Plans are being made to expand John C. Gifford Arboretum behind the Knight Physics Building. This comes as a compromise with the City of Coral Gables after nearly a decade of back and forth on a 2007 proposal to build a road through the garden in the northwest corner of the University of Miami’s Gables campus.
Arboretum Director Steve Pearson said a road for service vehicles will be built to help alleviate the traffic many neighbors complained about in their bid to build a road.
“It was a compromise that was reached just with the city in November,” Pearson said. “It’s not going to be for any general traffic. The only thing that will be of any impact at all is this new area where the arboretum will expand into.”
Along with the road, Pearson said he is planning two new tree exhibits and a possible aquatic exhibit, which would include water plants. There are also plans to build a sustainable garden to teach students how to grow their own vegetables. Pearson is also pushing for the installation of a greenhouse for research purposes.
“We have a great arboretum – something that’s a big asset – but we also need to have a greenhouse to attract top scientists in plant science,” he said.
Pearson said the arboretum contains more than 500 plants, representing every continent except Anarctica.
“For study, for research, for education we try to maximize the diversity we can maintain,” he said.
A tour through the arboretum will take place Feb. 19 at 1 p.m.