Santa Clara University

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The Faculty-Staff Newsletter, e-mail edition
Santa Clara University, November 15, 2007, Vol. 8, No. 5


Gardening at SCU is a family tradition

A native of the Portuguese island of Madeira, Vieira says he enjoys working outdoors, immersed in the University’s diverse plant kingdom. Besides the abundant flowers, including begonias, hydrangeas, lantana, day lilies and geraniums, the campus is also home to many types of trees. “We have orange, lemon, grapefruit, avocado, even a strawberry, a tomato, and a banana tree,” Vieira explains. “The squirrels love the chestnut trees, and when the big, sweet acacia blooms, it’s really a beautiful thing to see.”

Just like any home garden, Vieira says, there is always something to do. “We dig up the impatiens and other summer flowers each year and plant the winter flowers—primroses and pansies mostly—so we always have something colorful blooming in between the plants and in the beds.” 

SCU employs 13 gardeners, and each is responsible for his own area of the campus, according to Chris Young, assistant director of building and grounds. Vieira’s territory is bounded by Kenna Hall and the de Saisset Museum, which is adjacent to a memorial herb garden under his care.

But Vieira’s knowledge of the grounds extends far beyond his work area. When he first moved to Santa Clara 40 years ago, he lived in a house located on what is now a parking lot near the campus entrance. The house came down when SCU bought the property, and Vieira moved just a few blocks away. “Santa Clara University has always been very close to me,” he says. “I know this place very well and it is so beautiful, I never get tired of being here.”