Harvey Garden developing to enhance campus beautification

Johnny Mercer

Asian flare is coming to Washburn. The change will not be a show or spectacle, but rather a permanent addition to the campus for all to enjoy.

Construction of the Harvey Garden began in August. The project is funded by an $85,000 contribution from alumnus Bob Harvey. According to Hal Kimmel, assistant director buildings and grounds, work is scheduled to be finished by spring 2006.

“It will be an oriental garden in a Japanese style,” said Kimmel. “The garden will be more of a quiet space that students can sit and enjoy.”

Asian variety plants such as Japanese ferns and Chinese elms will accentuate the garden. Shrubbery will be a large section of the plant life including Dawn Redwoods and Eunoymus shrubs. Kimmel said he chose compact flowering shrubs to highlight the garden for their beauty and practicality.

“Washburn is going to low maintenance plants,” said Kimmel. “Plants are chosen for their looks and function. Plants that have thorns work as a good barrier.”

Kimmel said it is also important to incorporate a variety of plant life that thrives in different seasons.

“We chose evergreens to keep the garden green in the winter,” said Kimmel. “We try to select something that has color and looks good year-round.”

Screening plants were another functional plant that Kimmel said were important to maintaining the serenity of the space. The design will include screening plants along the berm of Yager Stadium and canopy trees already planted along the east edge of the practice fields.

Kimmel said the focal point of the garden will be the pond. The water feature will include smooth river rock along the bottom and large stones of black granite will accent the shore. A small foot bridge over the pond is also planned.

Creating the pond has proven a large undertaking for Facilities Services and the contractor Topeka Landscapes. Kimmel said that underground utilities had to be relocated. In addition, the pond itself had to be lined with a rubber membrane and will require water and electric supply. Bringing innovative water features to Washburn is nothing new. Topeka Landscapes constructed the fountain at 17th and Washburn.

The inclusion of an authentic Japanese lantern will also punctuate the atmosphere of the Harvey Garden. The lantern was donated by alumnus, Benjamin Franklin in the 1980’s. Kimmel said the lantern was located between the Mulvane Art Museum and White Concert Hall until renovations in the 1990’s. Since that time, the lantern has remained in storage.

Changing the scenery at Washburn has been a constant project for Kimmel and the Campus Beautification Committee. Kimmel said the Harvey Garden is one of the larger projects of the year, but grounds crews have been working in other areas of Washburn as well.

“The campus is 160 acres. We’re always looking for something to improve,” said Kimmel.

Planting trees is a familiar annual project for ground crews. Kimmel said alumni and groups are frequent donors of commemorative trees. The Daughters of the American Revolution have donated a tree to Washburn annually since the 1966 tornado, according to Kimmel.

While planting fresh vegetation is a constant project, plant removal is also a regular project for Kimmel.

“We have removed juniper bushes from building entrances and walkways,” said Kimmel. “We worked with Eagle Scouts at Carnegie to remove the bushes. It was a good leadership experience for all involved.”

Kimmel said the overgrown bushes posed safety hazards for students entering or exiting the buildings. According to Kimmel, overgrown plants prove a constant project for ground crews. He said the same will likely occur in 20 years for the Harvey garden when thickened tree canopies force the inclusion of shade-tolerant shrubs and plants.

Until that time, Kimmel said the Harvey Garden will function perfectly as a unit taking about three years to initially fill-out.