Twenty-seven distinct spaces fill the horticulture department’s public botanical garden. It is named for the late Oscar Allen PhD’30, a UW bacteriologist, and his wife, Ethel ’28, MS’30, a renowned naturalist and former faculty member.
Ben Futa, who became the new director of Allen Centennial Garden last summer, wants the living laboratory to inspire lifelong gardeners. “We don’t want people to think of it like it’s behind a pane of glass.”
The garden’s Victorian Gothic home, built in 1896 for the agriculture dean, is on the National Register of Historic Places. It is under renovation to become a student center for the College of Agricultural & Life Sciences.
The 2.5-acre garden is open year-round, from dawn to dusk, and admission is free. Last year it began hosting yoga and tai chi classes, as well as student-run pop-up cafes that serve lunches featuring produce from the garden.