Q&A with MBG Board President, Carol Carter
On July 1, Carol Carter began her tenure as President of the Board of Directors. She shares her thoughts and dreams for the Garden below.
Q) Why did you get involved with McIntire Botanical Garden?
I first heard about the Garden through my local garden club. I was intrigued because I love visiting botanical gardens and worked as a volunteer at the Birmingham Botanical Garden in Alabama for 15 years. Public gardens bring people together, spark friendships over plants, and provide opportunities to learn about everything from soil health to garden design to trees…you name it. I got involved because I truly believe it will forever improve the Charlottesville community to have this wonderful garden space.
Q) What do you hope to accomplish during your tenure as President?
I’m impatient and I dream big, so I hope to accomplish half of what I hope to accomplish! I want to see the number of folks enjoying walks on the site continue to grow exponentially. We have really seen numbers increasing as Covid-19 has made us all crave outdoor time. I want to see our wonderful volunteers continue to grow as we improve the site and our organization. I want to see our education programs grow, especially our collaboration with Charlottesville HS. I’m determined to see a bridge across the stream, stream remediation, an open gate, some seating areas and some parking space on site. I’d like to see our first garden feature designed and ready to build. I want to see the whole community jump on board to make this Garden grow. And … I’d really love to see our first million-dollar donation!
Q) What should the community know about MBG?
I am so excited about the name change because it will reflect a new spirit in this public space. Most people don’t realize that Paul McIntire never owned the land where the Garden site is. The City purchased the garden piece in the early 70’s. So it is fitting that as we begin to use it as a public garden, we give it the energy of a new name.
Everyone should know that even though we can’t usually park in the Garden site yet, it is easy to park on Melbourne Road and walk in. We will be posting a trailmap on our website so come in and check it out.
Q) What do you love most about gardening?
I love the way even a small space changes every day. Plants grow bigger, they bloom, blooms fade, a butterfly comes along, it is never static. There is always something to learn and to observe. It is crazy, but I also love the frustrations of gardening. It gives gardeners who are generally such happy people something to complain about.
Q) What is your favorite flower or shrub?
My favorite is generally the one I am learning about. I particularly like native trees and shrubs these days. In the Garden site, the giant elderberry (Sambucus) is my current favorite because we saved it from near death due to strangulation by vines, and now the pollinators and birds are feasting on it. It is a magnificent specimen. New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus) is another current favorite.
Q) When not working with the Garden, what do you do with your spare time?
Spare time, what a concept!