About the Job: Kelsey Griffith – Plant Collections & Records Intern

close up of a zinnia plant with a plant label

Being the only employee working solely on our records and collections is a balancing act. I keep a to-do list on the computer and update it whenever I finish one task or receive a new one. My highest priorities are usually making and replacing labels, and keeping up the Plants of Interest display, which rotates weekly but often needs fresh cuttings every two or three days.

I get lists of new labels from the horticulture crew and the volunteers, and then research them to make sure the spelling is correct. I also find the most used common name and the family the plant belongs to. Then I set up the template for the engraving machine, and let it do its job. Afterward, I separate the labels and clean them up with a boxcutter, affix them to stakes, and bundle them by location and who requested them.

When I find an unlabeled plant, I check the records and maps we have of its location. If that doesn’t work, I talk to the staff to narrow down its species, and sift through old purchase records and receipts from years back until I can find the exact cultivar that was brought in — success!