The College of Horticulture and Gardening was established in 2003 when the Yangtze River University was formed. Its predecessor was the horticultural department of Hubei Agricultural College, which was established in 1985. The college now has four teaching departments (Horticulture, Gardening, Tea and Landscape Architecture), which are respectively responsible for the construction of four undergraduate majors. There are now 1,038 full-time undergraduates and 87 students working for their master's degrees and doctoral degrees at the college.
Horticulture and gardening are both key majors of Yangtze University. The Horticulture was authorized as a “Pilot Project of the Development Model Reform of Tip-top and Innovation-based Talents” in the First Batch of Outstanding Agriculture and Forestry Talents’ Education and Cultivating Program issued by Ministry of Education, and this specialty was also approved as the synergy personnel cultivating program of “Jingchu Outstanding Talents” in the general undergraduate colleges in Hubei Province. And in the First Batch of Outstanding Agriculture and Forestry Talents’ Education and Cultivating Program issued by Ministry of Education, the gardening major was authorized as a “Pilot Project of the Cultivating Model Reform of Compound and Application-based Talents”. In the internal major assessment of our university in 2017, among 16 specialties in Agricultural Science group, the Horticulture major ranked No. 1 and the gardening major ranked third. Landscape architecture is a new major added in 2015, awarded Bachelor of Engineering. In 2014, on the list of Landscape Architecture Major of China’s Universities made by Architectural Society of China, the landscape architecture of our school is a "4-star"major, the "high level of professional discipline in China." The tea major can be called "professionally potential major". Though in today’s society, the denotation and connotation of traditional tea was expanded and tea industry is developing at a rapid speed, the employment rate of the tea major has remained at 100% in recent years.
Our college has a strong faculty. There are 60 full-time teachers, including 10 professors, 16 associate professors, 6 doctoral tutors and 25 master's tutors and 32 teachers have doctoral degrees and 22 teachers have master's degrees. "Garden plant and ornamental horticulture" and " pomology" are the two disciplines which offer faculty positions for Hubei Chutian scholars. We also have one hired scholar from Hubei provincial" Hundred Talents Program" , one Chutian scholar chair professor, one Chutian student, one “rainbow” scholar, two specially engaged professors from Yangtze University.
We steadily promoted discipline construction. Now we have both second-level Master program and second-level doctoral program for horticultural plant resources and utilization, and we also have the authority to grant Professional Master degree for horticulture. Landscape architecture is the key breeding discipline of Hubei province, and the first-level master's degree of landscape architecture ranked 7th in the national assessment of its kind in 2012. Focus on the "green agricultural discipline group", which is mentioned in the "13th Five-Year" program as distinctive discipline group of Hubei province making the discipline direction of "garden plant germplasm resources innovation and horticultural plant cultivation and breeding" as the key.
The college has basic teaching laboratories, innovative training laboratories and scientific research laboratories for undergraduates. There are four laboratories jointly built by the central and local governments, which are the "plant resources and environmental laboratory", "gardening plant stress physiology laboratory", "gardening plant cultivation and breeding laboratory", and "garden plant resource utilization and germplasm innovation center". We have large experimental platform, such as Chutian scholar public laboratory, CAD room. We also have four university-level scientific research platforms , such as "machilus germplasm resources evaluation and innovation center", "the plant root systems biology research institute", "plant ecological and environmental restoration research institute", "landscape architecture planning and design institute”. There are also botanical garden, potted garden, citrus garden, etc., which serve as the practice teaching bases on campus. Our college actively develops distinctive industry-university-institute cooperation, pays attention to the cultivation of students' practical abilities, sets up a batch of stable practical teaching bases in other well-known scientific research institutes and famous enterprises. These hardware conditions can meet the teaching and research needs of the discipline.
We also actively conduct scientific research and social services. The college now has 9 scientific research teams and in recent 5 years has undertaken more than 100 national and provincial scientific research projects, being granted 17 kinds of rewards, applied for 10 patents for invention, succeeded in breeding three new varieties, published over 10 monographs and teaching materials, and more than 600 high-level papers, among which there are more than 200 being published in core and authoritative journals, and more than 100 are included by SCI and EI.
In order to strengthen students’ exchanges with other scientific research institutes both at home and abroad, our college successively signed joint school agreements with some well-known universities abroad, like Seoul National university, North Dakota State University, and Duke university. The cooperation contents include the exchange of visiting scholars, the exchange of students between the two sides, the training of undergraduates and postgraduate students, and the scientific research.
In recent 5 years, the employment rate of all graduates at our college has been maintained at above 90%, and the graduates have strong practical ability and high comprehensive quality, which have been thought highly by employers. Some students took root in the rural areas and brought benefits to the people; some students tried in the business world and became self-employed and some students furthered their study and become outstanding in the academic world.
Each year, the college will carry out scientific and technological cultural festivals with distinctive specialty features, such as the garden landscape planning and design competition, flower arrangement design competition, tea art competition, etc. Besides some individual activities, quality development activities and the talent and skill competitions are also very impressive.
Gardening is the cause of flowers, the cause of fruit, the cause of tea, the cause of fragrance, the cause of the sweet, the cause of beauty, and the cause of improving the quality of life of the people. "Promote the building of ecological civilization and strive to build a beautiful China, create a good production and living environment for the people", is an important task put forward by the18th CPC National Congress. Our country is now vigorously strengthening the construction of ecological civilization, so the demand for gardening and landscape talents is increasing. Our college has broad prospects for development.