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by Diana Plasberg, Volunteer, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden 

After spending the past week with my sprained ankle propped up, I welcomed the opportunity to limp over to the Garden to volunteer as a leaf stripper for the Patrick Dougherty project. Luckily, chairs are provided for this task. My fellow strippers and I spent an afternoon removing leaves from saplings that will soon become works of art. Sitting or standing, stripping leaves off branches is bit of a workout.  I wondered why we didn’t harvest the saplings while the trees were still bare.  Then I learned that it’s important to have pliable “green” branches so the artist and other volunteers can weave them into the sculpture.  The saplings are even stored in a tent so the sun won’t dry them out and rain won’t make them too wet.  An amazing amount of progress was made during the short time I was there.

Author & Garden volunteer Diana Plasberg "stripping" leaves.

Author & Garden volunteer Diana Plasberg "stripping" leaves.

The team of volunteer "strippers"

The team of volunteer "strippers"

As a creative person, it is truly a privilege for me to work alongside Patrick Dougherty as he creates his newest work. It may or may not be another day at the office for him, but it’s great to share my excitement with the staff and other volunteers at the Garden.

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