Updated: Jan 29, 2019
By Debbie Roland, Master Gardener
Why don’t you plan a visit this year to The Leach Teaching Gardens on the Texas A&M University campus?
If you are a gardener you probably already know that Texas A&M University is a valuable resource through its research, horticulture specialists, AgriLife Extension Agents and Texas Master Gardeners. If you haven’t discovered https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu yet, now is the time. This site gives access to printed materials on every gardening problem I’ve encountered.
Now there is another tool within your reach – The Leach Teaching Gardens which will teach students and the public about production agriculture, gardening, home landscaping, conservation, drought preparation, rainwater harvesting and eco-systems.
The gardens are named for TAMU Regent Tim Leach and his wife, Amy, of Midland who led the fundraising effort with funding from A&M graduates and supporters.
Phase I opened June 15, 2018, on seven-acres. There are garden spaces which include 300 fruit, nut and ornamental trees, as well as grapevines, herbs, vegetables and agronomy crops which are accessed through walkways and trails and showcase windmills and other hardscape.
When complete the garden will comprise forty acres. The remaining 33 acres are still in their original state. The goal is to provide a place for students and visitors to relax and learn. When complete there will be an outdoor classroom and venues for celebrations and social events.
Watering uses domestic water and is primarily done by drip irrigation. The water has a high saline content which reflects conditions that most people deal with in Texas.
There are many gardens to tour. A few that might interest you are the Landscape Design and Construction Demonstration Area, Food and Fiber Fields, Kitchen Garden, Bird Garden, Vegetable Farm Garden and the Butterfly and Bee Garden. Of course, one of my favorites is the Texas Master Gardeners Earth-Kind Garden.
In the summer visitors will be able to purchase fresh produce from students practicing their skills. There is also an overlook reached by a walking trail which winds through the gardens. The website https://gardens.tamu.edu/gardens/teaching-gardens-complex will give you more information about tours, hours of operation and help you know what to expect when you arrive.
Sources: Texas A&M University website and Texas Gardener magazine, January/February 2019.
As always, you can contact the AgriLife office in Ector at 498-4071 or in Midland at 686-4700 for more gardening information.