A Multipurpose Eden

naOn a quiet morning in the Saint Mary’s new garden by Brousseau Hall, the senses are overwhelmed as you walk down the winding path. The sound of nature welcomes visitors with the hum of bees, the sight of green flourishing all around, the smell of dirt beneath their feet and the beauty of a little slice of California nature.

As the new California Native Plant Garden begins to blossom outside Brousseau Hall, excitement about the project is blossoming, too. Once it is fully developed, the garden will be home to 147 species of plant life. “A lot of the plants are even starting to flower, which is a good sign,” Professor Carla Bossard said. “If they’ve got enough oomph to flower, it means they’re doing well.”

One of the spearheads for this project is Bossard, and her zeal for the garden and plant life is evident from her plant-ridden desk and her fitting forest-green attire. Her office looks as if it were rooting into the school’s foundation and blossoming with plants, photos, books and enthusiasm.

Bossard, a biology professor who also teaches in the Environmental and Earth Science Department, hopes that future landscaping around Saint Mary’s campus will mirror the new California Native Plant Garden and that the school will keep riding the “sustainability wagon” and incorporate native plant life all around campus.

Along with Bossard, many peoples’ ideas factored into the construction of this sustainable garden, including landscape architect Chris Ford, and Biology and Environmental and Earth Science Professors Michael Marchetti and Alice Baldridge.

The garden contributes to the Saint Mary’s drive for sustainability, because it conserves water, shuns chemical herbicides and pesticides that pollute the environment and harm animals, and provides on-campus resources for classes. In Bossard’s words, it’s a “win, win, win.”

The garden could take up to a year and a half to be fully established, but when it is “everything will be quite green and blossoming,” Bossard said.

The new California Native Plant Garden has already contributed to the school’s curriculum, but it’s also a tangible display of the ecologically-minded approach that’s taking root on Saint Mary’s campus.