Mills botanical garden grows

By
November 27, 2002

Mills College Weekly

The botanical garden, located behind the student union, is undergoing a dramatic restoration thanks to Mills graduate Dana Ecelberger.

The gardens that once contained rare plants from around the world had been neglected for over a year before Ecelberger’s arrival.

The different theme gardens contained in the botanical gardens were used for teaching before their demise.

The biology department, under professor of physiology Susan Spiller’s direction, is also trying to restore both native and non-native plants to the one-acre plot.

Upon receiving her degree in environmental science this year, Ecelberger decided to embark on the botanical garden restoration project. She has been working on it since October.

“I had been a gardener for 15 years and it’s hard to see a neglected garden,” said Ecelberger.

She has already installed a drip irrigation system in the garden and is currently trying to weed and excavate the beds so that new flora is able to grow.

“The weeds haven’t been worked on in seven years,” said Ecelberger.

“They take up space and compete with plants.”

The acre sized plot currently has a greenhouse, which gives warmth to tropical plants. It also contains a lab house which offers shade and a cool climate for ferns and other temperate plants.

The school did not keep an inventory of the plants it had in its gardens, and the restoration team is now just trying to get new plants for the improved garden said Ecelberger.

Ecelberger is trying to build ties with gardeners around the Bay Area in hopes of getting donations for the garden that is in dire need of new plants. Since there is no budget for this restoration project Ecelberger relies purely on donations from other gardens around Oakland.

Dr. Spiller has joined the project hoping to get native plants in the Mills College under a “Nature Plant Restoration Zone,” an area on campus which will contain rare and indigenous flora and fauna. She has already gotten quail and other California native plants on the Mills campus.

Students are not only excited about the restoration project but also of the organic produce Ecelberger hopes to donate to the school. Residents of the Ross House are especially enthusiastic about the project since it greatly brings life to an otherwise dead area.

” I love it,” junior Leah Mullen. ” It was sad to see the dead plants here. Dana has put so much effort into the gardens.”

” I feel safer now,” said junior Ali Garcia. “Previously you couldn’t see behind corners and the trails were hidden.”

Ecelberger hopes to plant organic lettuce in spring, and sell it to Founders in order to offer Mills students a healthier alternative to the salads currently been offered at the cafeteria.

“We plan to cultivate organic lettuce to create additional revenue,” said Ecelberger.

In addition to this, Ecelberger will be holding a yearly plant sale in order to raise money to buy more exotic plants for the botanical garden.

Ecelberger also wants to attract more students to the botanical gardens and reintegrate it into the Mills community.

“There are birds and butterflies here,” said Ecelberger. “It is a very peaceful place to study and hang out.”

“The weeds haven’t been worked on in seven years,” said Ecelberger. “They take up space and compete with plants.”

The acre sized plot currently has a greenhouse, which gives warmth to tropical plants. It also contains a lab house which offers shade and a cool climate for ferns and other temperate plants.

The school did not keep an inventory of the plants it had in its gardens, and the restoration team is now just trying to get new plants for the improved garden said Ecelberger.

Ecelberger is trying to build ties with gardeners around the Bay Area in hopes of getting donations for the garden that is in dire need of new plants. Since there is no budget for this restoration project Ecelberger relies purely on donations from other gardens around Oakland.

Dr. Spiller has joined the project hoping to get native plants in the Mills College under a “Nature Plant Restoration Zone,” an area on campus which will contain rare and indigenous flora and fauna. She has already gotten quail and other California native plants on the Mills campus.

Students are not only excited about the restoration project but also of the organic produce Ecelberger hopes to donate to the school. Residents of the Ross House are especially enthusiastic about the project since it greatly brings life to an otherwise dead area.

” I love it,” junior Leah Mullen. ” It was sad to see the dead plants here. Dana has put so much effort into the gardens.”

” I feel safer now,” said junior Ali Garcia. “Previously you couldn’t see behind corners and the trails were hidden.”

Ecelberger hopes to plant organic lettuce in spring, and sell it to Founders in order to offer Mills students a healthier alternative to the salads currently been offered at the cafeteria.

“We plan to cultivate organic lettuce to create additional revenue,” said Ecelberger.

In addition to this, Ecelberger will be holding a yearly plant sale in order to raise money to buy more exotic plants for the botanical garden.

Ecelberger also wants to attract more students to the botanical gardens and reintegrate it into the Mills community.

“There are birds and butterflies here,” said Ecelberger. “It is a very peaceful place to study and hang out.”


Mills botanical garden grows was published on November 27, 2002 in News

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