November 1996 of the Landscape Master Plan for the Botanic Garden of Smith College provides an exceptional long-term planning document for management of the historic Olmsted landscape that is the Botanic Garden and campus of Smith College (for further information see the Landscape Master Plan Update on page 6).
In December 1996, the Feasibility Study for the Restoration and Development of Lyman Conservatory was completed by Rough Brothers Conservatory Restoration, Inc. (with Ove Arup &
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