A Reflection On Volunteering
Here Alison, who is part of both our Garden Nursery and Education volunteer groups, shares her thoughts on volunteering at the Garden. Our volunteers are an essential part of all our projects and we are so lucky to have them involved in our work. It’s always wonderful to hear how volunteering has brought benefits to our volunteers themselves as well as the garden.
“Volunteering at the Botanic Gardens? - Me? - But I don’t know enough to be of any use to them. I couldn’t possibly do that!” I thought.
But, something drew me in and what an experience it has been. There is something for everyone to do, no matter what you think.
Through volunteering at the Gardens, I have learnt so much, discovered that I’m capable of much more than I’d thought, made new friends (not just with the plants!) and have been made to feel very welcome, even when I’m not able to go as often as I would want.
Being outdoors, active and working together as a team in such beautiful and peaceful surroundings takes the mind off all other issues that usually crowd in, and before we know it, together, we’ve achieved a huge amount.
The work is varied and can involve pruning, tidying up paths and beds after winter, foraging for material for the various craft sessions that are run at weekends or propagating and re-planting stock from the Gardens. Work in the nursery is getting busy in the Spring, with seedlings to be pricked out and labelled, and here we learn the correct techniques for doing this; no more mixing up our Marigolds and Mecanopsis seedlings when we work at home.
As well as working with the plants, the opportunities for public involvement are very rewarding too, especially helping with the very enthusiastic little children who attend the various groups at weekends. There’s nothing like the joy of discovery that children have, to lift the spirits and make us grown-ups share the excitement of seeing a new plant or a tadpole.
It’s a privilege to be able to join in, even in a small capacity, with the great work being done at the Botanic Gardens.
If you'd like to become part of our volunteer team like Alison, please drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to register or find out more!