June is a good time to enjoy the rose gardens and the more than 30 varieties of annuals planted at the Formal Gardens (photo by Scott Kissell).
June is a good time to enjoy the rose gardens and the more than 30 varieties of annuals planted at the Formal Gardens (photo by Scott Kissell).

Our campus beauty and the people behind it

Miami Matters welcomes a new monthly column by Vincent Cirrito, landscape architect 


Planter in front of Shriver Center

Because I agree with Robert Frost who thought our campus was “beautiful,” my new monthly column in Miami Matters features our campus beauty and the people behind it.

Each month, I plan to highlight the physical facilities department’s horticulturists, grounds keepers and others as they provide spring color, ensure summer shade and fall colors, and keep our sidewalks and drives clear of snow throughout the winter months. 

Expect to read about places around campus worth a lunchtime stroll and learn about landscape initiatives happening across campus. 

I hope you enjoy "Our Campus Beauty." Please feel free to send me an email (cirritv@miamioh.edu) with any questions or observations. 

Get out and enjoy summer color – 50,000 annuals planted

bill-zRecently Bill Zehler, horticulturist, along with Barb Tonner, assistant horticulturist (both pictured, left), and student summer employees, removed tulips planted last fall and replaced them with summer annuals. 

All of the annual plants  - 50,000 of them - are grown in our own greenhouse at the Formal Gardens. 

Growth times and timing of planting on campus drives the scheduling. Some seeds are sown as early as November and as late as March for summer planting.

Timing is everything so that all plants are in full bloom at the time of planting.

barb-tTake a stroll through the Arthur F. Conrad Formal Gardens located between Patterson Avenue and the Marcum Conference Center.  Enjoy the more than 30 varieties of annuals planted here.

Follow the Formal Garden Tree Walk (map here) or stroll the more than 11 acres of park-like grounds. Be sure not to miss the ponds and the many turtles that call this place home.

View the rose garden now in full bloom, and relax in the shade of the arbor.


One of many Formal Gardens crew members who tend to the flower beds.

Enjoy these other campus seasonal bloom locations:
  • Sundial gardens.
  • King Library/Harrison Hall garden.
  • Recreational Sports Center garden.
  • Freedom Summer Memorial.
  • “M” planting at Pearson Hall.
  • Many planters filled with flowering plants located across campus.
Historical plantings reintroduced on High Street

Many may have noticed the removal of the last remaining ash trees, affected by the Emerald Ash Borer.


The corner of Campus Avenue and High Street, lined with elm trees, circa 1900.

These trees were located in the curb lawn on the north side of High Street near Pearson Hall.

Recently, 12 new street trees were planted in that area, reminiscent of the American elm that once majestically lined High Street (see photo) in the early 1900s.

We planted three elm cultivars resistant to the Dutch elm disease. This is a first phase of replanting this corridor to its earlier splendor. 

Trees selected share a similar form to that of the American elm: 

      • The Princeton American Elm (Ulmus Americana ‘Princeton’).
      • Valley Forge American Elm (Ulmus Americana ‘Valley Forge’).
      • Accolade Elm (Ulmus x’Morton’ Accolade).

Introducing multiple cultivars allows for the consistent streetscape desired but responds to the unknown future pest that often show preference for single cultivars of trees. 

Miami’s current campus tree planting program seeks to further diversify our campus’ urban forest through the planting of many varieties of tree species.