HNR Departmental History
The Department of Horticulture and Natural Resources (HNR) at K-State had its beginning in 1871 when the Agriculture Science College was split into the Horticulture Department and the Farm Department. Horticulture is, therefore, the oldest department in the College of Agriculture at K-State, and one of the oldest within the University. Over the years, the Horticulture unit has been merged with a variety of disciplines, including Botany, Entomology, and Landscape Architecture [See figure at right]. The first undergraduate degrees in Horticulture were conferred in 1871. M.S. degree offerings in Horticulture began in the early 1900s and the Ph.D. degree was first offered in 1957.
Forestry and the State Forestry agency were added to the department in 1971, offering a pre-forestry program of study and a four-year degree program in park resource management. In 1982, the State legislature established a Division of Forestry at K-State with a State Forester appointed by the Board of Regents. The now-named Kansas Forest Service has been in continuous operation with HFRR since its inception and is a partner with the U.S. Forest Service. In 1991, the Departments of Horticulture and Forestry were merged to create the current unit, the Department of Horticulture, Forestry, and Recreation Resources.
In 1971, the Department of Horticulture at K-State, in cooperation with the Menninger Clinic, a leading psychiatric hospital for treatment, research and education, in Topeka, Kansas (now located in Houston, Texas), developed the first B.S. curriculum in Horticultural Therapy in the United States. The multi-disciplinary curriculum was unique in combining horticultural science with the social and behavioral sciences. The original curriculum required a 1,000 hour clinical internship in the last semester of the senior year. By 1975, the M.S. graduate program was approved. The Ph.D. specialization was approved in 1979. K-State continues to be a world leader in horticultural therapy research and graduate education.
Kansas State University Gardens
The Kansas State University Gardens have been an educational resource and community treasure for nearly 140 years. In 1877, Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University donated over 100 species of exotic trees and shrubs to incorporate into the K-State campus landscape. In 1907, the Victorian style Conservatory was built south of Dickens Hall. A formal rose garden was established east of the Conservatory in 1927 and by the 1960s, the University Gardens and Arboretum contained 4,000 specimens, representing 700 species of woody plants.
As the campus grew, the original gardens began to be replaced by buildings and parking lots, with a decision made in the late 1970s that the permanent home for the University Gardens would be sited along Denison Avenue in front and north of the old dairy barn complex. The old barn, now known as the Glenn Beck Dairy Barn, houses the Quinlan Visitor Center and serves as a backdrop to the University Gardens. The Visitor Center contains information about the Gardens, including plans for future development, and is open from March through November.
In 1989, the Rose Collection Garden was constructed and in the mid 1990s the Gardens began to take shape with construction of the Visitor Center Garden, Pergola, Fountain, the Cottage Garden and limestone walls and entryways. Plant materials, benches, sculptures and other garden features have been added through the years. Expansion of the Gardens continues to the north, with planning for exciting future developments underway.