Catch a tour of the U of I Arboretum on Agronomy Day

July 16, 2012

URBANA – Visitors to the 2012 University of Illinois Agronomy Day on August 16 are invited to visit the U of I Arboretum’s booth to register for guided tours of the arboretum. Tours of Japan House (including a tea ceremony), the Idea Garden, and the Pollinatarium will also be available.

“It's close, it’s free and we love visitors,” said Diane Anderson, horticulturalist and arboretum grounds supervisor and trials manager.

The U of I Arboretum is a living laboratory, with plant collections and facilities that support the teaching, research, and public service programs of several units throughout campus. It is managed in partnership by the Department of Crop Sciences and the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences.

Visitors will have the opportunity to explore the two-acre Miles C Hartley Selections Garden, which is planted with more than 1,000 labeled seed and vegetative flower varieties that are evaluated for performance. “Or just relax and cool off on benches under the shade trees surrounding the beautiful flower beds,” said Anderson.  
The Master Gardeners of Champaign County have created the Idea Garden to showcase gardening practices from borders to ornamentals and vegetables. The Idea Garden also includes a children’s garden, sensory garden, and a small-fruits garden.

The Noel Welcome Garden has an inviting pergola and benches that welcome visitors to the arboretum and introduce them to the beauty of the outdoors.
Japan House and its surrounding gardens feature typical Japanese architecture and landscaping. The nearby ponds are home to ducks, blue herons, turtles, and other wildlife.

The Pollinatarium is the nation’s first free-standing science center devoted to flowering plants and their pollinators. Multiple exhibits acquaint visitors with the disciplines involved in the study of pollination, including ecology, evolution, plant biology, insect physiology, animal behavior, crop sciences, and conservation.

Tours of the Miles C Hartley Selections Garden and the Idea Garden will begin at the Agronomy Seed House, which is located on the north side of West Hazelwood Drive almost two blocks west of Lincoln Avenue, at 8 a.m., 9 a.m., and 10 a.m. Golf carts are available for those who need assistance. The last van will return to the Seed House at noon.

The Pollinatarium will be open from 8 a.m. until noon; tours will be offered at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. Maps are available at the arboretum booth.

Japan House will offer a traditional tea ceremony at 9 a.m. The kimono-clad hostess will prepare and serve a bowl of whisked matcha tea and a traditional Japanese sweet. There will also be an introduction to the history of the tea ceremony and the role of the tea garden within the tradition. The tea ceremony lasts about an hour and is $8 per person. Participants are asked to wear white socks to prevent damage to the tatami mats. If accessibility is an issue, a chair can easily be pulled up to the tea room.

Visitors unable to take a tour on Agronomy Day are encouraged to visit to set up a tour at another time. The arboretum is located at 1800 South Lincoln Avenue in Urbana.

Agronomy Day attracts more than 1,000 people each year to the Crop Sciences Research and Education Center in Urbana to find out the latest information on technology and techniques to improve food and fuel production. For more information on speakers and displays, like University of Illinois Agronomy Day on Facebook or go to


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