New Curators Dig in at UW–Madison’s Public Gardens

David Stevens, curator of the UW Arboretum's Longenecker Horticultural Gardens at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, uses a pair of hand shears to prune plants on June 3, 2015. (Photo by Bryce Richter / UW-Madison)

David Stevens, curator of the UW Arboretum's Longenecker Horticultural Gardens at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, uses a pair of hand shears to prune plants on June 3, 2015. (Photo by Bryce Richter / UW-Madison)

Plants brought new curators to a pair of public gardens at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, but it’s people that Ben Futa and David Stevens are hoping to see more of.

“What I like the most about the public garden setting is connecting people with plants,” says Futa, the new curator at Allen Centennial Gardens in the center of the UW–Madison campus. “People come in and say, ‘I’ve never seen this plant. What is it?’ Or they ask, ‘How do you get away with growing this in Wisconsin?’ And you get to share something with them.”

At Allen, that brand of sharing has gone on for nearly 26 years. Across town at the University of Wisconsin–Madison Arboretum, untold thousands have visited Longenecker Horticultural Gardens since its first lilacs were planted in 1935. And yet, Stevens is only the third curator of the gardens — following his graduate school advisor Ed Hasselkus and William Longenecker, who also served as Arboretum executive director in the 1930s.

Stevens shares his predecessors’ deep attachment to his new surroundings.

By Chris Barncard, July 7, 2015. Read the full story at UW–Madison News.

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