Julia Eppes, 2015 garden intern and writer, continues her story as a Winterthur garden intern.
Another significant part of the internship experience is living at the Butler’s House. Living on the estate really solidified the experience of working at Winterthur. While working in a place of unparalleled beauty is surely wonderful, living there truly tuned me in to the minutiae of the changing landscape, the infinite expressions of a seemingly singular place.
Minutiae, like when a heavy rain turned this Chamaecyparis tree into a Van Gogh painting.
Six of the eight interns (two were local, but still graced us with their presence on occasion) took residence in the Butler’s House, which one of my peers dubbed ‘The Real World: Winterthur.’ While perhaps not as dramatic as that name would suggest, my anthropological sensibilities were piqued by living with a group of interns from various places- Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Nevada, Delaware- with equally various interests. United by an interest in horticulture, we were alternately obsessed with such disparate things as Hondas, hot sauce, soccer, and art. We ended up a sort of motley crew, dabbling in activities from fishing and trampoline park-ing to copious ice cream consumption- all the while attempting, with whatever futility, to keep the house clean (although I wouldn’t be surprised if there was still a selfie stick lodged between the cushions of the couch or a forlorn, unclaimed plant taking residence in an inconspicuous corner).
A lovely group shot, how darling.
Beyond the close-knit circle we developed whilst living together on the estate, the internship also offered us a variety of opportunities to connect with other people and institutions involved in public horticulture. A favorite experience of mine was when the Mount Cuba interns visited Winterthur, and then we, in turn, piled into a van and toured their turf with them. A pseudo-rivalry was thus established between the Winterns and the Cubots that was played out during at least one trivia night on the Riverfront. More soon-to-be familiar faces were encountered during an Intern Day for public horticulture institutions in the area, where we all coalesced at the Awbury Arboretum to undertake a mass project and be inducted into the intimate, friendly community of horticulture in this area.
Working and living at Winterthur was a wonderful experience, where I enjoyed the company of both extraordinary plants and people.
Click on Winterthur Garden Internships for more information.