Behind the beauty

Carrie Circosta

Campus gardens available for relaxation, art, research

The Cunningham Greenhouse, located behind Cunningham Hall, is used for research and houses a large variety of plants. It is also known as the Herrick Conservatory. JAMESON CAMPBELL | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Steve Schirra

Students may not have noticed the gardens on campus – either from the weather, rushing to class or they just didn’t know they existed.

Yes, Kent State has gardens. Several as a matter a fact, and all of them are dedicated to people who have impacted the university in their own way.

Johnna Logan, a former Kent State student who wrote an article about the gardens for Kent State’s Web site said some of these areas are also used for research, art and sometimes relaxation. To make these gardens possible, donations from university alumni and friends are used, she said.

The University Trustees and friends of President Carol Cartwright made the Cartwright Gardens possible, Logan said. These are located at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center. Before entering the rec center, to the right, one will see flowers, trees and a waterfall dedicated to Cartwright in 2001 for her 10-year anniversary at Kent State.

The Beck Family Gardens are mostly known for being beside the Brain outside Merrill Hall. The Beck Family Foundation donates the money to maintain the varieties of perennial plants and shrubs, Logan said.

“Large donations make the renovations possible,” said Tim Dular, a groundskeeping supervisor at Kent State.

The gardens on the north side of the Library and the gardens in Risman Plaza are the Murin Gardens, named after Judith Murin, which are paid for by the Murin Foundation. More than 250 perennial plants along with shrubs and trees make this garden possible, according to the Kent State Web site.

The Riley Alumni Gardens are dedicated to retired biology professor Charles V. Riley, and are located beside Cunningham Hall. There is also the Cunningham Greenhouse, also known as the Herrick Conservatory, which is used for research and classes, said Chris Rizzo, manager and horticulture facilities director.

Dular also mentioned the not-so-big gardens on campus. He said there are large beds at the Honors College and two little memorials by the Michael Schwartz Center.

Even though most of the gardens are funded by donations, the university gives some money and uses its own labor to help maintain the gardens on a regular basis, Dular said.

The groundskeeping staff also maintains the May 4th Memorial. The staff planted 54,000 daffodils along the hillside by Taylor Hall, each one representing those who died in the Vietnam War. Due to animals and roots from trees, the staff has to keep planting daffodils each year, Dular added.

The Beck, Murin and Riley Gardens were all designed by horticulturist Mike Norman. Norman passed away two years ago, but he is not forgotten.

“He loved flowers,” Dular said.

Norman would go to yearly conventions all over the United States and maintained flowers at his own house, Dular added.

Some may be wondering: What exactly does a horticultural technology major study?

“It’s any biological life,” Carlos Berrios, a horticulture technology major, explained.

It can be anything with trees, grass, flowers and other numerous things, he said.

Berrios is a second-semester horticulture technology major at the Kent-Geauga campus, where the main concentration of the horticulture program is located.

Berrios said he became interested in horticulture because he and his wife are both good at it, and he said he hopes to get into landscape design.

Contact features correspondent Carrie Circosta at [email protected].