By Jenna Shelton
This spring and summer has been devastating for many worldwide but the discouragement felt by the wonderful horticulturists at Lewis and Clark Community College has begun to dissipate now that the campus opened again. The gardens at L&C have become famous throughout the region with visitors coming from far and wide to explore all the interesting designs and techniques that are highlighted on the Godfrey, Illinois campus.
2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the purchase and start of Lewis and Clark Community College from the original Monticello Female Seminary that was built in 1838. With that monumental achievement in mind, Horticulture Manager Ethan Braasch said, “the garden show, called the Golden Jubilee, was meant to be a celebration of how far we have come as an institution. We are very proud of what our community college has achieved and what we have to offer to the people of the region. We wanted a garden show that would reflect that. Many of the pocket gardens are meant to evoke feelings of decades past. For example, our living wall garden, ‘Hang Loose’, is filled with colors and textures that makes one think of the 70s. We have a ‘Blazer Pride’ garden entirely composed of blue and white flowers, our school colors. We have a container garden chock full of medicinal herbs and stunning blooms dedicated to honoring our nursing students as they study and train to keep our community healthy. We also have a pocket garden called “The Future is Bright”, which was designed to showcase several different horticultural techniques that may offer guidance or inspiration for those who may be getting into gardening at home. Overall, our theme this year was meant to convey our gratitude for the achievements of our past and our sense of optimism moving forward.”
When the closure of campus was announced on that Friday in March before spring break, the horticulture team was determined to continue their goal to cultivate another stunning work of art, even if there was a chance that few might be able to experience their handiwork. Braasch said this was a time that was a bit demoralizing, especially on such an important year, but that did not deter the team, who continued to diligently work to maintain their cultivation.
Obviously Braasch and his team were ecstatic to find out that campus would be opening again and got to work trying to decide the safest way to attempt to start the garden tours that L&C is known for. Braasch stresses that the number one priority for those coming to visit the gardens is their safety and health. Until a formal plan can be put in place, the gardens can be enjoyed in a self-guided tour, but L&C asks visitors to please maintain social distancing and other recommended safety guidelines while participating.
They are also excitedly working on a plan to assist visitors in using digital media to interact with and find their way around the Monticello Sculpture Gardens. As they continue to work towards the future and phasing back into their guided tours, Braasch and team would like to thank everyone for their patience and remind those who may be interested, that their hard work can be seen on their Flickr account anytime of the year or if you are just not comfortable coming out to campus yet.
For more information on the gardens at L&C or with any questions or concerns please contact Ethan Braasch, Horticulture Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See more Golden Jubilee photos by Krystie Morrison on The Bridge’s Flickr page.