The garden has existed for many years with the purpose of growing, planting, and maintaining herbaceous plants. The original garden was utilized primarily for annual plant trials. Each year 100’s of annuals, including All American Selections, were planted, observed, and assessed. In 1992, a five-year garden implementation plan was initiated. In conjunction with courses in the department’s Landscape Design Program, the garden was developed into an outdoor laboratory for Horticulture students. Its purpose would change from a plant trial area to a landscape garden displaying combinations of features still in the garden today; these features include: decks, patios, ponds, a waterfall, fences, retaining walls, walkways, pergolas, and a kiosk.
Today, the garden serves many purposes. Classes utilize the space to practice plant identification, learn horticultural techniques, grow material for floral designs, and observe insects. Non-profit organizations use garden space for youth outreach, and student interns spend summers in the garden putting their classroom knowledge to use.