AUBURN UNIVERSITY – To commemorate 50 years of dedication to the university and community, Auburn University’s Donald E. Davis Arboretum will host a 50th anniversary celebration in the garden Sunday, Sept. 29, from 2 to 4 p.m. Guided tours will be available and refreshments will be served.
A popular Auburn University landmark, the Davis Arboretum showcases native plants of the southeastern United States and the core collections include carnivorous plants, native azaleas and a nationally recognized oak collection.
“Part of the mission of the Davis Arboretum is to collect and display plant species that are native to Alabama and the Southeast,” said Dee Smith, curator of the Donald E. Davis Arboretum. The focus on native plants and habitats has never been more important as scientists are realizing how critical these plants are to maintaining healthy ecosystems. The Davis Arboretum offers the university and community a living demonstration of what a healthy landscape looks like.”
The Davis Arboretum boasts almost 900 trees and the total collection of trees and woody plants includes examples of more than 300 different species. The collection of oak trees includes examples of all 39 species native to the southeastern United States. Noteworthy among the oaks is a post oak called the “Founder’s Oak,” which measures 88 feet tall, 47.3 inches in diameter, and 89 feet across the crown width.
Visitors will also find representations of Alabama’s coastal dunes, blackbelt prairies, longleaf pine savannahs, pitcher plant bogs and shaded slopes of the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. All of the installations are used to teach the volume and value of the immense biodiversity that grows in Alabama.
“Somewhere along the way, Americans have come to expect our landscapes to look a certain way – to conform to an artificial idea of perfection – embracing clipped hedges and manicured lawns. The pesticide arsenal is reached for at the first sign of insect invasion,” said Smith. “These contrived gardens have little in common with a living, balanced system where all things interact. Contrary to popular belief, a pest-free and sterile garden is not healthy and it ceases to function as a community of interacting organisms.”
Sponsored by the Auburn University College of Sciences and Mathematics, the Davis Arboretum is located at 181 Garden Drive and is situated on 14 acres of the university’s main campus. For 50 years, the Davis Arboretum has served Auburn University and the broader community by offering visitors a natural setting for reflection and relaxation. The garden also supports educational programming for all ages and provides an extension of the classrooms for most of the colleges on campus. For more information, visit the Davis Arboretum website at http://www.auburn.edu/cosam/arboretum/.
The mission of the arboretum is to display and preserve native southeastern plant communities, inspire an understanding of the natural world, and promote education, research and public outreach.
(Contributed by Candis Birchfield.)