I am now **officially** an intern at Winterthur Gardens and Estate! My background check must have cleared, and they gave me an official badge with my face on it. Holla!
The entire garden department for the estate is located in a group of buildings up on a hill back in the woods, I like to call it Garden Village. Everyone is always discussing new weeds, or how the winter damaged the hydrangea's new growth, or how raccoons got into the trash again, or what seeds they are about to plant in their summer garden. Everyone is equally enchanted with Winterthur's garden and it forms an energy in the building that I wish I could bottle up. Everywhere you can hear the clunk of steel toe boots and slamming screen doors and the hum of gator trucks zooming back and forth from the garden to the tool barn. It was a week full of new people, new sounds, and new knowledge in a beautiful new place. New things have a way of being daunting and exciting all at the same time.
This week I learned many new skills. I used the backpack blower and the push mower and a weeding knife. I used ear plugs and safety glasses and rain pants with suspenders. My major task of the week was was learning to drive stick... God Bless America. I have never touched a clutch. Actually, I had to ask what that was. The woman who was teaching me was so kind and patient. I really thought I had it mastered as we cruised around the flat parking lot, so she took me on a back trail through a field. I was attempting to reverse on a bridge over a pond and almost catapulted my teacher in the water. I could see the panic in her eyes even though she was still saying "you are doing great!" Since then I have learned to wave cars past at stop signs so they don't see me stall twice before I can start moving again, and I avoid reversing at all costs...
The largest percentage of people who come to Winterthur during the week is older women. If you know me, you know how exciting that is because there really is nothing I love more than talking to women who are old souls like me. I absolutely adore them. I love their stories, I love that they can't work their cell phones, and I love it when they stop in mid-walk to identify a bird call from a nearby tree. They all wear adorable hats and they come on charter buses from different states and they never fail to ask why the reflecting pool is black.
I get off work around 2:30, so I spend my afternoons exploring the gardens and reading or sketching on a bench. The weather is heavenly and I am trying to soak up all the blooms before they are gone. Did I mention the peonies? Because I think I am in love!