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The Gardens

Gardens hours

Dawn to dusk
Sunday through Saturday
March through November

Quinlan Visitor Center

10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Monday through Friday
March through November

 

The Conservatory is currently closed for renovations.

 

Free admission
Free parking

Kansas State University Gardens
Department of Horticulture and Natural Resources
2021 Throckmorton Ctr
1712 Claflin Road
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506

785-532-3271
785-532-6949 fax
ksugardens@k-state.edu

Location
1500 Denison Ave.
Manhattan, KS 66506

History

Kansas State University Gardens

conservatory and Dickens Hall

In 1863 Bluemont College became Kansas State Agricultural College and eventually became Kansas State University.

In 1871, the K-State Agriculture College purchased the Gale farmstead (once a plant nursery) that eventually became the Kansas State University Gardens.

In 1877, 100 species of trees and shrubs were sent to the college from Harvard Botanical Gardens to form a campus arboretum.

At its peak, the campus arboretum contained 4,000 specimens representing 700 species of woody plants. Through the years, as Kansas State University grew, new building construction considerably reduced the number of plants in the campus arboretum and garden size.

In 1907, a Victorian style conservatory (originally called the 'plant museum') was built to the immediate southeast of then Horticulture Hall which was later named Dickens Hall in honor of Dr. Albert Dickens, professor and then Department Head of Horticulture from 1902-1930.

in 1911, Mike Ahern was hired as a Professor of Horticulture.  Ahern also served as the K-State Athletic Director until 1946 and the field house was named after him.

in 1927, Professor Leon Reed Quinlan established a formal rose garden. He is credited with planting many campus trees. formal garadens

in 1978, when the formal gardens were eliminated to make way for Bluemont Hall, The Gardens and Conservatory were relocated to their current site. 

In 1989, new Rose Garden was planted.

In 1993, Formal design for 12 acre display garden was created by K-State Faculty and students in Landscape Architecture and Horticulture Departments.

In 1997, The first director, Scott McElwain was hired. With his leadership and generous sponsors, The Gardens continue to develop. Garden beds and collections blossomed. Walkways, fountains, pergolas, limestone walls, gateways, sculptures, etc. enhanced the beauty. 

Today, the Kansas State University Gardens are a horticulture display garden and an invaluable educational resource and learning laboratory for K-State students and the visiting public.

The Gardens Visitor Center 

1940 DAIRY BARNOriginally, the Gardens Visitor Center was the K-State Dairy Barn and Milk House (caretaker's cottage). It was built in 1933 and housed students workers that lived upstairs and milked for their rent. The first floor contained a weighing room, milk room, refrigerator, washroom and the herdsman's office. In 1976, due to inadequate facilities, the actual dairy production was moved to a new site north of campus. Recent improvement to the Visitor Center includes several large screen televisions with photos of the Gardens in their peak seasons, plans for future development and a brief history. An interactive screen provides a map of the Gardens as well as a connection to university news.