Places on Campus: Prospect Garden

May 4, 2020
Richard Ma

Prospect Garden: One of my favorite places on campus. When you first walk through it, it’s like a pocket of complete calm. The garden feels like it’s in the very center of campus – right next to Frist Campus Center and the Art Museum, and just a three-minute walk to Dillon Gym or Firestone Library. But it’s more than just the location that makes it special. Hundreds of people walk through its main path during the day, past towering trees, a bubbling stone fountain, and bright, vibrant flowers. I often spare a moment to pause and look around me, and tour the circular path along its perimeter to fully take in the garden.

Prospect is beautiful in spring and summer, when flowers bloom, but it has its own charm in the winter too. In January, one of my close friends showed me another side to Prospect even further off the beaten path. Behind the trees and foliage lies another, more secluded route that I didn’t know about. It was snowing, and layers of white snow clung to the low-hanging branches and traced out the untrodden paths. Here, the evergreen trees are not just around but also above, and campus fades into the background with only the sound of our footsteps. Though people tend not to take this path, there are a few benches where you can sit in the quiet and watch the tips of the trees moving ever so slightly in the wind.

It’s hard not to walk through this garden when you first visit. It was raining when I first saw it, turning the walkway glossy enough to almost see my reflection. Since that day, I’ve spent afternoons sitting on the sloped lawn writing assignments, at café tables in the evenings, and sharing quiet moments with friends on a bench in midday.

Sometimes on my walk across campus, even though Prospect Garden isn’t along the way, I take a turn into and wander through. And I can’t wait to do that again.      

Prospect Garden walkway