Bullington Gardens is blessed to have many wonderful volunteers who give their time, love and hard work in an effort to keep the gardens beautiful for our many visitors and students. This month we are highlighting “Fairy” Mary Martin as our Volunteer Hero.
How did you first get involved with Bullington Gardens?
I first got involved with Bullington “Center” in 2003. John Murphy had the idea for the Bullington Onsite Occupational Student Training (BOOST) program that would help students in the Occupational Course of Study fulfill state requirements. I had Occupational Course of Study students in need of training and hours at North Henderson High School. So we came together and I ended up bring my students once a week until I retired. It was truly a life changing experience for many of my students and especially me.
Why do you volunteer?
After I retired in 2010, I knew where I was going to focus my time and energy and that place was Bullington. I had met so many fun and interesting people when I brought my students out for BOOST that I knew I wanted to be a master gardener. At that same time, Bullington had lost its amazing Horticultural Therapist, Linda Beach. John asked me what I wanted to do at Bullington and I said “Miss Linda’s job looked like fun”. So, I went through the Master Gardener program and volunteered as the Horticultural Therapist.
Why do you choose to donate your time to Bullington?
Bullington Gardens has a certain magic about it-you see how much people really love this place-its history, its present and its future. Plus, John Murphy gave me an opportunity to be creative and made me feel like I made a difference. It filled that void that people sometimes get when they retire-a sense that you are valued and needed.
What do you enjoy most about volunteering at Bullington Gardens?
I love everything. I love the times when it is bustling and everything seems to be happening at once-the plant sales, special events, fairy days, special needs day camp…then, I love it when I am the only one working on a project. It is quiet. It has the peaceful sounds and beauty of nature that feed my soul.
What is a memorable moment about your work with us?
There are many memorable moments because I have been here for so long! I think watching my students help repair the Sargent’s Hemlock after a big ice storm is one of my favorite memories. My students lifted a large broken limb and we screwed it back together. It has since healed over saving the over-all look of the tree. I am reminded of that moment every time I look at that spectacular tree.
What do you find most challenging about volunteering at Bullington Gardens?
Not enough time or money to get everything done that need/want to be done. My brain is usually on idea overload and reining that in sometimes becomes difficult.
What do you wish other people knew about Bullington Gardens?
We are a NON-PROFIT public garden focused on education. Also, there are many different ways to help us continue all the wonderful programs and have the most gorgeous, inspiring gardens in the area.
When you are not volunteering, what are some of your hobbies or commitments? What did you do in your previous life?
Besides the obvious, gardening, I enjoy a good book, cooking a good meal for friends and family, hiking and kayaking, and I enjoy travelling domestically and internationally. My husband and I also have two Airbnb rentals that keep us busy. Before I retired I was an educator. I taught Exceptional Children for 33+ years.
What would you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering at Bullington Gardens?
Well, right now with the Covid19 restrictions, I would say keep Bullington in your back pocket until the restrictions are lifted. We want to keep all our precious volunteers safe and healthy. But, in normal times I would say “Come on down!”. Come with an open mind and heart, Let the Bullington gardens work its magic and show you we truly are “A Garden with Heart”.