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Sunday, June 1, 2003
Last modified at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 28, 2003
© 2003 - The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

photo: attractions

  The Lubbock Memorial Arboretum offers visitors a look at the various plant types that grow well in West Texas.
jim watkins t Avalanche-JOURNAL

Arboretum showcases local plant varieties


It's not uncommon to see a red-spotted blackbird, or even a cotton-tailed rabbit run under the gazebo at the Lubbock Memorial Arboretum.

In the spring and summer, the garden is flush with color. Here and there, a volunteer will show up to prune or clean up.

But the main purpose for the arboretum is to show residents which plant varieties grow well in West Texas, said Eileen Gibbs, president of the arboretum's board.

There are 25 regular volunteers and about 30 to 40 occasional volunteers, according to members.

The arboretum is 42 years old this year, she said. According to an arboretum newsletter, the entity was put on the drawing boards in 1954. It was approved by the arboretum board in 1961 and had its first tree planted on Arbor Day 1962.

''Mrs. Georgia Williams decided 40 years ago that Lubbock needed one, because so many people were moving in and they didn't know what would grow out here,'' Gibbs said. ''So she -- let's put it this way -- she badgered the city council to put an arboretum in Clapp Park.''

The arboretum is free and open to the public, she said. Any time during park hours, residents can come through the gates and look at the different varieties of plants.

The arboretum is at 41st Street and University Avenue. It is part of K.N. Clapp Park.

Next door, the 44-year-old Lubbock Municipal Garden and Arts Center offers Lubbock residents a chance to try their hand at different types of art through various art classes, said Brook Witcher, project coordinator for the center.

These classes appear regularly in the Lifestyles calendar of the Vista section.

''The mission of the Garden and Arts Center is to provide Lubbock's cultural community with a venue for artistic and educational endeavors,'' Witcher said. ''We offer a lot of different art classes monthly for adults and children. We have an art show once a month, and we have a lot of weddings here, outside and at St. Paul's wedding chapel.''

Also, the center hosts the National Art Program in December for the city, she said.

Approximately 43,100 people attended events at the center last year, she said.

The center is located at 4215 University Ave. For more information on classes, call 767-3724.

[email protected] t 766-8713

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