MU students prepare Tiger Garden for upcoming year

Saturday, August 22, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 12:44 p.m. CDT, Saturday, August 22, 2009

COLUMBIA — A lush assortment of green plants, bamboos and orchids line the shelves of Tiger Garden, a student-operated floral shop located inside the Agriculture Building at MU.

In the back of the shop, the aromas of earth and flowers spread throughout the room as a student orientation took place for new students who will be running the shop this semester.

A partnership between the Division of Plant Sciences and the University Bookstore, Tiger Garden has been serving MU students since 2005 with a variety of services including greenery such as bamboos, betta fish planters and gift baskets.

Mary Ann Gowdy, a plant sciences professor, used the garden as a tool to teach students how to run a business. She supervises the students, who manage the shop. Students make decisions, come up with new ideas and calculate prices.

Because students direct the garden, training time is limited. Although job opportunities are not restricted to students with experience in plant sciences, those with a floral background are preferred.

Many of the students are hired out of Gowdy's classes.

"Taking the class is kind of an interview. You never know what your professors look for," said Kim Martin, the event coordinator.

Revenues are used to develop the business and make it a better place for students to learn as well as for the payment of the students who work there. 

The floral shop offers several free classes and workshops. Because most of the attendees are MU faculty, classes are held mostly during lunchtimes and in the evenings.

People interested in livening up their dorm rooms, apartments or offices can visit the Tiger Garden Web site at or call 884-1191. Tiger Garden is located at 2-34 Agriculture Building and is open from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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