April showers bring May flowers, but not without the help of UT’s Landscape Services, who hand plant the colorful flowers around popular campus locations each year, such as the Littlefield Fountain.
Landscape Services manager Jim Carse said the end of February to May is their busiest time of the year. They control annual falling leaves, replant certain areas around campus and prepare for commencement.
“We’re kind of all over the place on campus right now,” Carse said. “(Replanting is) always exciting because that’s the … picture-taking areas that we can really show off some nice color flowers.”
The annual operating cost for Landscape Services is about $250,000. Carse said they purchase more than $6,000 worth of colorful flowers each spring. This does not include Dell Medical School or J.J. Pickle Research Campus, which Landscape Services also oversee.
In about a week, Carse said they will begin planting the annual colored flowers. He said he is thankful for the job he has, because he can see the immediate results of his labor and have a lasting impact.
“It’s a gratifying job, but you also know that if you take care of (landscape such as trees), it’ll just get prettier with time,” Carse said. “It makes me feel great. It’s not always easy, and it’s a lot of hard work, but we get a lot of support.”
Carse said they are also always trying to think about sustainability and long-term investments including water conservation and planting new trees around campus.
“We’re always striving to have (new landscapes) be more maintainable and more sustainable,” Carse said. “We only want native plants and native trees planted, and we want them planted in a way that we’re not wasting water.”
Nick Montiel, geological sciences graduate student, said he had not heard of the conservation efforts Landscape Services is making, but he thinks it’s important for the future of the University and environment.
“It’s important because taking care of the landscaping and the Earth for multiple generations is a key perspective and action to take,” Montiel said. “It’s really, really important to our University, country and the planet.”
Chemical engineering sophomore Teresa Soisson said she appreciated the work Carse and his team do for campus because she, like many other students, spends her time outside on campus to de-stress.
“It’s just nice to be able to sit outside and enjoy how beautiful our campus looks and not have to worry about class for a little bit,” Soisson said. “It’s also important to have a good looking campus for visitors and possible future students touring.”
Carse said students can do their part to keep campus looking clean by doing small things that make a big difference, such as throwing away their trash, taking the time to walk around certain landscaping and not feeding the campus animals.
“Put your trash where your trash goes, and most importantly, put your recycling where the recycling goes,” Carse said. “We have lots of receptacles across campus that can take your trash a lot easier than the ground can.”