From the Director’s Desk: Thoughts of a Weed Puller

Published: June 4th, 2019

Category: Announcements, Newsletter

Dr. C. Craig TisherThe 2018-2019 academic year at UF will have drawn to a close by the time you receive this newsletter. What follows is a brief report describing many of the activities that have occurred during the past nine months in the Wilmot Botanical Gardens. Even the name of the gardens has changed with the addition of the descriptor “botanical.” The last quarterly newsletter in 2018 announced the new name along with the reasons for the name change.

A major and ongoing project has been the relocation of the Gordy camellia collection to the UF campus. This initiative began in November of 2018 with the digging of the cultivars at the former Gordy camellia garden in Ocala, Florida. To date, 110 camellias have been transplanted in the Wilmot Botanical Gardens. Another 168 have been planted at several sites on the campus including the Dasburg House, Fifield Hall, University Gardens, the Mehrhof Garden and Gerson Hall. Thus far, just one camellia has failed to survive relocation.

To honor Lillian and Clarence Gordy we have created a very special area located just northeast of the Lifestyles Garden and planted nine camellias they propagated in their Ocala garden. A plaque will be added to the site to acknowledge the many contributions of these two remarkable individuals.

Our current plans call for resumption of the camellia relocation project late this fall as the cooler weather sets in. About half of the collection remains to be moved. We believe we can accommodate another 90 camellias in the Wilmot Botanical Gardens with the rest to be planted at multiple sites on the UF campus.

Our fall plant sale that took place on November 30th and December 1st was very successful and raised $13,500 to provide support for the therapeutic horticulture program and the gardens. Especially well received was the opportunity to pre-order camellias provided by the Loch Laurel Nursery of Valdosta, Georgia. There were 271 plants sold by pre-order and another 80 that were available at the time of the sale from the nursery of Larry Rahme in Orange Springs, Florida.

The 4th annual spring plant sale held on April 12th and 13th enjoyed equal success, netting over $14,000. The focus was on succulents, annuals and perennials, tropical, herbs and edibles, and crafts and gifts.

The last major event of the academic year, the Hippocratic Award Ceremony, was held on May 1st in the gardens. This yearly event was described in detail in the last quarterly newsletter of 2017. Each year the members of the senior medical school class at UF recognize the clinical faculty member they believe best exemplifies the principles taught by Hippocrates who is considered the father of modern medicine. The class of 2019 recognized Christopher Giordano, M.D., an associate professor of anesthesiology, for his mentorship.

C. Craig Tisher, M.D.
Director, Wilmot Botanical Gardens, College of Medicine