College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences

LA Students to Design, Build Display Garden

Since they were built in 1951, thousands of students have passed through the trio of greenhouses situated on Wilson Road, just across the street from Johnson Hall. This spring the venerable greenhouses will be torn down and, next fall or summer, new instructional greenhouses will be built elsewhere.

Students in the old Wilson Road greenhouse, soon to be replaced with a display garden
Students in the old Wilson Road greenhouse,
soon to be replaced with a display garden

Gone—but not without a trace. At the suggestion of WSU President V. Lane Rawlins, the two-thirds-acre site of the old greenhouses will be reused as a Horticulture and Landscape Architecture Display Garden. According to Phil Waite, associate professor of landscape architecture, traces of the greenhouses will be incorporated into the garden’s design in order to both preserve and serve as a reminder of the past. “The design of the garden will be focused on sustainability and keeping some of the history of the previous users of the site in place,” Waite said. “This way, the thousands of alumnae who worked or took classes in the greenhouses will have a place they can come back to that leaves a record of their history in the new use.”

Conceptual drawing of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture Display Garden; drawing by landscape architecture professor Phil Waite
Conceptual drawing of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture Display Garden; drawing by landscape architecture professor Phil Waite. Click for a larger version of the drawing.

Waite and his students will design and build the display garden over the course of the next four or five years. Working with Associate Dean for Administration and Planning, Pete Jacoby, and Horticulture & Landscape Architecture Department Chairman, Bill Hendrix, Waite received approval and funding for the project, and proceeded to draw conceptual plans for the garden.

“It’ll create a visual sound byte,” Waite said, explaining that new and prospective students and faculty form an impression of WSU within minutes of their arrival. The proposed display garden “is in a very public location,” said Waite. “It’s adjacent to the French Administration and Lighty Student Services building, the Lewis Alumni Center, and Ensminger Pavilion—all locations frequented by campus visitors.”

“It has to look good all the time,” Waite continued. “That’s why it needs to be a display garden, as opposed to a demonstration or research garden.” (See the sidebar for more information about the difference between display, demonstration, and research gardens.)

While Waite has created conceptual plans that elegantly fill the site, it’ll be up to students to create working designs—and to build from those plans. “Horticulture and Landscape Architecture students from four different courses will be directly responsible for the design, construction, and maintenance of the garden,” Waite said.

Considering the garden’s proximity to often-visited locations, Waite considers it important to “accommodate the broadest range of possible uses.” The design program calls for at least three distinct areas, including a large gathering area for groups of between 100 and 200 people. This would serve alumni gatherings, pre-football game BBQs, or a ceremonial function. A smaller gathering space would be suitable for holding classes on warm spring days, or for team or departmental meetings. “More intimate spaces for individuals or very small groups might take the form of alcoves,” Waite said, “furnished with amenities such as seats, benches, and tables.”

The separate spaces or outdoor “rooms” would be in part defined by the traces of the old greenhouses. The curbed planting beds would be kept, and planted with a variety of ornamental grasses and bamboos. The stem walls, too, would form a room, potentially covered by a shade structure. Concrete from the greenhouse floors would be reused, as well as other building materials.

The garden would not only look good year round and accommodate diverse uses, but would also serve an instructional function. “For instance,” Waite said, “the garden might contain some hedges that would require pruning and shaping, thus providing hands-on training for students in horticulture classes.”

Waite said that by reusing and recycling materials, and with students donating their talent and labor, the cost of constructing the garden will be about $5,000 per year for the next five or so years. “However,” he added, “we’ll be looking for donations of plant and construction materials.” For more information about making a donation to the Horticulture and Landscape Architecture Display Garden, please contact Phil Waite.

Watch a video about WSU’s program in landscape architecture.
Click to watch a video about WSU's program in landscape architecture

Poinsettias in the old Wilson Road greenhouses
Poinsettias grown by the Hort Club in the old Wilson Road greenhouse

Phil Waite Explains the Difference between Display, Demonstration, and Research Gardens

“A display garden is permanent in character,” associate professor of landscape architecture, Phil Waite, explained. “It may display design in a specific style, for instance Italianate or Japanese or illustrate particular topics, for example sustainability or xeriscaping. A demonstration garden proves that something is possible, while a research garden explores what is possible.

Inside one of the Wilson Road greenhouses; photo courtesy of WSU Hort Club
Inside one of the Wilson Road greenhouses; photo courtesy
of WSU Hort Club

As an illustration, Waite likes to talk about rhododendrons in the inland Pacific Northwest: “Suppose we plants rhododendrons in the display garden. Since rhododendrons are not native here we would make very sure that only the hardiest variety would be planted because we want to ensure their survival and performance—it has to look good all the time.”

Horticulture Terresa Koenig working in the Wilson Road greenhouse with a student
Horticulture professor Terresa Koenig working in the Wilson Road greenhouse with a student.

In a demonstration garden, “we would demonstrate a variety of methodologies that could be employed to protect a marginally hardy variety of rhododendron through the course of our hot dry summers and cold winters. In a research garden we would plant several varieties in randomized, replicated plots and test their cold hardiness and drought resistance, knowing full well that several would die and their appearance would be less than aesthetically pleasing. While this would no doubt be instructive, it wouldn’t showcase the university.”

Plants in bloom in one of the old Wilson Road greenhouses
Plants in bloom in one of the old Wilson Road greenhouses.
Photo courtesy WSU Hort Club.

CAHNRS is more than agriculture. With 24 majors, 19 minors, and 27 graduate level programs, we are one of the largest, most diverse colleges at WSU. CAHNRS Cougs are making a difference in the wellbeing of individuals, families, and communities, improving ecological and economic systems, and advancing agricultural sciences.

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Check out every department and program CAHNRS has to offer, from Interior Design to Agriculture to Wildlife Ecology. We have 13 departments and schools to prepare you for your chosen career.

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Students have a variety of options to pursue masters and doctoral degrees. Many of these have very specific background requirements, so we suggest exploring the individual programs for academic guidelines.

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CAHNRS Office of Research

Agricultural Research Center

Mission Statement

The goal of the Washington State University CAHNRS Office of Research is to promote research beneficial to the citizens of Washington. The Office of Research recognizes its unique land-grant research mission to the people of Washington and their increasing global connections. The CAHNRS Office of Research provides leadership in discovering and applying knowledge through high-quality research that contributes to a safe and abundant food, fiber, and energy supply while enhancing the sustainability of agricultural and natural resource systems.

Featured Research

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Organic agriculture more profitable to farmers

A comprehensive study finds organic agriculture is more profitable for farmers than conventional agriculture. The results show that there’s room for organic agriculture to expand and, with its environmental benefits, to contribute a larger share in feeding the world sustainably. - Edit Item
Colorful carrots grown by Full Circle Farm sold at the Ballard Farmers Market in Seattle. Photo: Michael Porter.

Plastic a valuable option for farmers’ markets

Farmers’ markets wanting to increase purchases by customers should consider accepting more than just cash or checks as payment, according to Washington State University researchers. - Edit Item
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Vineyard natural habitats assist with butterfly comeback

Washington wine grape vineyards experimenting with sustainable pest management systems are seeing an unexpected benefit: an increase in butterflies. - Edit Item
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Cutting manure emissions earns WSU student kudos in poster contest

Dairy cows produce lots of manure. A WSU student’s research on cutting the environmental impact of all that waste won him second place in a poster competition at Seattle’s annual Waste to Worth conference. - Edit Item
Farmers use cover crops like hairy vetch mixed with triticale or rye grass to supply organic matter to soil and make nitrogen available to plants. (Photos by Sylvia Kantor, WSU)

Study puts a price on help nature provides agriculture

A team of international scientists has shown that assigning a dollar value to the benefits nature provides agriculture improves the bottom line for farmers while protecting the environment. The study confirms that organic farming systems do a better job of capitalizing on nature’s services. - Edit Item

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With 39 locations throughout the state, WSU Extension is the front door to the University. Extension builds the capacity of individual, organization, businesses and communities, empowering them to find solutions for local issues and to improve their quality of life. Extension collaborates with communities to create a culture of life-long learning and is recognized for its accessible, learner-centered, relevant, high-quality, unbiased educational programs.

MudflatImpact: Burrowing Shrimp and Invasive Eelgrass

Shellfish production in Washington is a $60 million a year industry. Several major pests plague this industry, resulting in major crop loss. One of the most important pests is subterranean burrowing shrimp. These shrimp bioturbate (stir up) the sediment, causing the oysters to sink and die. For the past 60 years the industry has been using the insecticide Sevin to control this pest, but due to lawsuits its use was phased out in 2012. Without alternative control for shrimp, tens of millions of dollars in annual crop revenue will be lost and the industry will quickly lose its economic viability in southwestern Washington.

PoultryFarmImpact: The National Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center

The Environmental Protection Agency has identified agriculture as the leading contributor of pollutants to the nation’s rivers, streams, lakes, and reservoirs. These reports often do not separate animal agriculture from other agricultural enterprises, but they do note that pathogens, nutrients, and oxygen-depleting substances associated with manure are three of the top five pollutants. Some emerging issues related to manure management include: endocrine disruptors (hormones), pharmaceuticals (antimicrobials), and antibiotic resistance in bacteria. Adopting farm practices that minimize the environmental impact is important for food safety.

BiosolidsImpact: Biosolids and Compost

Biosolids are the solids produced during municipal wastewater treatment. Composts are made from a variety of organic materials, including both urban and agriculture sources such as yard trimmings, biosolids, storm debris, food waste or manure, and food processing residues. While these materials have traditionally been viewed as waste, they can play a valuable role as soil amendments in urban and agricultural settings. They provide nutrients and organic matter and they sequester carbon, thereby conserving resources, restoring soils, and combating climate change.

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Alumni & Friends

The WSU College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS) Office of Alumni & Friends is a service unit dedicated to promoting philanthropic support for the college’s research, teaching, and extension programs.

CAHNRS seeks $190 million through the Campaign for WSU. This unprecedented fundraising goal is managed through the CAHNRS Office of Alumni and Friends. If you would like to learn more about the CAHNRS’s fundraising priorities, please explore our website or meet the team.

Funding Priorities

Through the Campaign for Washington State University, CAHNRS and WSU Extension will play a major role in defining answers to complex issues through truly big ideas—feeding the world, powering the planet, and ensuring the health and well-being of children, families, and communities. See below to learn more about how we are addressing these issues in our strategic and on-going  initiatives and development of world-class students.

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CAHNRS Alumni & Friends
PO Box 646228
Pullman, WA 99164-6228
PH: 509-335-2243
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Important Dates and Deadlines

April 6, 2015

  • Signed Faculty and AP Annual Reviews
September 10, 2015
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Contact Dean’s Office:
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