Title: Zone Gardener for Turkey Run Park and Cliffside Center
What is your role at The Parklands?
My role as a gardener at the Parklands is to take care of our planted areas ranging from Seaton Valley to the Brown-Forman Silo Center in Turkey Run Park, and the landscaped beds at Cliffside Center in Broad Run Park. I routinely go through these areas to make sure our plants and trees are well showcased and that everything in the general vicinity is looking nice and manicured. I also get to work directly with our volunteers who help me accomplish a tremendous amount of weeding, planting, and mulching. Their presence brings so much joy to my work here!
How do you keep The Parklands beautiful?
Our Horticulture Team ultimately aims to give our visitors a beautiful visual experience. We highlight plants native to our region throughout our landscaped areas. I love seeing visitors admiring our gardens, especially when they are crouching down to capture a picture of a flower that caught their eye, or snapping a photo of a garden booming with color, because that is evidence of beauty, which means we are doing our job right!
What are you most proud of in your work?
I am most proud of the garden we created at the Farmer’s Table at the Brown-Forman Silo Center last year. We had a pretty exciting lineup of plants, which inspired curiosity and wonder from our visitors. I had so many great interactions with people that stemmed from someone pointing and asking, “what’s this plant?” Many times, I would get to hear a personal gardening story or how their family grew a garden that included this plant or that plant. The Farmer’s Table showed me how connected all of us are through plants. Some of the overall favorite plants included lemon balm, chamomile, luffa gourds, tobacco, hops, cotton, and sorghum. We grew almost all of the plants from seed and we were able to observe the entire life cycle of those plants. It was so fulfilling to have a hand in this process.
What inspires you to come to work every day?
I am inspired to come to work each day because this place makes me feel so connected to nature. I get to experience all of the seasons, all types of weather, and nurture our plants through all of these phases. Every time I plant a tree, I find myself daydreaming about how high it is going to grow, who will get to sit in its shade, what historical events will unfold as it continues to grow steadily in that spot long after I’m gone.
Which trail would you recommend to a visitor and why?
My favorite trail to hike in the Parklands is the Limestone Gorge Trail in Broad Run Park. It takes you through some gorgeous terrain and there are sights of phenomenal landforms that allow you to ponder how the flow of water carved the land. This is also where I discovered my first frost flower! If you don’t know what that is, don’t Google it! It’ll be far more magical when you find one! Just take a hike on a frosty morning before the sun has time to melt them away.
What “hidden gem” would you recommend to visitors and why?
I really enjoy mountain biking through Turkey Run Park trails and the Silo Center Bike Park! I took my dad, who was more of a road cyclist, for his first mountain bike ride on the Paw Paw and Hickory Trails, which gave him a great first experience, and the bike park has given me a place to improve my riding and expand my skills. My favorite “hidden gem” would be the Palisades in The Strand. If you venture off the loop just a bit, this is another beautiful spot to ponder the effects of time in combination with the flow of water. It is also the perfect place for skipping rocks.
In your opinion, what makes The Parklands worthy of support?
The Parklands of Floyds Fork is a cause worthy of support because it is preserving and encouraging a natural and authentic Kentucky landscape that will withstand the tests of time. It is a gift that all of us get to enjoy today, as well as many generations to come.
How would you say “Thank You” to someone who donates to The Parklands, or who is thinking about donating?
I want those who donate to know that the time or funds they so generously contribute to this project are making a positive impact on our land and in our community. You provide a place to participate in healthy outdoor activities, connect with friends, family, and nature. You sustain a place of wonder, awe, and joy. Thank you for the gift of this place.