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Secret garden honors the memory of Don Cox

A tranquil, subtropical garden welcomes those who work and study in Pearson Hall.

The Cox Secret Garden was created to honor former microbiology chair and professor Don Cox who died of cancer last summer. The garden "reflects the spirit of collegiality" among the departments of microbiology, botany and zoology, agree Anne Morris Hooke, David Francko and Doug Meikle, respective chairs of the three departments housed in Pearson.

With resources contributed by each department and expertise (plus much of the "labor of love") contributed by Francko, the garden is a subtropical surprise flourishing in what was just a year ago a weed-covered courtyard.

"It’s a fitting tribute to Don. We know he would appreciate it," says Francko, adding that Cox often commented on how a garden ought to be made in the courtyard area.

The plantings allow one to enter an oasis of palms, oleander, bird of paradise, bamboo and hardy banana, to list but some of the over 30 varieties of these warm-climate plants able to be grown in the microclimate of the garden (USDA Zone 7).

These plants make the garden do double-duty as the ninth experimental plot on campus for Francko’s cold-hardy palm research project. Francko is co-investigator with Ken Wilson (botany) of the project, which is supported by a grant from the Ohio Plant Biotechnology Consortium.

Visitors to the secret garden are becoming more frequent, says Francko, whether to eat lunch or just to take a break. The area may also be used for special occasions such as receptions, says Meikle.

For a tour of the garden, contact Francko at 9-4200.

Date Published: 06/14/2001
Volume: 20   Number: 38

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