By Samantha Brookes
Most of the time there are fully bloomed, colorful flowers on the Texas Tech University campus, and almost never dead ones.
This is ensured by the maintenance crews who plant the flowers already blooming and then replace them when they start to fade.
The changing of the flowers on campus, though not as ceremonial or regal as the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, is just as commonplace, colorful and purely for show.
Summer Loneragan, instructor of horticulture, said there is not another purpose for the constant refreshing of the flowers on campus other than aesthetics. She said the reason they are changed out often is because they are annual flowers, which only have a lifespan of a year.
“Annuals by their nature are what we would call disposable plants, they are going to die,” Loneragan said. “So they are changing them before they look unsightly.”
According to Loneragan the reason not all of the flowers on campus are perennials, flowers that bloom every year, is because the annuals provide more color.
“If all they used were perennials it would be quite boring. You would only have certain types of colors, certain times a year,” Loneragan said.
The use of a mixture of perennials and annuals is common practice in landscaping, particularly for institutions in the public eye, Loneragan said.
Heather Shannon, a junior electronic media major, transferred to Tech this fall and said that the campus was a major selling point of the university.
“The color makes the campus shine,” Shannon said. “Having nature around helps people to be comfortable and feel relaxed.”
However, Kaitlyn Evans, a senior retail management major, said that the appearance of the campus is not something she cares about.
“I’m not here to walk around and look at the flowers, I’m here to go to class and graduate,” Evans said.
Although, Evans said she understands the pressure and competition Tech faces with recruitment. What concerns her is the environment example Tech is setting.
“With Tech having such a presence in Lubbock I think it is very important that they set an example to the rest of the town when it comes to being more water efficient,” Evans said.
The annuals that Tech plants are not drought tolerant plants, but they are watered using drip irrigation which Loneragan said is an efficient way to water.
In another effort to conserve, Loneragan said the flowers are grown in a greenhouse on campus and cuttings of the old flowers are then used to grow new ones.
“I think that Tech does a good job of balancing [environmental concerns], while maintaining the appearance of a prestigious university,” Loneragan said.