Rock Alpine Curation and Mapping Internship

September 12, 2023 Horticulture Department

I am incredibly grateful to have been selected for the Rock Alpine Garden curation and mapping internship position at Denver Botanic Gardens. I looked forward to coming to work every day and getting to work and learn in such a beautiful place, surrounded by such amazing scientific scholars.

During my internship I assisted with the general upkeep and maintenance of the Rock
Alpine Garden
. I learned what weeds to look out for and spent many hours weeding among the flowers. I find weeding to be relaxing and meditative, making this one of my favorite parts of the job. I also watered plants growing in the nursery and watered the 33 troughs scattered throughout the garden beds.

I also replaced plant labels, which identify the scientific name of the plant, the common name, the plant family it is a part of and what part of the world the plant is found in. There were an enormous number of labels that were waiting to be placed. I first organized the labels into piles based on the garden beds they were located in, then my mentor Mike Kintgen and I went out and placed the labels. Sometimes we could not locate the plant or found it had died, which is also very valuable information that we recorded on a log sheet to be updated to the Gardens’ database.

The final part of my internship was plant mapping. Mike and I located plants from a list of unmapped plants in the Rock Alpine Garden. We then drew their locations on a paper printout of the garden bed in colored pencil and later entered them into BG base so that we had an online record of these plants.

I have learned so much about alpine ecosystems and gained appreciation for them. Alpine ecosystems are greatly threatened by climate change and working with endangered alpine plants is of deep interest to me. I also learned that the Gardens has multiple locations and many collaborations, and discovered the impressive amount of research, educational programming and outreach that is done at the Gardens. Visiting the other locations (such as Chatfield Farms and Mount Goliath) as well as other botanical gardens on weekly field trips was extremely valuable and showed me how many different paths horticulture offers. I am so impressed and amazed by all this and feel incredibly lucky to have had this opportunity.

This article was contributed by Rock Alpine Garden curation and mapping intern Laurel Trout


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