This garden was created in the spring semester of 2020. Prior to that, this area was simply filled with the kind of stones that you see as the border of the garden now. Students in the Reconciliation Ecology class removed all the rocks and the synthetic sheets of material that were under them to reveal a bare, dense clay. Their mission was to design and install a native plant garden that would prevent erosion, absorb rainfall, provide native plants for pollinators and other small wildlife to use, and beautify the area so it would add visual interest for anyone walking past. The students, guided by their professor Dr. Carrie DeJaco, researched and selected plants that they thought would do well in this area, withstanding full sun all day and that very dense clay soil.
After the initial installation of the garden, Dr. DeJaco has added a few plants here and there, and allowed the native broomsedge that made its way here naturally to grow on the hillside to assist with erosion control and provide food and shelter for small organisms. She and a few key students have tried to keep the crabgrass and other "weeds" at bay, but have allowed some naturally arriving plants to persist if they contribute to the mission of the garden.
For more information on native plant species, check out these websites:
To determine if a species is native to your area, use this fantastic database: