became a gardener for the City Parks Department after working
as a volunteer for seven years. She was overjoyed when they offered
her a part-time job.
been in New York City going on nine years. I always wanted to
retire to New York, and so I did. When I had my office job,
I had houses; I lived in New Jersey and in Pittsburgh, and I
always had a house with a garden. And I always gardened, for
like 35 years.
I like getting my hands in the ground, I like watching plants
grow, I like watching the birds and the worms, and all of the
stuff that crawls around in the soil. I can lose myself in it.
It's totally absorbing. I can be focused when I'm gardening
in a way that I am not focused with anything else. It's great.
It's the most important thing to me.
this park, it's important to keep the sight lines open, both
in and out of the park. So I can't plant anything that is going
to block the view, because they're concerned about people hiding
in the shrubs at night, and that sort of thing. Also, my directive
this year was to get a lot of color into the park. So I consider
the color, and the texture of the plants, and the fragrance.
Also, in the park, most people see the flower beds from a distance.
So you can't have really little things; you need blocks of color,
and big blocks of a certain shape.
I was a volunteer in the parks for about 7 years, and then I
was hired by the Parks Department, and this is my second year
as head gardener. When they asked me if I wanted to come on
the staff, I said, “You want me to do this for money??
Sure!!” And they said, “It probably won't
be very much,” and I said, “I don't care! What could
be better? You're going to pay me, two days a week!”
I mean this is fun! I could do this forever. They can
carry me out, feet first!