College sponsors Earth Day
tour of Peckerwood Gardens


Visitors took in a wide variety of plant species during an April 21 tour of Peckerwood Garden sponsored by the College of Architecture, part of Earth Day observances.

John Fairey, professor of architecture, oversees the operation of the garden, which is located on land near Hempstead, Texas that he purchased in 1971, after coming to A&M in 1964 to teach first-year architectural design. After a tornado destroyed the high canopy of trees on the garden site in 1983, Fairey was provided the opportunity to explore new directions in the garden that better reflected his ideas about space and allowed him to experiment with new plant material.

The 19-acre garden encompasses a collection of over 3,000 plants including many rarities from the Southern United States and Mexico. The professor describes his collection as “an environment that stimulates all of the senses, including the most elusive of all, our sense of time.”

Today the garden provides a space where researchers can determine the climatic adaptability of plants from around the world. It also provides plants to a number of institutions and plant conservancies, including the University of California-Berkeley’s collection of rare and endangered species. In fact, Berkeley’s Meso-American collection consists mainly of plants provided by Peckerwood.

The garden is also the setting for a number of distinctive outdoor sculptures and a collection of folk art from both Mexico and the United States.

“Peckerwood is a garden with a mission to encourage other gardeners to see a beauty in landscape that is consistent with our plants and climate,” Fairey said. “It is a pioneering garden exploring new plants and cultivation methods. It is a garden that looks to the future, not to the past.”

In 1998 the Peckerwood Garden Conservation Foundation, a non-profit organization, was formed to ensure the preservation and development of the garden and its diverse educational and conservation projects. The foundation’s purpose is building Meso-American relations and reestablishing a common heritage that lies in their shared ecological and cultural experience.


- Posted: May 4, 2009 -

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