The SMSU Gardens

What is the Garden's Purpose?

  • The garden serves as a place for students, faculty and staff to relax, study, hold meetings or classes. The garden may also serve as an outdoor laboratory to supplement the undergraduate students' educational experience. the garden is also a popular stop for garden clubs or groups interested in touring gardens around the Marshall area.
    Where is it located?
  • The garden, deemed by Larson as "a perfect garden site" is handicapped accessible and surrounded by Bellows Academic, Science and Math, Science and Technology and Charter Hall buildings.

What is in the Garden?

  • Outdoor Classroom
  • Trial Garden
  • Prairie Demonstration Plot
  • Perennial Garden
  • Water Garden
  • Wildflower Garden
  • Texture Garden
  • Shade Garden

How Did the Garden Start?

  • Maren Larson, a Master Gardener and Director of Health Services at Southwest Minnesota State University, began a beautification landscape project on campus in 1995 which included designing and planting gardens in the courtyard which is now called "The Garden."
  • Maren, along with her husband Dennis (a charter class alumni of SMSU) and a few members of the Biology Club, planted the first garden in the fall of 1995. The Larsons, along with a few dedicated volunteers, continued to create garden spaces which primarily included plants from the Larsons' own gardens and the gardens of a few SMSU staff members. The early garden designs included plants which had one major criteria--low maintenance.
  • The garden area encompasses approximately 42,000 square feet of space which is almost one acre.

How is the Garden Funded?

  • Support for the garden has developed gradually since 1995. The project was initiated with the philosophy of 'plant it and the money will come.' Since 1997, several memorial gardens have been planted which feature unique design themes as well as unusual plants.
  • Until recently, volunteers were totally responsible for maintenance of the garden area. During the spring of 1999, two full time seasonal grounds personnel were hired to assist in maintaining the garden.

What is planned for future developments in the garden?

  • Monetary or In-kind donations of plants and maintenance products will allow for an increasing emphasis on plant selection, establishment and maintenance as well as the addition of hardscape (seating and shelter areas). Although management in a sustainable manner will be ongoing, the biggest challenge for the future will be additional maintenance and development dollars to bring the garden to its full potential as a place to learn about and enjoy plants well in our climate.
  • A Campus Beautification Committee has been formed which, in addition to other outside areas, makes recommendations concerning the garden area. If you would like additional information or would like to make a donation to the garden, contact the SMSU Foundation Office at 507-537-6266.

Last Modified: 1/9/17 1:27 PM