Updated: Mar 17
Proud to feature Women in Horticulture cofounder, Rachel Burlington, the
Curator of the International Rose Test Garden in Portland Oregon.
WinH: How did you get into horticulture?
RB: I got into horticulture because I had a creative spirit that I was unable to apply well in the traditional sense (meaning- I couldn't draw or paint)! I reconfigured what my definition of "art" was to include nature- which was perfect for me since I spent most of my childhood playing in the woods of Pennsylvania! Floral design was my first exposure to horticulture but I realized I liked actual gardening and plant science and working outside more. I gravitated towards public gardens because it combined my two favorite things- plants and people.
WinH: What inspires you in horticulture?
RB: Beyond natures unmeasured beauty, it keeps me humble. No matter how much I think I know, there's always more information to know about plants or the science or design. Knowing that I will never stop learning certainly inspires me.
WinH: What value do you find in the Women in Horticulture group?
RB: The connections and friendships I have made have encouraged me and made me feel less isolated. This group has created a place to be candid and open, which made me realize that the issues I face are universal and has given me strength not to give up. It only energizes me more knowing that we have a lot more work to do. I also love this group because it just gives me another place to talk with other plant nerds!
WinH: Advice for Women in Hort?
RB: Look for a peer mentor! Look for someone who is about at the same stage of their career as you and make sure to check in with her regularly for advice, accountability(definitely very important!) and collaboration. Whether it is advice in navigating a nuanced situation or plant recommendation, it's great to have one primary person to turn to. I found that in my Women in Hort partner, Cat, and it changed my life! (Of course continue building a bigger network but good to invest in someone you trust).