So. I was talking to an acquaintance the other day, and she
said something about me being bored at work.
I didn’t understand this statement and asked for more details, thinking
I had missed something in our conversation. She said, “You know, with nothing
to do.” I was still at a loss and said
so. She continued, “It’s winter. You don’t have anything to do, it must be nice.” I nearly choked trying not to laugh and
offend her.What do we do in
the winter? For non-plant people, I
guess this is an appropriate question.
Here is the answer:
We plant trees and shrubs. Weekly, sometimes daily, we rake
leaves, blow leaves, and pluck the leaves out of the boxwoods (then we do it
Weeds are seasonal, if you didn’t know. There are fall,
winter, spring, and summer weeds – some such as chickweed can be year ‘round,
with spring and fall being the worst. Weeding never, ever, stops. There are
plant signs to be engraved and placed/replaced in the gardens. Fencing and other barriers often need
overhauling. On rainy days, we descend on the greenhouses where we groom and
weed and shift plants into larger pots if needed. We do those projects that we
say we will do on a rainy day… We work on our plant databases, adding new
plants, removing those that were a good idea, but that don’t really want to
grow here in Memphis, tweaking notes and making new ones. We clean the
Horticulture Building. We fix irrigation where someone not familiar with the
garden has driven over and broken lines, heads, boxes, etc. We work on below
freezing days wearing long johns, thermals, quilted cover-alls, scarves, hats,
and whatever else we can wrap up in. We should have stock in Hot-Hands
(activate and place them on top of the backs of your hands in your gloves and
place them on the front of your feet in front of the ankles – this warms the
blood going into fingers and toes and helps!). We still turn into humansicles
and stumble into the Hort Building with frozen fingers and toes and runny noses
– just to thaw out and go back again. For what? Go back to the first line! This
is not all, but is an idea for you folks who wonder what we do in the winter:
it never ends! The days are never long enough for any of us here in
Horticulture at the Memphis Botanic Garden.
Never fear though, we are never bored!
Well said! I get the, "What do you do in winter?" question all the time. Many people who aren't gardeners (or who garden in a more hospitable climate) don't realize just how much there is to do out there. Thank you for setting the record straight! (I'm now off to de-ice the walkways and check for broken tree limbs after getting almost 6-inches of snow yesterday!)
Director of Horticulture at Reeves-Reed Arboretum, Summit, NJ
Please include your contact name!
Please include your contact email address as a valid email address!
Please include your comments!
For updates and more!
Central Daylight Time Hours:
9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Central Standard Time (Winter) Hours:
9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Holiday Wonders at the Garden:
5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
We are located at:
750 Cherry Road
Memphis, TN 38117
(Between Park & Southern)