Texas A&M Campus-More than tailgating and football
When most folks from central Texas think about Texas A&M, they think about the days of big football rivalries, core cadets and not so funny Aggie jokes. I spent quite a few weekends at A&M with my Aggie friends in my 20’s going to bonfires, games and doing what college kids do.
I did not realize until a few recent visits how large and beautiful the Texas A&M campus is. As of 2021 it has a total undergraduate enrollment of 56,723, and the campus size is 5,200 acres. During the 2020-2021 academic year, Texas A&M University – College Station handed out 57 bachelor’s degrees in horticulture. Due to this, the school is ranked in the top 5% of all colleges and universities that offer this degree, according to College Factual. There has been an increase each year with students entering this field.
Recently Julie and I, two Longhorn fans, joined our Aggie friends for a weekend in College Station, and were treated to a field trip to West Campus where the Leach Teaching Gardens are featured. The teaching gardens are situated right next to the horticultural school and greenhouses and you will pass the impressive AgriLife Buildings at the entrance.
About Leach Gardens
Amy and Tom Leach were the lead donors of now one of the premier teaching gardens in the country. The initial phase began in 2016 and opened to the public in 2018. There are currently 21 teaching gardens and a total of 33 teaching areas to enjoy on the 7 acre development with more to come in future phases.
The gardens consist of bird, bee, butterfly, rose, herb, cottage, Texas Superstar, citrus, cottage, vegetable gardens and more. In addition, there are specialty heritage gardens, a farming field display (the current display is a cotton field), a farmers market photo opportunity and even a vineyard. Within the gardens you will see unique pathways, extraordinary hardscape, creeks, pavilions, outdoor classrooms, arbors, steel walls, screens and even a bird blind that all provide special focal points along the paths. There are many demonstrations for water catchment systems that are clever and intriguing. Make sure you visit the AgriLife building courtyard too. The water collection system there is pretty impressive.
Worth the Trip
The seven-acre area is an easy walk and is wheelchair accessible with wide crushed granite pathways and ample sitting areas and shade. I have never seen so much butterfly activity in my life and there are photo opportunities around every corner. The gardens spark great ideas and excitement for all types of gardening. I highly recommend this two hour trek to College station to explore The Leach Teaching Gardens on the A&M campus. The garden also has tours twice a week at 9:30 am. See the website for details.
About Kay Angermann
Kay has been a Travis County Master Gardener since 2018. She and Julie (also a Travis County Master Gardener) have had their “Katy Bird Farm” garden featured on Central Texas Gardener. They have two miniature donkeys, chickens, dogs, cats, and 15 different gardens on 2.7 acres. When she’s not busy on the farm, she’s out gathering vintage signs and decor for her Hipbilly business.