In evaluating the top university botanical gardens and arboretums, the editors of Best Colleges Online looked for schools that not only maintained a manicured landscape, but also served as environmental stewards, outdoor classrooms and living laboratories.
The W.J. Beal Botanical Garden is an outdoor laboratory for the study and appreciation of plants. The garden, established in 1873 by William James Beal, is the oldest continuously operated university botanical garden of its kind in the U.S. The garden celebrated its140th birthday in 2013.
More than 2,000 different types of flowers and other plants can be found within the five-acre garden. Although W.J. Beal Botanical Garden is an outdoor laboratory for students, the general public is invited to learn about and enjoy plants in the garden at any time throughout the year without an admission charge.
Hidden Lake Gardens, also owned by MSU, is located in Tipton, Mich., and is celebrating 70 years since the donation of the gardens.
Hidden Lake’s mission is to maintain the gardens for the benefit and education of the public. On display are collections of plants that are of horticultural, botanical and aesthetic value to the public and professionals of various disciplines.