I had an epiphany driving into work that one of the silver linings of this terrible pandemic is the possible reworking of how many of us view nature. Nature, and public gardens, and parks. Things we may have took for granted, yet now crave, and are being denied access to. I remember back in the Great Recession of 2008 that Horticulture took a hit because it was considered a luxury industry. Which I must admit chafed a bit, both personally and financially.
Narcissus 'Cragford' and Tulipa praetens 'Shogun'
Fritillaria 'Rubra Maxima', N. 'Cragford', and T. 'Foxy Foxtrot'
As one of the last few open green spaces in the area, visitors are expressing their gratitude for Reeves-Reed keeping its gates open to them. As someone who fell in love with Public Horticulture because of the "public" part, I would be heartbroken if we had to shut down and I didn't get to share the beauty of the Chinese Redbuds blooming with the Azaleas and Dogwoods with all of you. Or the Virginia Bluebells nodding in the misting rain. That I get to continue sharing this amazing place with you is such a gift. And I must admit there's not a little ego-stroking for me when I see you taking pictures of flowers that I chose and planted, to hear how beautiful it is and to be thanked for hard work. I love answering questions and exchanging ideas. (So to help keep us open so you don't lose this green space and so I don't lose you, keep up that social distancing!)
I hope one of the other takeaways during this ordeal, with the air cleaner, the roads emptier and safer, is that if you were able to work from home, why not continue to do so more than you did in the Normal-That-Was? So many things have changed and will continue to change, who knows what the future holds for us all.
T. 'Cool Crystal'
Fritillaria 'Lutea Maxima'
So as you get back on your feet, please consider your public gardens, parks, and arboretas as valuable assets to your community. Consider us establishments worthy of your support. Don't take us for granted. More than that, don't forget your craving for us when you return to whatever the new normal holds. Keep visiting. Keep communing with nature. Keep bird watching. Keep taking photos. Keep enjoying the lushness of display gardens and the tranquility of native woodlands.
If nothing else, I hope each of you continues to take advantage of this lesson learned. Keep coming. Keep loving. Keep learning, connecting, growing, appreciating, sharing.
Public green spaces aren't a luxury, they are a necessity.