Barbara Wheeler, The First New Zealander to Become a Longwood Gardens Fellow
Dunedin horticulturist Barbara Wheeler is the first New Zealander to receive a fellowship from Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, one of the premier horticultural gardens in the United States. The 13-month residency aims to help gardening professionals from around the world improve their skills and grow as leaders in the field.
Since June, Barbara, along with six other fellows, has been living on site at the gardens and learning about the operations of the 436ha space (over 1,000 acres) that receives 1.5 million visitors a year. The residency will also include placement at another U.S. botanical public garden.
Back in February, she spoke with the Otago Daily Times about her upcoming opportunity. “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.
Barbara came to the United States last year to participate in the selection process, and, like her new colleagues, was selected for her hard work and passion for horticulture and public gardens.
“It was the most amazing process I’ve ever been involved with,” she told the Times. “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.”
Barbara has experience working and studying in New Zealand, Australia, the U.S. and the U.K. for the last 28 years and is currently on sabbatical from her role as the Collections Supervisor at the Dunedin Botanic Garden in New Zealand, where she has been overseeing the management of plant collections and the apprenticeship and international student training programs for the last 16 years.
Original article by Tim Miller, Otago Daily Times, February 5, 2019.
Image Source: Longwood Gardens