How long have you volunteered with Mass Hort and what jobs have you had?
I have volunteered since 2004 when I took the Master Gardener course. For the first few years I did odd jobs in the library and gardens, helped at the flower show, and chaired the landscape awards committee. In 2008 I became a regular volunteer in the office following the staff reduction. My main responsibility has evolved from accounting and general office tasks into being Membership Assistant. This year marks my third as coordinator of the Mass Marketplace Festival, and I’ve been involved with the Festival of Trees since its inception. I spend at least one day a week at Elm Bank and often a lot more, depending on the season and activity which needs my help. I also work in the gardens, although not so much of late.
Why do you volunteer?
I believe in volunteering. People have many volunteering options, and I worked for many years at a food pantry, but what a delight it is to have a volunteer job related to horticulture and my avocation. I am also active in two garden clubs and serve as treasurer for the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts and my church.
What is your gardening heritage?
My Welsh grandfather’s hobby was sweet peas, which grow exceedingly well in England. I can remember helping him tie them up when I was six or so. As a preteen and teen I was forced to weed by my father in exchange for an allowance. Not a favorite summer activity, and I consider it a miracle that while memories of the drudgery still remain, I now enjoy doing almost every job in my own garden.
Describe your garden and your favorite horticultural tip.
One side of my one-third acre is quite shaded by both deciduous and evergreen trees, so I have a woodland garden there. The rest of the back is grassy areas bordered by perennial beds, with a view of an 18-acre pond at the bottom. I tend to let plants grow where they want to, which has resulted in the current need to cull and relocate. My gardening tip for Leaflet readers is to keep a plastic bucket near at hand for collecting the rocks and stones you always find while digging anywhere in New England. I find that I can carry a bucket of stones about three-quarters full, and then relocate them to an area behind the compost.
What’s your vision for Elm Bank?
My favorite features at Elm Bank are all the gardens and I would love to see them all almost weed-free. It would be wonderful to have a huge army of volunteers to tackle these upstarts on a regular and frequent basis.
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