Ask Abe: Allen Centennial Garden

An Alum

What is the history of the Allen Centennial Garden?

Abe

Where can you find a Victorian garden, a dwarf-conifer garden, a Japanese garden, and an edible garden all within a 2.5-acre site? On the corner of Observatory and Babcock Drives at UW–Madison’s Allen Centennial Garden. Nestled next to the former agriculture dean’s residence (and soon-to-be home for CALS student organizations), this outdoor classroom / botanical garden hybrid features 22 gardening styles from around the globe. The Allen Centennial Garden is relatively new — groundbreaking began in the spring of 1985 following the receipt of a large gift from Ethel Allen ’28, MS’30. Ethel and her late husband, Oscar Allen PhD’30, were prominent UW professors and major contributors to the field of bacteriology. The garden was dedicated in 1989 — coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the UW’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS).