Lilies from Missouri Botanical Garden add to the beauty of UMSL’s North Campus

Lily Garden

UMSL Grounds Supervisor Gregory Ward inspects lilies he planted in the courtyard garden on the west side of the J.C. Penney Conference Center. Ward donated the lilies to the university and received a matching donation from members of the Greater St. Louis Daffodil Society and North American Lily Society. (Photos by August Jennewein)

The courtyard on the west side of the J.C. Penney Conference Center at the University of Missouri–St. Louis is now abloom with lilies from the Missouri Botanical Garden.

UMSL Grounds Supervisor Gregory Ward visited a plant sale last October put on by the Greater St. Louis Daffodil Society and North American Lily Society to benefit the horticulture department at the Missouri Botanical Garden. It included lilium bulbs from the Garden’s collection.

Lily Garden

Lilies from the Missouri Botanical Garden stand in bloom in the Iris and Lily Garden in the courtyard on the west side of the J.C. Penney Conference Center.

Ward had planned to purchase and donate bulbs to the university for the space he and his team have remade into the J.C. Penney Iris and Lily Garden. When sale organizers Pam Hardy and Lynn Slackman, who are involved with the Daffodil Society and Lily Society, found out that Ward was purchasing the bulbs as a donation to UMSL, they matched his contribution and doubled his plants.

The UMSL community stands as the beneficiary, not only now but in the years to come.

“Plants are resilient and can be a low cost way to bring joy to others, especially in an educational setting where stress might run high due to deadlines and exams,” Ward said. “Over time, we hope to create a campus atmosphere which celebrates plants and trees and serves as a cornerstone for those interested in the natural world.”

Ward and his team maintain more than 230 acres on the UMSL campus, including 50 acres of natural areas, two separate watersheds, three ponds, numerous wildlife from coyotes to geese and more than 2,500 individual specimens of trees. Find a full inventory of those trees on TreeKeeper.

In March, UMSL received distinction from Tree Campus USA for the second straight year. The recognition honors colleges and universities and their leaders for promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in the spirit of conservation. UMSL qualified by meeting five required standards for sustainable campus forestry, including evidence of a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program and sponsorship of student service-learning projects.

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