The Campus Chronicle
Vol. XVI, Issue 1
for the Amherst campus of the University of Massachusetts
Sept. 1, 2000

Page OneGrain & ChaffObituariesLetters to the ChronicleArchivesFeedbackWeekly Bulletin




Alumna shares efforts of two lifetimes: Eleanor Lachman donates plants she and late husband, William, developed

by Sarah R. Buchholz, Chronicle staff

Photo: Hostas
Hostas developed by Eleanor Lachman and her late husband, William, are being planted around campus by Grounds Maintenance personnel.
(Stan Sherer photo)

Some campus spots are sporting an array of hostas and day lilies, thanks to the generosity of alumna Eleanor Lachman,'37, '38G, who gave the plant material to the University last year. And she decided to donate more plants for additional gardens this year, according to Marc Fournier, assistant director of Physical Plant for Grounds Management.

     Gardens between the Public Health Center and Morrill Science Center, at the southeast corner of Hills South, at Hillside, and at the northwest corner of the Worcester Dining Commons all contain plants donated by Lachman.

     After giving more than 1,100 plants to the University last year, most of them day lilies, Lachman toured the four gardens in which they had been used. She then gave Fournier permission to remove plants from her yard at home to bring to campus.

     "It's a really nice partnership," Fournier said. "These are perennials. We'll be able to split them and plant them in other gardens over time. The staff is excited; they've learned a lot about new varieties of day lilies."

     Lachman and her late husband William, who taught in the Plant and Soil Sciences Department for 40 years, bred the plants as a hobby, developing a number of new cultivars to the industry over the years. They sold them through Lachman Gardens, a side business, Fournier said.

     "This is valuable plant material," said Bill Bramlage, head of Plant and Soil Sciences. "My wife and I were in North Carolina at a progressive nursery in July, and they had quite a few plants that Bill and Eleanor had developed.

     "They were some of the pioneers in this. When they started, there was very little variety and hostas were ugly plants. They developed a number of new hosta types; this is beautiful stuff.

     "This is going to put a lot of zing into the appearance of the campus. The impact will really come into play in the next two, three, four years when the plants start to become stronger. It's going to be stunning."

     Grounds Management personnel have already added hostas and day lilies to the front of Conte Polymer Research Center, and Fournier said there are plans for several more gardens and a marker to recognize the Lachman's contribution.

     "We're going to put a stone thanking them for the gift at the Worcester Dining Commons garden," he said.

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