The addition of the Centennial Garden will celebrate the history of the University of Georgia Tifton campus while breathing new life into the heart of the campus, according to Joe West, assistant dean of the campus.
The 2-acre garden, which is under construction behind the Tift Building at the center of campus, is a recreation of a garden that existed in an earlier era, when the campus was known as the Coastal Plain Experiment Station. The new garden is slated for completion by May 3, when it will be dedicated as the community celebrates UGA–Tifton’s centennial.
“It just seemed very appropriate to recreate the garden at this time. It’s part of our history and will continue to be as we move forward with the campus’ next 100 years,” West said. “I think our faculty, staff and students are very excited to see what the garden will look like when it is completed.”
The original garden was very symmetrical with beautiful plant materials, however, as the automotive age kicked into gear, the garden took a backseat.
“There’s an old song (‘Big Yellow Taxi’) that says, ‘They paved paradise and put up a parking lot,’ which is exactly what happened,” West said.
West stumbled onto records of the original garden and thought, “It would be really cool if we recreated that.” The project was quickly approved and construction ensued.
The completed formal garden will contain 100 percent UGA-generated genetic plant releases. 'October Glory' maple, 'Pink Damsel' serviceberry, 'Sweet Frost' tangerine and 'Green Shadow' magnolia trees will be planted within the garden, with oaks and magnolias framing the garden’s outer areas and flowers and fruits comprising the garden’s interior.
“We are dedicated to research here, so for the Centennial Garden to be filled with plant materials developed by UGA scientists is exciting,” West said.
UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Dean Sam Pardue, West and members of the Tift family will attend the dedication ceremony on May 3. Captain H.H. Tift helped Tifton win the bid for the then-Coastal Plain Experiment Station when it opened in 1919.
For more information about the UGA-Tifton centennial events, see http://tifton.caes.uga.edu/about/campus-overview/history/centennial-celebration.html.