In Praise of Volunteers

Master Naturalist intern
Jim Wilson constructs a
pea trellis in the Children’s
Funshine Garden.

In mid-March, a group of volunteers and I descended on the Arboretum’s Funshine Garden to prepare the beds for spring planting. We were greeted by a few hardy pansies that had overwintered, several husks of Indian corn, and lots and lots of weeds. No problem for our stalwart volunteers: within several hours, the beds were cleared of weeds, enriched with composted horse manure (kindly donated by Jamie Sullivan of Snapdragon Stables), and magically put to rights. Notable events included volunteer Jim Wilson’s impromptu creation of a twig and branch pea trellis, as well as Will Cook’s heroic battle against a deeply rooted and ill-placed baptisia plant. Thankfully, Jaimie Jacobs was on hand to photograph it all.

Master Naturalist intern
Jaimie Jacobs tends a bed
in the children’s garden.

The morning reminded me of the crucial role volunteers play at the Arboretum. When coordinating Arboretum events or preparing for an environmental education program, I sometimes feel that the way forward is as briar-ridden and obstacle-filled as Sleeping Beauty’s castle. Yet always (and sometimes at the seeming last minute), volunteers rise to the demands of the occasion: supporting, complementing, toiling, smiling, struggling, and, as in the garden, magically putting things to rights.

by Jenny Houghton
Youth Program Coordinator

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