We are taking a different approach with our monthly Community Spotlight. We want to know more about you! To get this series started, we've decided to share a bit about ourselves.
For the month of June, we have a Q&A with IrisBG's Social Media & Community Outreach Assistant, Shanna T. Jones. She tells us about her favorite gardening tools, explains what motivates her, and recommends an entertaining and educational podcast.
How did you begin your career in Horticulture?
I was introduced to the world of plant collections as a student worker at the University of Georgia’s Trial & Research Garden. After graduating, I worked for an incredible perennial plug liner grower, managing their plant trials program. It was a great early experience to have, collecting and recording data for the company’s use, as well as for the various plant breeders we were building relationships with.
What's the best thing about your current position?
As the Social Media and Community Outreach Assistant for IrisBG, I mostly enjoy the opportunity for continual learning and the meaningful connections made with garden professionals worldwide. I feel that my work holds integrity. With the dual purpose of promoting best practices for horticultural record keeping, and bringing awareness to botanical biodiversity and plant conservation, it is difficult for me not to feel motivated in my role every single day.
With your experience as a Plant Collection Manager, what did you find to be the most important takeaway regarding botanical record keeping?
First, I will say that all information related to any individual plant is significant. Over time, I learned to not underestimate the recording value of all known data, even if it seemed insignificant at the time.
There are many gardens with rich, institutional knowledge. Unless it's recorded, it will slowly vanish, along with the people who held the knowledge, and those that knew the people with the knowledge.
|Another lesson that I learned about plant record keeping is that it requires cooperation and communication from the entire garden team. I grew a lot as a human while conjuring inventive ways to encourage this! My most successful triumph occurred when I elicited the help of gardeners to map plants, inventory gardens, and measure tree DBH. Doing these activities together illustrated not only the importance of good record keeping, but also the value of garden integrity.|
Which garden tool/aid could you not live without?
It’s a tie between my wheelbarrow and my hori-hori (the Japanese digging knife). Once you’ve used a hori-hori, you’ll never go back to a standard trowel for planting or weeding. As I am always moving plants around and weeding, the wheel barrow is essential to my gardening escapades! As one of my gardening pals said to me once, “my plants have wheels, honey!".
Can you share a favorite book or podcast?
At the moment, I am loving the podcast Ologies with Alie Ward. I am curious about a wide range of things and this program sufficiently fulfills my quest for knowledge. If you want to know everything there is to know about otters, dreams, or mycology, you may want to check it out.