I love living in the city, but at my heart, I’m a country girl and LOVE playing in the dirt. Gardening is in my blood, so I was very happy to have drawn the Memphis Botanic Garden as one of my volunteer experiences.
I’ve been to the Botanic Garden before for events and the farmers’ market, but it was very cool to be able to go back and work in the greenhouses. The orchid house is simply gorgeous with so many varieties of beautiful tropical flowers, and many other plants are grown in the other houses. My first project was to transplant young plants from their seeding pots to larger containers. These plants are being grown for sale at the upcoming Memphis Area Master Gardener’s Spring Fling. Some of the plants I didn’t know at all, but I easily identified the herbs we were planting; it’s much easier to know what you’re looking at when you see it every day in your kitchen
My second task was to prune some of the other plants. It’s a fun task, especially if you are a detail-oriented person and can get into a groove perfecting the way something looks. I spent a lot of time on the Japanese lilies, and since lilies are one of my favorite flowers, I may have to go by the flower show and buy some of my handiwork!
Manny and his crew were fantastic to work with! I got to volunteer with several other people who happened to be biologists, so the conversation in the greenhouse was very interesting. I appreciated the help Manny gave on the techniques for transplanting and pruning, which will come in handy with my own gardening efforts, and his willingness to let me come back any other time I want. He did tell me, however, that I was one of only two female volunteers who ever gardened without gloves. There is a reason people do that: dirt stains and dries out your hands, but I don’t care. I can’t wait to get back and get my hands all dirty again!