A lot of travel these past few weeks – St. Louis, Munich, Shanghai, and Seoul – every trip an opportunity to see other botanical gardens and plant collections. My two favorite images from these trips are a reminder of how much work goes into making a garden shine – that behind every plant in a botanical garden are wonderful caring horticulturists and gardeners, often invisibly going about their never-ending work to bring joy to people they will never meet or know.
In the magnificent conservatories of the Munich Botanical Garden, at the end of the day, just before closing time, in the camellia house. An unseen horticulturist has removed every flower with just a hint of age or browning so that the next day, visitors will view only pristine arrays of flowers. Then, half way around the world, in a private garden in Ningbo (south of Shanghai), a similar scene, only this time evidence of the endless weeding that makes a formal garden bed pleasing to the eye. And finally, back in Boston at the Arnold Arboretum on Friday, the neat bundles of twigs and branches ready to be picked up and hauled off to the mulching operation. As if someone knew how happy it would make me to know that our plants are tended so well!