Date of Award

5-2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Plant and Environmental Science

Advisor

McMillan, Patrick

Committee Member

Dosmann , Michael

Committee Member

Adelberg , Jeffrey

Committee Member

Knap , Halina

Abstract

This dissertation addresses the question of how to transform a small to mid-sized public garden into a botanical garden capable of making a significant contribution to science. Botanical gardens have certain features that distinguish them from pleasure gardens and public parks. These include a scientific basis for collections, an emphasis on recording data on the plants in the collection, exchanging plant materials and data with other botanical gardens, and providing educational information to visitors. Gardens often have several missions, including conservation of rare and endangered species, botanical and ecological research, and involving the public through citizen science. I describe my work with the South Carolina Botanical Garden (SCBG), in which I considered ways to make the garden more effective at research and conservation, to increase the SCBG's interaction with Clemson University and the local community, to make the garden more visible to the larger world, and to integrate the garden into the worldwide network of botanical gardens and arboreta. This work includes revising SCBG's curatorial practices and policies with a view to joining a national botanical garden conservation network, involving students in scientific collection-building through a hands-on plant collection class, increasing SCBG's visibility and scholarly presence through a project that digitized and analyzed a historic plant collection, and examining the role of laws in guiding botanical gardens' conservation efforts.

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