Just like that, we are in the month of June. The recent rains have buoyed up the flush of new foliage everywhere, the garden is lush beyond measure. I saw baby rabbits in the lower garden for the first time in three years of being here. Seeing them is both charming and alarming. I won’t mention what else I’m thinking.

With the receipt of the PPP loan, we have the full staff back in the garden. We work individually most days and limit our time in shared space. It’s comforting to have them back and to have that reassurance that we are taking care of the garden together.

The month of June is marked by the flowering of the Korean dogwoods, Cornus kousa. We have three specimens that surround the main house that are loaded with greenish-white bracts. We had hoped that Phase II of the governor’s plan would allow guests to see them in person, but we are still in a holding pattern on that decision. We are making plans however, to welcome you back as we know that it is inevitable. We will send out our protocols and guidelines shortly to help you navigate the garden and facilities during the current pandemic.

Additionally, we are anticipating a successful summer camp schedule during the months of July and August. I’m sensing that parents are eager for this as well. In the event that we move into Phase II and open the garden, our traditional hours and days will be truncated during the camp season. Open days would be limited to Saturday and Sunday during those weeks.


Ahmaud Arbery       George Floyd       Breonna Taylor


In closing, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the human condition that we are all witnessing right now.  It is not enough to just know the names of these three victims, but the images of their deaths must galvanize us to look within ourselves, our communities and root out the racial prejudice that we must painfully acknowledge. We can’t let them be three more victims added to the list of too many names already. It starts with me. Please join me in kneeling in solidarity with our people of color, our indigenous community, our immigrant neighbors. Then join me in doing the work that it will require to fully understand racial inequality in our country. We must tip the balance. We must be the change. We must demand better.

We must see the other side of this. We must see a brighter day. Regardless of the ugliness of our times, the goodness in people must prevail. I have to believe that.


Joseph Abken, Executive Director