Historic garden at Ross Square gets new look

Ross Square Garden

By Gail Riese

The Centennial Garden in Ross Square, just west of Samford Hall, has been transformed by the Facilities Management Landscape department.

Originally completed and dedicated in 1956, the Garden commemorates Auburn’s first 100 years and holds a great deal of historical significance for the Auburn family.

“In 1896, [Auburn] played their first home football game against Georgia Tech in Ross Square and won 29-6,” recalled David Housel during a speech he delivered during Auburn’s Sesquicentennial Lecture Series in 2006. A former, long-time Auburn Athletic Director and Sports Information Director, Housel is an historian of Auburn athletics. A sign in the garden notes the area was utilized for athletics and military drills until 1929 and “now memorializes a century of service to Alabama and the Nation.”

A number of overgrown Abelia and Holly shrubs were removed from the site including 50 Knock-out roses that have been root pruned and potted and will be replanted in another area of campus in the spring.   “By removing all of the tall, overgrown plant material, the garden appears to be much bigger and has really opened up the space,” said Brittany Foster, a greenhouse associate and designer of the plant beds. “I really enjoyed helping to transform this space for all of the students, faculty, staff, alumni and visitors who travel through this sentimental campus site.”

Foster incorporated a number of fall annuals into the design including Ornamental Redbor and Wild Dusk Kale, orange and blue pansies, Dusty Miller, Ornamental Lilac Eclipse Kale, and Bright Lights Ornamental Swiss Chard.  The existing Japanese Maples and majestic Crepe Myrtles frame the space and give shade to passersby. Mulched beds on the east and west sides of the garden will be planted with flowering annuals in the spring.

Interim Landscape Supervisor Mike Moore said the Koi fish in the center pond of the garden have been relocated to the pond in The Garden of Memory, which is located west of Mell Street between the President’s home and the Hill Residence Halls.

“We cleaned and chlorinated the pond. We also removed the old concrete benches and replaced them with new iron seat-back benches, and placed new sod where the overgrown shrubs were originally located. I think the area seems more campus friendly and inviting,” said Moore.

Last Updated: April 07, 2014