Our first few days here at the botanic gardens have been incredibly fun and interesting. I’ve been learning so much about the incredible organisms that I get to work with and have been introduced to so many new plant families that I probably would have been very unlikely to discover on my own.

One of these plant families which I think is really cool is the bloodroot family or Haemodoraceae. It includes plants that have deep red roots, like the marsh butterfly lily Wachendorfia, hence the ‘haem’ prefix, as it kind of resembles the colour of blood. We also have gotten to see and work with loads of plants from my native Texas, such as the Ipomopsis rubra or commonly known as the ‘Texas plume’. These were grown from seed at the gardens and we got to plant them out in the lawn area.

One of my favourite things about the gardens is that we get to experience and become familiar with plants from all different parts of the world. 

Pictured from top: blood red roots of South African marsh butterfly lily (Wachendorfia thyrsiflora); young Texas plume plants (Ipomopsis rubra)

Wild garlic surrounding a horse chestnut tree

A lot of the work that we have been doing so far in the garden is weeding. While some may find it to be a laborious and loathsome task I have found great enjoyment in it.

In one of the arboretums the main weed in the tree circles is the native wild garlic, Allium ursinum, or Ramsons. We cleared a lot of this out from the garden and then I ended up being able to take some of both the leaves and the garlic bulbs home which resulted in a delicious dinner of wild garlic pesto, the best way to bring your work home with you! It also felt so great to be able to put some of these so called weeds to use by eating them, and has made me more curious to find out what exactly in the garden I can bring home for dinner (I already have my eyes on the apple and pear trees though I know I will have to wait until the end of summer).

Of course no day here would be complete without spending some time with the garden cat, Fluffy. This sweet boy loves to come and supervise our work especially when we are working in the family beds. He’s the most distracting, and cute, co-worker anyone could think of and I love being able to wake him up in the morning with loads of scratches!


I’m really looking forward to my next few weeks here at the botanic gardens because I know that all of our hard work in weeding out the flower beds and arboretums is going to lead to even more exciting projects. I’m hoping that once we have enough ground cleared we will be able to start planting new species to help increase the biodiversity and overall aesthetic of this beautiful place!