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1966: Patterson Gardens Honours Extraordinary Individual

Larger Version

In 1966, work began to create a garden with over 600 different varieties of plants, on a four-acre parcel of University land.  The gardens were dedicated to C.F. Patterson, who had joined the faculty in 1921, and served as head of the department of horticulture from its creation in 1922 until his retirement in 1960.

During his tenure at the University, Patterson developed over 52 new varieties of hardy fruits for the prairies and over 18 varieties of hybrid hardy lilies, as well as several varieties of ornamental plants.  Indeed, he is “credited with originating fruit breeding work on the prairies,” effectively extending the growing potential of gardens across the west.  His experimental–and non-irrigated--nursery was believed to be the world’s largest.  In addition to his plant-breeding research, from 1922-1948 Patterson was responsible for all landscaping on campus.

As his colleagues on faculty noted, “on his retirement [Patterson] had served the University for 39 years, practically without a holiday and without sabbatical leave.  His apparently unlimited energy, his loyalty to the University, and his devotion to the students are almost without parallel in the history of this University.”

Dr. Patterson died in 1961, a year following his retirement.  Patterson Gardens were formally dedicated in August, 1969.

Related Collections

Department of Horticulture fonds, RG 2105.
A.R. Brown (“The Prairie Gardener”) fonds, MG 68.


1966a: C.F. Patterson. Photograph Collection, A-8656.

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