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The Elusive Crystal Bridges Gardener

Museum Horticulturalist Cody George on the Crystal Bridges trails.

Museum Horticulturalist Cody George on the Crystal Bridges trails.

Museum Horticulturalist Cody George on the Crystal Bridges trails.

Museum Horticulturalist Cody George on the Crystal Bridges trails.

When you work outside, amongst nature, I suppose you tend to blend in to the surroundings.  And when you blend in to the surroundings, you hear some amusing and interesting statements by passersby, such as: “Did you know the glass on the bridges are made from pure crystal?” and “Well I heard that Frank Lloyd Wright lived in that house and he himself wanted it relocated here” (both are actual statements [though completely untrue] overheard by yours truly).

However, the most common statements heard pertain to the presumed number of gardeners who take care of our gardens and grounds.  I’ve heard numbers ranging from 12 to 20.  In fact, we have nine groundskeepers which consist of:  a mowing team of five who maintain nearly 10 acres of turf grass, one irrigation technician who maintains miles upon miles of irrigation lines, and a gardening crew of three who care for nearly 11 acres of maintained beds.

© 2015 Stephen Ironside/Ironside Photography

© 2015 Stephen Ironside/Ironside Photography

My focus here is to highlight the rarely seen folks who become one with the woods while they protect Mother Nature from the death grip of invasive species, fight off drought and death of plants with water and sustenance, and accentuate Mother Museum by installing hundreds of plants under the darkness of night!!! (Maybe not so much the night, more like anytime between 7:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday…and sometimes Saturday).  These folks are the Horticulture Crew and I have compiled a list of no-limit, honest questions that get to the core of why they love what they do. They are:

  1. Who is your guilty pleasure musician and why?
  2. What plant species do you most identify with and why?
  3. What are you currently digging at Crystal Bridges?

Spice-Bush-berriesCody George, Horticulturist

  1. Whitney Houston because we both just want to dance with somebody.
  2. Spicebush…we both enjoy being in the shade, but do fine in the sun. And we both emit a pleasant, spicy fragrance.
  3. The Monarch Waystation and all the pollinating species around it!!!

Wild ginger

Wild ginger

Billy Schmidt, Gardener and Volunteer Coordinator

  1. Ricky Martin because we both live la vida loca.
  2. Wild Ginger…for obvious reasons.
  3. Holes

Larry Miller, Gardener and New Guy on Crew

  1. Katy Perry!
  2. Moss species. I enjoy the tranquility of moss and the beauty when it blooms.
  3. The Jamie Wyeth exhibition

And for an added bonus, I had a break-through with our Executive Director, Rod Bigelow, who gave up his guilty pleasure musician.  You guessed it…Josh Groban.

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