A LOOK AT THE TECH DECK AND THE CYNTHIA WOODS MITCHELL BUTTERFLY GARDENS

Texas A&M University is the largest higher education institution in Texas, not only in size, but in geographical area. At well over five thousand acres, the campus is home to some of the largest and most beautiful floral displays of any campus nationwide. This is evident in various locations such as George W Bush Library, Military Walk, and Leach Teaching Gardens. As memorable as these are, there are some points of botanical splendor that have unfortunately been overlooked. These hidden gems are the rooftop gardens growing on top of the Zachry and Mitchell buildings.

The Hewlett-Packard sponsored “Tech Deck”, located on the fourth floor of the Zachry Engineering Building is the newest and most spacious of our two highlighted gardens. It has four incredibly large planters boasting native trees such as our fragrant Texas mountain laurel. Huge plantings of lantana, blue mist flower, confederate jasmine, and rock rose line the perimeter of the garden. In addition to these vibrant displays of color, long rows of muhlenbergia and adiago maiden grass give beautiful plumes and color changing foliage throughout the fall. All selections were planted with their hardiness and long bloom times in mind. The scenic location is a perfect quiet place for a cup of coffee, and well equipped to accommodate studying students.

The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Butterfly Gardens, located on the third floor of the Mitchell Physics Building, houses a plethora of color and textures. With the inclusion of Texas persimmon, autumn sage, and butterfly weed, the native plants of the garden host and provide nectar for the butterflies that migrate through, while the passionflower and spicebush host caterpillars. Gulf fritillary, monarch, and giant swallowtail are just a few of the butterflies that make their way through the College Station area. While here, they have a large selection of plants to pupate and feed on. This place is a beautiful sanctuary to an amazing group of creatures.

submitted by Carla Wiseniske and Shannon FitzGerald

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