The University Record, July 23, 1996

Gateway Garden dedication ceremony scheduled for Sunday

David Cary of Blagg Masonry puts finishing touches on the pillars at the entrance to Matthaei Botanical Gardens' Gateway Garden.

Photo by Bob Kalmbach

By Joanne Nesbit
News and Information Services

Featuring plants native to the Americas, the Gateway Garden at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens offers visitors a rare and unique opportunity to view and enjoy plants that trace their roots to the Americas.

The Gateway Garden will formally open Sat. (July 27) with a dedication ceremony at 10 a.m. followed by a variety of activities attractive to children and adults. A children's botanical discovery room will be open noon-5 p.m. Docent-led tours of the gardens and trails will be available at noon and 4 p.m. as will an herbal taste-testing. A New World plant lecture will take place at 1 p.m., and a storytelling session for children will begin at 3 p.m. New World refreshments will be available for purchase.

The Garden's theme "New World Plants: Journeys Through Horticulture and Civilization" focuses on perennial and annual flowering plants chosen by assistant curator David Michener to produce vibrant peak blooms from mid-summer to early fall. The featured central circular planting is a 40-foot pinwheel filled with Salvia, Nicotina, Coreopsis and Petunia. The red Salvia is pollinated by hummingbirds, the white Nicotina by moths, the yellow Coreopsis by bees and the purple petunia by butterflies.

The central circular planting is surrounded by four beds of annuals juxtaposing form, foliage and color, while the upper beds are planted with an assortment of American perennials and annuals creating a mass of pattern, color and texture. Native American flowering trees and shrubs enhance the Garden's two larger beds.

Columbus' arrival in the New World began an ongoing process of exploration and discovery resulting in a myriad of ornamental and useful plants being introduced to Europe, Africa and Asia. The Gateway Garden offers an interpretation of plants from American ecosystems within a conventional garden setting demonstrating long- and short-term displays, foliage and blossoms to enjoy throughout the seasons and the rich diversity and value of the flora of the Americas.

The Matthaei Botanical Gardens are located at 1800 North Dixboro Road between Plymouth and Geddes roads and east of US 23. Admission is free.