|Elm Bank's garden curator shows the grounds to this year's crop of volunteers.|
It's been a couple of years since I last volunteered for the Mass Hort. At the time, the 182-year-old horticulture society was going through major upheavals. They were paring down to bare essentials in order to sustain their Elm Bank gardens and gift shop in Wellesley, ongoing plant trials for seed companies, Boston's annual flower show, and a parcel of land on the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston- not to mention valuable staff, volunteers and members. I volunteered in the greenhouses, tending to the large volume of seedlings that would add color to every thing Mass Hort touched. Operations continued successfully on the surface, but there was a great deal of uncertainty at every turn.
When I returned to Elm Bank on Saturday, I was greeted by a number of other volunteers, new and old, waiting for an orientation tour of this year's projects. As we followed the curator around the grounds, it didn't take long for me to realize that the uncertainty I remembered had been replaced by a new energy. Teams of people dedicated to tending each garden had been recently formed. Goals were determined for areas like the vegetable plots, the historic Olmstead garden and the picnic area, which had previously sat neglected on the periphery. I was given a host of new contacts who could help me find the most suitable tasks and projects. This new energy seemed familiar to me. It was part hope, part dream, and part resolution to get some work done. . . not at all unlike the feeling I get when I step out into my own small plot. This is a feeling I can dig to!