Jun 26th, 2018

Making Space

The young man in duck trousers and a company shirt had just finished off-loading the last of four ball-and-burlap pin oaks. As he busied himself latching up the tailgate of his truck, he chided me, “Remember, don’t put a dollar tree in a nickel hole.”

close-up of tree trunk

Photo by Don Williamson

I have heard this admonition many times over the years. To allow plenty of space for the root ball while planting a tree seems like good advice, easily followed. Then I start digging. Admonition or not, I admit the first time I stop to measure the size of the hole I am seldom halfway done, and I am always disappointed. This business of making space can be hard work.

As I watch my colleagues lean into the mission of the Garden on a daily basis, I am struck by how cheerfully and competently they go about the hard work of making space for plants and people to root and flourish. The horticulturists manage it with the same professional ease with which they assess conditions of soil, water, and light. The educators accomplish small wonders with young people of all abilities and backgrounds, one-on-one and through partnerships with schools like the Faison Center. The Ginter Urban Gardeners, we promote the idea of  Citizen Scientists, and we embrace our guests with a love of the natural world. We make space, for all our futures.

As published in “Lewis Ginter Magazine,” 2018 

Executive Director Shane Tippett's passion for plants was kindled in the early ‘90s by a Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden arborist who mentored him on the care of specimen trees. This passion underlies his firm conviction in the transformative power of gardens to re-shape and renew communities, families and individuals and this continues to direct his leadership.

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