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

Dr. C. Craig Tisher

Volunteers continue to play a major role in the maintenance and enhancement of the Wilmot Botanical Gardens. I am reminded of this fact each fall when classes resume at UF and students volunteer their time to work in the gardens. Without their help we could not maintain the gardens at their current level for our visitors to enjoy. As an example this past Saturday morning 30 students working alongside several Master Gardeners participated in our regularly scheduled November workday. It is worth remembering that it was a group of roughly 12 dedicated volunteers who first participated in the restoration effort beginning in the fall of 2006 some 13 years ago. Many in this group and others worked every other Saturday morning the year around for eight and one-half years to help make our dream a reality. Their efforts were often augmented by student groups throughout those 13 years. The director and our staff thank each and every volunteer who has worked in the gardens!

Plans are moving forward to begin the second year of the camellia relocation project. Digging of the camellias at the former Gordy camellia garden in Ocala will commence in November followed shortly thereafter by planting in the Wilmot Botanical Gardens and at other sites that have been selected on the UF campus.

During the first year of the project (2018-2019) a total of 335 camellias were dug and transported to the UF campus. Of this group 110 were planted in the Wilmot Botanical Gardens and another 168 at 7 other sites on the UF campus. A total of 265 of the 278 or 95% survived transplantation and will soon be in bloom. Eleven died before they were transplanted, while 46 were held over the summer at the UF/IFAS Environmental Horticulture Landscape Unit and will be planted this fall.

It’s time to visit the Wilmot Botanical Gardens. The sasanqua camellias are now in bloom and many of the others now loaded with buds are not far behind.

Also, we hope you will join us for the 5th annual Fall Plant Sale fundraiser that will be held on Friday, November 22nd from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturday, November 23rd from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Please contact Ms. Bailey Hillman at (352) 273-5832 or via email at for more information.

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