Mizzou celebrates botanic garden

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COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri celebrated the 15th anniversary of the campus botanical garden on Tuesday.

The public had a chance to meet with Peter Hatch, former Director of Gardens at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello plantation in Charlottesville, Virginia. Hatch held that title for more than 30 years and was responsible for the restoration, care and maintenance of landscaping at Monticello. The gardens at Monticello are a National Historic Landmark and include a variety of flower, vegetable and fruit gardens. Hatch said Thomas Jefferson would be proud of the institution Mizzou has become. 

"I think he was a great proponent of education," Hatch said. "I think few American public servants have fostered education like Thomas Jefferson. One of his great achievements was the building of the University of Virginia which was his idea, his design and his inspiration." 

Mizzou was the first state university founded on land acquired by Jefferson in the Louisiana Purchase and shares many qualities with the University of Virginia. The Francis Quadrangle was designed based off the one found at the University of Virginia. Both a bronze statue of Jefferson and his original tombstone can also be found at Mizzou. Hatch said Mizzou's garden reminds him of the one at Monticello. 

"It's great to have gardens at a university exposing young people to the workhouse of nature as Thomas Jefferson described it," Hatch said. "Learning about trees and ornamental plants. I also understand there are a lot of experimental vegetable gardens here at Mizzou feeding people and enabling children to learn about gardening."

Mizzou's botanical garden was started in 1999 as a campus beautification effort. It is now home to thousands of species of plants and boasts eleven thematic and seven special gardens.

As a part of the celebration events Hatch attended a Kindness Tree dedication ceremony outside of the Sinclair School of Nursing and hosted two lectures to share his experiences at Monticello.