Jun 23rd, 2016

Unearthing our Potential

Message from the Executive Director

Grab a shovel. Walk over to a bare spot in a planting bed or a flagged corner of the lawn. With the handle leaning on your shoulder, pull your gloves out of a hip pocket and tug them over your hands. Plant the blade with a quick, slicing thrust, as if it were a flag pole. Step on the back of the blade with one foot, driving the shovel in the ground, then lever out a section of earth, revealing things long hidden from daylight. Repeat the process, and note how every action is informed by the one preceding it. Will this hole drain, or is it going to pool water like a low spot in an asphalt road? How much compost will it need, and how much water? Does the soil come up easily, or does the ground yield reluctantly, shivering the handle of the shovel and your hands?

Unearthing Potential

When your work is half done, you have a pile of soil in a low pyramid, and you have a neat cylinder of space imprinted on the surface of the earth, waiting to be filled.
Gardening metaphors are apt when reviewing the broader work of a botanical garden. They involve mind and muscle, plans and practicalities. Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden has been conducting two concurrent planning processes under board and staff leadership for many months. Strategic planning (what we want to do, who we want to be and why) has been intertwined with master site planning (how do we shape our garden space in order to make those first things happen). The 2016–2020 Strategic Plan, christened Unearthing our Potential, was approved at the March 2016 meeting of the Board of Directors and is available on our website. The next steps of our site planning will be reviewed and adopted this summer.

As Garden programs and events unfold, and tens of thousands of students and guests visit each month, plans are underway to create our future. I invite you to read about all the plans as they develop. Ask questions, and let us know what you think. Pull on your gloves. Grab a shovel.

Shoveling in the Community Kitchen Garden -- just one way the Garden is Unearthing Potential.

The Community Kitchen Garden.

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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