Friday, May 21, 2010


Surf Rider, 1968

When Sarah Owens, the rosarian in charge of the Rose Garden at the BBG, asked what I hoped to learn while volunteering there (one day a week, flexible hours), I think I looked a bit blank. There I was, thinking I could contribute, and I was being asked what I would like to be taught...

, every additional hour I spend pulling out a weed or raking some mulch, glancing over my shoulder at yet another rose, or mulling over a question a visitor asked me that I could not quite answer (what exactly is a moss rose?) - I realize that I know less and less. Which is great! There is so much to learn.

One of the unexpected benefits for me is talking to visitors, because everyone stops to ask questions. Happily, there are many I am able to answer. And it also struck me that every person I saw that day wanted to be there. Almost every person I saw bent down to smell the roses.

I can't wait to weed some more.

It's nice being a pupil, in a way. I am used to being in charge, making big decisions, painting with broad botanical sweeps. Sarah is a wonderful teacher, and I am looking forward to Asking Questions.

Variegata di Bologna Rouge, 1984

Suzanne, 1950

Golden Wings, 1956

Autumn Damask, 1819

If you have questions about the volunteer program at the Garden, please contact Lou Cesario, Director of Visitor Services and Volunteers at 718-623-7260 or loucesario(at)bbg(dot)org.
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