Junior horticulture major Hailey Dunbar completed a three-month internship with Moore Farms Botanical Garden in Lake City, South Carolina. Aside from her primary duties, she also had the opportunity to visit numerous gardens and work with horticulture professionals from across the Carolinas and Florida. We caught up with her before she heads off to the Perennial Plant Association National Symposium in Chicago, Illinois.
What where your duties as an intern?
My duties as an intern were to maintain, design, identify, inventory, and propagate plants and landscapes. I also was responsible for identifying pests and diseases in some areas, as well as developing possible treatments for the affected plants.
What was your favorite aspect of the internship?
My favorite part of the internship was the level of exposure to other horticultural areas and gardens Moore Farms promoted. The internship included educational trips to Raleigh, North Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, and Florida. In Raleigh, the other interns and I were part of a work exchange program with the J.C. Raulston Arboretum at North Carolina State University. We worked for 3 days with their staff, learned a lot, and got to experience the atmosphere and work style of another garden. During this time, we also visited Plant Delights nursery and Juniper Level Botanic Garden near NC State. The Florida trip is designed to get the interns out of the state and see other botanical gardens and nurseries across the United States. We will visit Coastal Georgia Botanic Garden, Bok Tower Gardens, Tropiflora Nursery, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, The Kampong of the National Tropical Botanical Garden, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, and Fruit and Spice Park. The trip Columbia was also meant for further garden exposure, for which we visited Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden.
I visited several areas personally, including Hoffman Nursery and the UNCC Botanical Garden in North Carolina. I will also be attending the annual Perennial Plant Association National Symposium in Chicago, Illinois on a scholarship. During this trip I will visit Intrinsic Perennial Gardens in Illinois; Northwind Perennial Farm, Olbrich Botanical Gardens, and Rotary Botanical Gardens in Wisconsin; Lurvey's, the Chicago Botanic Garden, Chalet Nursery & Garden Center, and Lurie Garden and Millennium Park in Illinois; and Midwest Groundcovers, Walters Gardens, Hansen Private Garden, and Sawyer Home & Garden Center in Michigan. The symposium will include 3 days of horticultural presentations and keynote speakers as well.
In total, I have or will visit approximately 25 gardens, nurseries, and parks.
How was this experience beneficial to your undergraduate career?
This internship gave me valuable hands-on experience at a beautiful garden and gave me a first-hand look into the functionality of a horticultural workspace. I learned a vast amount of pertinent information on horticulture, entomology, design, and much more. I also received beneficial involvement in interpersonal and small group communication and cooperation, as many tasks involved several people working together. I feel extremely grateful for all of the information, opportunities, and connections I received. It was especially wonderful to see so many gardens and nurseries outside of Texas. The staff at Moore Farms Botanical Garden is amazing, and they made all the interns feel welcome and like part of the staff. The environment was cheerful, helpful, and the whole staff constantly encouraged us to keep learning and working directly with the landscapes. I would highly recommend this internship to anyone in horticulture.