UA Minute in History: Joseph Wood Krutch Garden

Did you know the garden in the middle of the Mall is as old as the University of Arizona itself? Find out more about the Joseph Wood Krutch Garden in this UA Minute in History. Video by Marissa Heffernan Music Credit: Paradise Vibe -- Purple Planet Music

Cactuses live a long time, but so has the University of Arizona’s Joseph Wood Krutch Garden, which has been around for 120 years. But where is it and how did it come to be? Find out with me, Jasmine Demers, in this UA Minute in History.

The garden was created by James Toumey, a botanist for the Agricultural Experiment Station on campus, around the same time that the University was founded in 1891. He wanted to preserve the “aesthetically unique vegetation” of the Sonoran Desert. By 1929, the garden had over 600 species of plants, including eight boojum trees from Baja California, which are now rare and protected by the Mexican government. 

In 1929, the garden was moved from the west side of Old Main to the east side, extending from Old Main to Highland Avenue. When the new Student Union was built in the 1950s, the Mall was planted with grass, parts of the garden were scattered to different areas of campus, and the most important species were condensed into a central oval shape it still holds today. 

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It wasn’t until 1980 that the garden was named for Joseph Wood Krutch, a naturalist who loved the Southwest.

The Krutch Garden Working Group was founded in 2004, after there was talk of moving the garden again. Its mission is to protect, preserve and care for the garden, and members created a general care plan.

Today, take a minute to sit by the garden, watch the wildlife it provides shelter for and consider the fact that this garden is as old as UA itself. 

I’m Jasmine Demers, and thanks for watching this UA Minute in History. 

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