Garden residency beckons

As one of just six horticulturists chosen from around the world, Dunedin Botanic Garden...
As one of just six horticulturists chosen from around the world, Dunedin Botanic Garden collections supervisor Barbara Wheeler will take part in a year-long residency at a prestigious public garden in the United States. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
A Dunedin horticulturist is one of just six garden professionals from around the world chosen to take part in a year-long residency at a distinguished public garden in the United States.

Dunedin Botanic Garden collections supervisor Barbara Wheeler has been selected to take part in the prestigious Longwood Gardens Fellow programme in the United States.

Starting in June, she will join six other garden professionals from around the world for a 13-month residency at the Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

The aim of the fellowship, which has been running in some form since 1967, is to provide an opportunity for gardening professionals to develop and refine their leadership skills.

"This is the perfect programme that gives me the skills I need and the experience I need to go to that next level in public garden leadership,'' she said.

During the 13 months she will live with the other five fellows in a residence on site while they immerse themselves in the running of the 140ha gardens, which attract up to 1.5 million visitors a year.

Part of the fellowship includes a two-month placement at another public garden in the US.

To be chosen for the fellowship the selected candidates had to have significant leadership experience at a public garden and dedicated their careers to horticulture.

There was a short list of 11 and Ms Wheeler travelled to the US late last year to take part in the challenging selection process.

"It was the most amazing process I've ever been involved with ... for a day and a-half all the candidates were in each other's pockets, as well as the selection panel, and every step of the way you knew you were being interviewed and observed.''

Ms Wheeler, who has worked in her current role at the Dunedin Botanic Garden for 16 years, will travel to the US in June and hopes to return with incredible and creative ideas for the garden.

tim.miller@odt.co.nz

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